In a prior career I worked as a drug and alcohol counselor. We’d tell clients that the first step in the recovery process was to make a commitment to get sober. Some people would talk a good game, but the addicted part of themselves was still working hard to keep them thinking they could control their use and continue using. Their commitment was shaky and their actions eventually led them back to using.
A person who makes a commitment to a process, like the process of recovery from addiction, must first make a psychological shift in their thinking, a mental commitment, before they can be successful in their efforts at recovery. They may be doing all the right things, but if they haven’t made a solid commitment and taken steps every day to honor their commitment, they are likely to fail.
The same is true for people who want to go from living a cluttered, chaotic life to a life that is primarily clutter-free. The first step is to make a commitment to learning a new way of thinking and acting. Then they must honor that commitment every day by taking action to prevent and eliminate clutter.
Commitment without action is like having a boat with no motor. The boat is capable of traveling from one area to another, but it won’t move forward without the energy of the motor. Action with no commitment is comparable to a car in need of a tune-up. It will move in fits and starts for awhile, but eventually it will break down. Commitment + right actions=success.
AA teaches alcoholics and addicts to stay sober one day at a time. They are urged to start their day telling themselves, “Just for today I won’t drink.” Take the same process and use it to help you stay clutter-free. Tell yourself, “Just for today I will process the mail, pick up after myself, put things away, throw things in the trash, wash the dishes. . . .” Staying clutter-free is a one day at a time commitment!