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Preparing For The New Year

As Published In Airstream Live Riveted
Preparing For The New Year

With the year’s travels coming to a close, we can’t help but think about the great adventures we’ve been on, the people we’ve met, the RVers who have joined our community, and the excitement ahead. This week, our conversation led us to check in with full-time Airstreamer Ramona Creel regarding how she reflects on the past year and gets organized for the upcoming one with New Year’s resolutions.

How do you reflect on that past year’s memories?

One unfortunate side-effect of those damned resolutions is that they get us too heavily focused on the ways the last year DIDN’T live up to expectation. What we need is less guilt and more pats on the back — but rarely do folks take the time to appreciate all the blessings and abundance they actually experienced in the previous 365 days. I like to sit down and make a list of all the good things that happened throughout the year — goals I accomplished, positive life changes, growth experiences, new people I met, places I went, things I tried — ways that I feel like a stronger, more competent, happier human being going into my next cycle around the sun.

I’ve known folks who write these items down then burn the sheet (symbolically celebrating the transient nature of life) — others stick it away so they can reflect upon the change that happens each year down the road. What you do with your list isn’t important — just honoring the good in your life is enough.

What is your best tip regarding making resolutions?

The biggest mistake folks make when it comes to resolutions is acting like they’re a one-time event — “On January 1st, I’m suddenly going to change everything and do such-and-such differently.” They’ve got no real plan in place for maintaining those changes over time — and then they’re surprised when they’ve fallen off the wagon by the end of February! Rather than making resolutions, commit to lifestyle changes — ones that can be tracked and measured, that can grow and evolve over time.

Therefore, if your goal is to get better about staying on top of paperwork, don’t just set a goal of “I’m going to get my files organized” — that’s too vague, too limiting, and too overwhelming to accomplish all in one whack. Start by telling yourself that you’re going to go through each day’s incoming paper (mail, stuff from your kid’s school, memos from work, whatever) every SINGLE day, throwing away the junk and sorting the “to-do’s” into an action file system (more on this in a later post). Work on that for a while, then see about setting aside time each week to tackle those to-do’s — things like paying bills and filing, replying to correspondence and registering for upcoming events. Once you’ve got those under control, designate some time for purging the old, outdated documents from your file cabinet — better yet, make it an annual event (first of the year or tax time are good natural windows for this).

What how do you turn those goals into realities?

It’s all about action. So if your ultimate dream is to end up full-timing in an Airstream, add a few steps that will help make that possible — converting as much of your data to electronic format as possible, getting off the junk mail lists, downsizing the amount of paper you bring into your life. By the end of the year, you’ll find that you’ve built lasting good organizational habits — instead of setting a single unreasonable goal for yourself, getting frustrated, and giving up. Think systems, not resolutions!

And for heaven’s sake, don’t make too many changes at once! It cracks me up when suddenly, come the start of the year, folks feel as though they need to overhaul every area of their lives all on the same day — a sure-fire recipe for failure! Just focus on one change that you’d like to make — eating better or cleaning out your closets or changing jobs or getting out of debt. Devote your time to making real progress in that one arena — then once you feel as though you’ve mastered that one, add a new goal. Life change is easier when it’s cumulative rather than instantaneous.

What great suggestions and insight from Ramona! If you need help planning (and sticking to) your resolutions, contact her!

We know that one resolution we have is to continue living riveted each and every day. That’s something you can do whether you’re an Airstreamer, Airdreamer or simply an adventurer! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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