Start project within 4 days of making plan


POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009

Here we are on the threshold of a New Year!

Last January did you start the year off with a bang—with much enthusiasm, lofty goals and great expectations—only to find that it degenerated into a fizzle and the status quo?

Do you wonder where the year went and what happened to your good intentions to tackle that home improvement project, get organized, lose weight, save money or learn a new skill?

Can you think of projects you never even started?

I used to love to sew but, like many sewers, ended up with bins of fabrics that never materialized into garments. I know I'm not alone—most sewers and crafters have boxes and drawers of supplies that might forever remain in their original state.

Home improvement types buy lumber and tools but never build what was planned. Home gardeners buy plants and soil amendments but never get around to creating the garden of their dreams.

Have you purchased books that ended up on the bookshelf unread or, worse, left in the store bag? How many cookbooks have you purchased but never cooked from?

Last fall I bought eight large picture frames but never got around to inserting photos.

  Why is it that once we decide to do something, we sometimes never get started?

Is it due to lack of desire? Lack of discipline? Lack of focus?

The reason can be as simple as timing. I realized years ago that if I didn't begin my sewing project within a week of purchasing all the needed components, chances are that it would never get sewn. Enthusiasm wanes, and our focus gets diverted to new and different endeavors.

Research shows that starting any plan—whether it be to exercise more, lose weight, redecorate the house, save money, learn a new skill—within four days of making that decision is vital to its success, and that waiting longer makes it easier to put off doing it altogether—or totally forget about it.

What is something you've decided to do (not just thought about doing)?

Timing is critical to starting, so this year I encourage you to give projects the one-two punch: 1) Make a decision. 2) Start within four days.

Let timing be your ally, and let this be the year that you follow through on your decisions and do those things that are important to you. The practice of actually starting what you've decided on can become a valuable habit and self-esteem builder!

See you in two weeks!


Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Her column runs the second and fourth Fridays of each month. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,

7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail orgplushawaii@