New Year, new you! When it’s time to create New Year’s resolutions, many people set a goal to lose weight, exercise more, or eat healthier. Last week, we talked about how popular it is to have a goal to “get organized.”

But did you know that there are often similarities between those who struggle with organization and those who struggle with weight loss? It’s true, because it revolves around the same mental hang-ups.

In either case, people often search for the magic wand — the one thing they can purchase that’s going to turn their world around — but it’s a lifestyle change. There’s no one product or single diet that’s going to make all of the changes for you.

Getting started is a step in itself. Changing your lifestyle takes planning. If you have the intention of getting up and making a fresh salad to pack in your lunch, you have to get up early enough to chop all of your veggies and prepare your lunch.

It’s common to think reactively instead of proactively. Thinking ahead can prevent you from making last-minute decisions. In terms of a healthy lifestyle, you might wait until you get home from work and are starving before even thinking about what’s for dinner. Thinking ahead means you recognize that it’ll be a late night at work, so they put something healthy in the crockpot in the morning.

Let’s take a look at how the EMEND process — usually used for organizing — can be used to accomplish your health goals.

Explore: What are you trying to accomplish that you can’t do now?

Your goal could be a number on the scale, but it’s important to realize that it could also be something such as:

  • I want to fit into my “size x” pants.
  • I want to be able to keep up with my grandkids.
  • I want to walk up a flight of stairs and not get winded.
  • I want to have the ability to turn down dessert.

Merge: Put everything together to determine what you already have.

In order to prepare meals or pack a lunch — whatever is related to your goal from the “Explore” step — it’s easier if you have things in your kitchen grouped.

For example, you could group items by purpose. You might also put all of your morning smoothie ingredients together in the pantry. Maybe you need to put all of your healthy recipes in a folder to keep them in one place.

Even outside of the kitchen, gather your exercise equipment so it’s all in one place and easy to find when you need it.

Edit: Decide what you’re going to keep, donate, or toss.

This is a good time to look through your fridge and pantry and toss anything that’s expired. You can also get rid of any food items that don’t align with your goals. If you have a lot of kitchen gadgets, this is the time to reevaluate those, too. Do you use that fancy machine, or is it collecting dust?

What is going to simplify the process for you so you can meet your goals? Are there recipes you can toss? Exercise videos and equipment needs to be evaluated, too. Are you using the workout DVDs or do you prefer YouTube? Are you still using the Thigh Master or the Ab Roller? Maybe you’re just taking walks and using hand weights.

Nest: Where things will live.

You can create zones in your kitchen to make things easier. Maybe you have a “meal prep” zone that has your cutting board, knives and measuring cups.

If exercise is a goal, put your equipment in a place that’s easy to get to. Create a space in your home where you can complete your exercise.

This step is all about putting things that you need at arm’s reach.

Develop: Practice makes perfect.

This is a skill. It may not go perfectly the first time, but you have to keep at it. Maybe you couldn’t complete that entire workout today, but tomorrow you’ll be able to go further.

This is a lifestyle change, and it won’t happen overnight. Start by adding one small change into your life and go from there.

Maybe you start eating healthy by putting one vegetable on your plate each day. In six months, maybe you’ll find yourself at the farmer’s market. It’s about accomplishing small steps to make big changes over time.

Jan. 17 is another installment of the “Get Organized” series at the Main Library on Goodwood. Join Alyssa for the second session: “Gaining Control of Paper Clutter” at 3pm. RSVP here!