We all start the new year with good intentions. How many of us have resolved to get organized, exercise more or lose weight, starting on Jan. 1? These extremely common – and truly beneficial – resolutions are some of the hardest to keep, often because they require fundamental changes in lifestyle and shifts in our well-worn paths of daily routine.

To help you start the new year right, here are some suggestions that can make the difference between success and frustration:

I’m going to get organized! Getting rid of clutter is one of the primary tenets of Feng Shui, an ancient art that focuses on creating a flow of positive energy to benefit the inhabitants of an environment. Yet, clearing your home or office of anything you don’t want, need or love and ensuring that everything is in its proper place can be overwhelming. How can you successfully declutter?

•Break the job down into manageable tasks. For example, focus on only one room and start by clearing out a single drawer or closet.

•Schedule a regular “declutter time.” Make an appointment with yourself to tackle a small area. Just 15 to 20 minutes of focused effort each day will make a big difference and help keep you on track.

•Ask a friend to help. If you’re embarrassed about revealing your messy cupboards, make a deal to help your friend declutter her home. Most people have clutter hidden throughout their home and realizing this can help you feel less self-conscious. You can even make your mutual decluttering events fun by putting on some good music, sharing a bottle of wine or some snacks, and using the time as a chance to visit and laugh while sorting out drawers and cabinets.

•Hire a professional organizer. Even a couple of hours with an organizer can help you create new systems that will keep clutter at bay. It’s a good investment in your home’s health.

•Read Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern to learn how you can set up a realistic plan to prevent clutter from taking over your home or office.

I’m going to exercise for an hour every day! Sounds great, but incorporating a rigorous exercise schedule into your daily routine is easier said than done. Gradually building up to this level is a far more realistic goal. This resolution can be especially tough because, although vitally important to your health, exercise isn’t a high priority for most busy people.

•Determine the best time of day to work exercise into your schedule. For some people, the only option is to get out of bed a bit earlier and exercise before the regular daily routine. Others can turn a lunch break into an opportunity to work out or hit the gym before heading home after work.

•Include exercise on your daily calendar. If you actually write it down, just like all your other important activities, you’ll be less likely to skip it.

•Make exercise fun. With the huge variety of exercise classes and techniques – swimming, aerobics, yoga, Pilates, walking – most people can discover an enjoyable approach to exercise. If you can’t find an activity you like, try entertaining yourself by watching your favorite TV program while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike.

•Use the buddy system. Exercising with a friend can be a great motivator and help make your workout more fun. Also, it’s harder to hit the snooze button when you know that someone’s waiting for you.

•Increase your exercise time gradually. Not only is it unrealistic, but it can be dangerous, to jump from inactivity into a major exercise routine. If you haven’t been working out at all, start with 15 minutes a day and work up to your goal.

I’m going to lose weight this year! Most of us have made this claim before. As with clutter-busting and exercising, we often attempt radical changes, find the process too difficult and eventually give up. Here are some ideas that can make a significant difference:

•Make small changes to your diet. By choosing just one thing to change, you’ll more easily incorporate new dietary habits into your lifestyle. For instance, once living without fast food is routine, you can focus on another healthy change, such as drinking water instead of soda.

•Form a weight-loss group. There is power in numbers, and joining with several people who share your goal can provide the support you need to succeed.

•Treat yourself to non-food rewards. When you drop a pound or two, you have reason to pat yourself on the back. Get a manicure, go to the movies with a friend or do something else you enjoy to congratulate yourself.

•Address emotional issues that contribute to your weight. This is especially true for people who find that they make initial progress only to sabotage their own efforts and slide back into bad habits. Counselors can help you deal with emotional issues that may be causing you to cling to unneeded pounds. Various books can also help you recognize and address inner issues. The Ultimate Weight Loss Solution: The Seven Keys to Weight Loss Freedom, by Dr. Phil McGraw, is one of the newer books that can prove useful in removing your blocks to weight loss.

•Don’t think of going on a diet. Instead, change your approach to what you eat, becoming more informed and aware of good choices. Losing weight is only part of the equation – keeping it off is the hardest part for many people. Arthur Agatston’s South Beach Diet contains guidelines on losing weight initially and then maintaining a health weight through a nutritionally balanced, easy to follow program.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Binns shows you how to be more successful in all areas of your life by working with your environment. Get FREE Feng Shui Success Secrets. These powerful and practical secrets can help you transform your life. Go to www.fengshuiexplained.com now.

Linda Binns is author of Feng Shui for Your Relationships: Changing Your Environment to Create Better Relationships. She has been a Feng Shui Practitioner, Author, Speaker and teacher for over 10 years. She has appeared internationally on television and radio and in local publications. Linda is also the founder of The Feng Shui Success Institute – which teaches in-depth Feng Shui training and practitioner certification.