There’s a long way on the road to personal success, and it starts with the first step. Cliched, I know, but work with me here. A person can only be as successful as the set themselves up to be, and the majority of us don’t put any effort into that initial set up. We eat poorly, often dining out more often than we should, or worse, prepackaged foods that have little in the way of nutritional value. We don’t get the sleep we need, and when we do, we’re more tired for it because our bodies aren’t used to it. We indulge in unhealthy habits, like smoking, drinking, late-night snacking (I’ve been, at one point in my life or another, guilty of all three). We don’t exercise. All of these things work against our mental state that would otherwise be pointed on the path to accomplishing our life goals.
What are those goals? Doesn’t matter. Maybe your goal is to make a million dollars; on the other hand, it might be to buy a house. It might be to get your kids through high school, or build a business. For some, like me when I started out, it might be to get off of welfare. The key is to start, and the first step is to clean your room.
I’m serious. Your bedroom, on average, is the room you spend the least amount of time awake in, unless you also use it like an office (guilty). It’s the first room you look at when you wake up, and the last room you look at before you take your rest. If the room is cluttered, or outright messy, it triggers something in your mind that immediately has a negative response. According to Libby Sander, psychologist and assistant professor at the Bond Business School at Bond University, it triggers a low-key fight or flight response, which induces a constant stress on our systems. This stress accumulates with the stresses in other aspects of our lives, which can lead to depression; I’m here to tell you: it’s really hard to be successful when you’re depressed.
So start there. This is your personal space. If you’re a creator that gets inspiration from clutter (uncommon, but it is a thing), do yourself a favor and restrict it to a room reserved to be a studio. Close the door when you’re not using it, and keep the rest of your space clear–so your mind can be too.
If you’re like I used to be, and keep a messy house, it won’t be easy to clean it up, and it won’t happen all at once, so I have an order that I suggest to make your life simpler; it’s how I did it:
Start with your room, cleaning out anything you don’t need, removing garbage or unneeded items and either relocating them or offloading them. Marie Kondo has a whole system when it comes to offloading things you don’t need–go check her out. Oh, and MAKE YOUR BED.
Then move on to the kitchen. Not only does this help with sanitation (and a dirty kitchen quickly smells, and that infects the rest of the house), but a clean kitchen just feels better.
Bathroom is next folks, followed by any other common rooms, such as living room and dining room.
Finally, any other bedrooms that aren’t occupied.
Oh, and if you’re not living alone, as few of us are, make sure the other residents in your home are on board. Not having everyone on the same page will make it feel like an uphill battle, and cause you to want to give up. Don’t.
It might seem hokey, and it’s annoying (trust me, I’m not a fan of spending a Saturday cleaning the house), but you’ll find your state of mind will benefit from a clean living space; and in turn you’ll be able to focus that attention more, on your work and future.