Embracing Growth: Overcoming Setbacks in New Year Resolutions Through Gentle Decluttering

new years resolutions and goals overcoming hurdles  with decluttering




As the new year begins, many of us set ambitious resolutions, only to find ourselves facing unexpected challenges, such as illness that de-rails that new fitness regime or a birthday party that causes you to break Dry January.  If your New Year resolutions (I prefer ‘intentions’) have hit a bump in the road, fear not. Here we’ll explore the art of turning setbacks into opportunities for growth and how adopting a step-by-step approach to decluttering can help you reclaim your path to success.

Firstly lets look at the definition of ‘resolution’ and ‘intention’, google gave me the following definitions, have you made resolutions or intentions?


Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.


Intention: “a thing intended; an aim or plan, (the healing process of a wound).”


1.Acknowledging Setbacks in New Year Resolutions: 

Life is unpredictable, and therefore it is unlikely that every resolution will be fulfilled. Unexpected hurdles, busy schedules, or simply life’s twists and turns can derail our well-intentioned plans. Instead of seeing a failed resolution as a defeat, view it as a valuable learning experience. Reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and how you can adjust your actions to create positive change in the future.


2. Decluttering the Emotional Baggage:


When resolutions falter or fail, it’s easy to succumb to guilt and self-criticism. However, dwelling on these emotions won’t help you move forward. Take a moment to declutter the emotional baggage by acknowledging that setbacks are a natural part of any journey. Embrace self-compassion and recognise that every step, no matter how small, is progress.


3. Micro-Decluttering for Manageable Progress:


The prospect of decluttering an entire space can be overwhelming. Instead, break it down into manageable tasks through micro-decluttering. Focus on decluttering a small area (such as a drawer or cupboard) or by tackling one category at a time (e.g. books, toiletries, shoes). This approach is not only more achievable but also allows you to celebrate small victories along the way.

Celebrating is super important, this could be just throwing your arms up in the air and shouting ‘yes!’, it could be meeting up with a friend or watching an episode of your favourite show. The action of rewarding yourself is telling your brain if I do this, I get this. Meaning you will be less reluctant to repeat the task and eventually make it a habit

celebrate the wins

4. Cultivating Sustainable Decluttering Habits:


Rather than viewing decluttering as a one-time event, consider it an ongoing process. Create decluttering habits that effortlessly become part of your routine. Set aside a few minutes each day or designate a specific time during the week for decluttering tasks. Consistency is key, and over time, these small efforts will accumulate into noticeable improvements.

Top Tip: Have an exit strategy for unwanted items. For a gradual declutter, create a holding area such as a cupboard or box, once its full donate it to charity or to the destination of your choice.    

If you are planning a big declutter, plan a time and place to take unwanted items, as the longer they hang around the more likely they are to be re-absorbed back into your home and you won’t get the full impact of what you’ve achieved if you are left with another pile of stuff.


5. Appreciating the Journey and Personal Growth:


Life is a journey, and so is the pursuit of self-improvement. Instead of concentrating on end goals, appreciate the growth and learning that occurs along the way. Each attempt, each setback, and each triumph contributes to your personal development. Decluttering becomes not just about physical spaces but a metaphor for simplifying and clarifying your self mentally.


Remember: F.A.I.L.= First Attempt In Learning

6. Realistic Resolutions  Intentions for Lasting Success:


I’m not a fan of resolutions or goals, I prefer setting intentions with a vision for the future. And to be honest, I don’t think January is the best time to set resolutions or goals, yes it’s the beginning of a new year, but its often when we feel our most sluggish (eaten and drank too much over Christmas). There’s not much daylight and its unwelcoming outside, in general it’s an uninspiring time of year to create action. The beginning of Spring, when nature shows us new growth, the weather gets warmer (and from a business point of view the beginning of a new tax year), seems a better time for a new start. If you are a student or teacher then maybe September would be a better time to plan your year.

Whenever you decide to reassess your life and set yourself new resolutions, goals or intentions, focus on setting realistic and achievable ones. Be mindful of your current circumstances and consider the lessons learned from past experiences. Adjust them to align with your values and priorities. This approach not only increases the likelihood of success but also reduces the potential for disappointment.




Failing New Year resolutions is not a defeat but an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. Embrace the lessons learned, declutter the guilt, and adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. By incorporating micro-decluttering into your routine and setting realistic intentions or resolutions, you not only simplify your surroundings but also create a sustainable path towards personal development. Remember, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey and the transformative power of decluttering, one small step at a time.

I would love to know if you set new years resolutions, if so, what you call them and if like me you avoid setting them in January.

About Callie

I’m a Professional Declutterer & Organiser, and I’d love to help you feel ace about your space

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