The Secret to My Success

I know a lot of you have been affected by this whole "5 things" thing. Words I have heard are "inspired", "motivated", "revolutionized", and "changed my life forever". I know, I know. It is really an intense process that is happening here. There have been times over the past 10 days that I have faltered. That I have wondered if I could go on, getting rid of 5 things a day. Some of you have wondered the same thing.

Here's the mantra I repeat to myself in those moments:

Stay the course.

Here's why: Often I start in one room, with one thing that has been in the back of my mind that I know I want to get rid of. Say it's the magazine on my bedside table. So I pick up that magazine and, while there, decide to straighten up the books that are there. Then I notice how many books are on my bedside table, gathering dust. Goodness I should really dust this thing. Where are the dusting rags, anyway? Didn't I mean to make new ones out of old burp clothes? I should do that... It will just take a minute. Then I notice how many books I haven't read that I need to. That one that I borrowed from someone but haven't returned. I notice how I have barrettes and receipts and an empty water glass there. Don't the barrettes belong in the medicine cabinet? I'll just take those to the bathroom really quick. And then I see how I have three pill containers and gosh wouldn't it look nicer to have those pills in sweet little glass jars, instead of blue and white Kroger containers?

Twenty minutes later I'm shuffling things around the bedside table, and I'm in what the hubs calls "analysis paralysis". I've forgotten why I ended up staring at the bedside table in the first place. Barrettes are everywhere and now for some reason I have a ratty burp cloth in one hand and glass jars with mismatched lids in the other. I've pulled scissors out of the junk drawer (for the burp cloths) but in doing so noticed a few more things that need to be organized and put in a different place. So I have a half-emptied junk drawer calling my name as well. And no movement or progress has taken place.

That's when I call on my mantra-- Stay the course. Don't be sidetracked by the dust, the potential to organize the mess out of that tabletop, or the idea of little glass jars. Just clutch that magazine to you like your life depends on it, walk over to the recycling bin, and drop it in.

And there's my one thing. Four to go.


  1. I like you. And I like you in blogger mode.

  2. oh katherine I love your posts!!! so fun reading through your process!!! so.... any thoughts on next months break/add habit???

  3. thanks joe! i'm very inspired by your goals for the months. i'm not sure what i'm going to do though. "no-spend" month could be next, if i decide i'm ready for it. but maybe something physical would be better. i'm feeling sluggish these days. well, except when i'm on a tear and throwing things out.

  4. did you steal this little episode from something called "when you give a mouse a muffin?" i'll tell you what, i do that little routine a few times a day...stay the course, does that really help, or just make you laugh outloud because you're just that funnY?

  5. erin i have actually said those words out loud before. i kid you not. sometimes i have to talk myself through the process of getting rid of something (or whatever project i'm embarking on) or it will falter and break down.

    you don't get this sparkly clean, simplified apartment by shuffling things from room to room. NO! you get it by staying the course.

  6. oh mylanta. This post feels like a documentary of my brain! I'm so glad I'm not alone in suffering from analysis paralysis and six simultaneous projects in my hands.

    I've told Tom all about your 5 a day ambition, sheepishly hinting that maybe, maybe I can try it too. He sensed my nervousness and said to just try it for a week, starting today. I said can't I wait until Sunday to start?? What if I fail! It's not staying the course that's scary, it's starting the course. . .

  7. THANK YOU for the spinach idea in the smoothie!!!!! BRILLIANT!!!! :)
    Oh it will make me so happy to sneak a little green into his very un-green diet!!!!


  8. PS...love your blog---GREAT idea!!!!! :)

  9. anna- you can do it! how about one thing a day? start out with baby steps! if you need a time limit to force the decision, set your microwave timer for 5 minutes and have something in hand to get rid of at the end of 5 minutes. the timer might help you stay the course.

    christy- i hope you like the spinach in your smoothie! it works for us:)

  10. Something I always remind myself of is to only touch something one time. Often times I'll pick something up, and then get sidetracked or move it to another pile to take upstairs, or wherever it might need to go. But instead, I remind myself to touch it only once. Take it where it needs to go right then and don't create an even bigger pile.

  11. kristi- that is great advice! OHIO (Only Handle It Once).

  12. I'll tell you what, Katherine, pretty soon you're going to be on HGTV with your own "5 Things" show. it'll be like Stacy & Clinton of What-Not-to-Wear meet that New Zealander of Clean Sweep. Hollywood, here you come.


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