The Science of Creating New Habits: How to Make them Stick
For those of you who follow our blog, you may have noticed a recent article called Let's Talk about Last Year's ResolutionThis blog proposes the concept of gathering data about what worked about your resolution and what didn't. It also focuses on some expert tips for making your resolutions actually happen (spoiler alert: a resolution is really just a new habit, which can be established at any time of the year).

To support you in the process of creating new habits. According to this podcast in the Harvard Review with author Charles Duhigg of The Power of Habit: Why We do What We Do in Life and Business, every  habit has three key components:  a cue, a routine, and a reward

Duhigg goes on to say that most people focus on the routine behind the desired habit, but it's actually the cue and the reward that shape the final outcome. Focusing on the behavior alone is why our resolutions often fail. 

Experiencing a conscious thought about what you'd like to do differently occurs in the prefrontal cortex, where new thoughts are processed. This is where working memory is located, and many of us put a large burden on this part of the brain as we try to juggle our busy lives. David Allan's quote from Getting Things Done, which states that " your brain is for having ideas, not for holding them" is based on the notion that we process these kinds of thoughts in the prefrontal cortex, but they don't get to stay there. 

Once a habit becomes automatic, it moves to the basil ganglia, which is located in the center of the brain. This means that it is now more permanently housed in your brain, and has become part of your routine. 

As stated, in order to get a habit to the basil ganglia, you have to focus on the cue and the reward, rather than the behavior itself. There are lots of great ways to do that, including things like adding reminders to your phone, getting an accountability partner, and piggypacking the new habit onto an already existing habit. 

Our electronic age provides new apps and programs designed to trigger that cue and reward system. Here is a list of some great ones to get you started: 

Habit Bull This is a free habit app that provides reminders, motivational quotes, and the option of tracking your habit. It also features a community of like-minded people trying to achieve the same goals as you. 

Strides The great thing about this free web app is that it allows you to tackle a larger goal by breaking it down into smaller, actionable chunks. This is an excellent option for those who tend to get overwhelmed with large tasks.

Go F***ing do it  This website allows you to choose a habit, a sum of money to put towards achieving it, a deadline and a witness. If you don't complete the goal, you lose your money.  

TimeStats If one of your goals is to increase personal productivity, TimeStats is a great motivator. It is a Chrome extension that keeps track of how much time you spend on websites you visit. Just knowing that you are tracking your own time can be a great reminder, or cue, to stay focused. 

Habitica This app helps create a habit by gameifying the process - turning your personal wins and losses into part of the game that is part of a social network of other gamers working along side you to achieve goals of their own. 

Happy Organizing!

Portland Resources and Events

A Tip From Missy: It's National Get Organized Month!

Right now across the country, members of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing ) are participating in Go Month, or Get Organized Month. As proud NAPO members, we are excited to participate in this great event, which spans the whole month of January and can take the form of organizing and decluttering tips, ideas and advice. 

This year, we decided to take GO month beyond January. We are busy at work, creating a blog series taking you through the home, room by room, and providing simple and effective organizing strategies that work. If you would like to receive this blog series, simply sign up   via the "Join our Blog" window in our most recent article. 

Organizers NW Paper Workshop: January 23rd

In this hour-long presentation, Missy Gerber will teach you how to 5S your paper for the new year. 

She will discuss WHY it's so important to organize paper, provide an in-depth overview of the Lean 5S methodology and how to apply it to paper organizing, plus real life examples of how we use 5S with our business clients. 

Date: Jan 23rd
Location: The Multnomah Athletic Club
Cost: $29 per person. 
To Attend: Call  503-245-3564  or email  to reserve your spot! Includes food and networking.
Annual Fix-It Fair and Repair Cafe:  January 27th, 2018

This year marks the 31st Fix it Fair, hosted by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. There will be two dates for this event, with a second date set for February. 

A huge variety of guest presenters will be attending and providing free education, on topics related to health, home repair and utilities, finances and garden. There will also be a fix-it cafe at the event, where you may bring a home appliance or article of clothing, and a Repair PDX volunteer will be on hand to help repair it - and show you how!

Dates and Locations: 

January 27th: George Middle School
10000 N Burr Ave

February 24th: Madison High School
2735 NE 82nd Ave

Free Shred Event in Beaverton: February 10th 

The Beaverton Police Department's next shred event will be held on February 10th at Sunset Presbyterian on NW Cornell Rd. 

There will be a limit of three legal-size boxes per vehicle. 

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