Reduced stress. Increased productivity. Improved well-being.


My daughter called me up after the New Year and said, “Mom, I want to start a wellness program, but I need someone to join me to keep me accountable. Are you in?”

Knowing I needed to get in better shape myself I was up for a challenge. She then proceeded to tell me the details of our undertaking.

The program is called 75 Hard and the rules we were to follow daily for the next 75 days are as follows:

  • Two 45-minute workouts. One of those has to be done outside.
  • Take a progress photo.
  • Read 10 pages from a self-help book.
  • Drink 1 gallon of water.
  • Follow a diet of your choosing.
  • No alcohol.

When she was done giving me the details I responded, “There is no way I can do that!” I started giving her my excuses, “I’m still caring for your sister (she was in breast cancer treatment at the time), babysitting my grandson during her appointments and recovery, my foot was bothering me, my work gets busier after the holidays, it’s cold outside…” She interrupted me, “Mom, it’s supposed to be hard.” “Sorry honey, I just can’t do it right now. I’ll let you know when a better time will be.”

That evening her words kept going through my mind, “Mom, it’s supposed to be hard.” Who was I kidding? There was never really a good time to start a program like this. I was the one who needed an accountability partner to stop my procrastinating.

I called her that evening and said, “Lets start tomorrow.” Surprised by my call she said, “Let’s do it!”

I got busy coming up with the diet I would follow. No chips or French fries. Limited processed foods, more vegetables. Only one sweet treat a week. (Am I really saying these words?)

I went to the library and picked up some self-help books. I focused on healing my sore foot. I had my exercise bike repaired and renewed my gym membership. I stocked my refrigerator with fresh produce.

The program lived up to its name. Following the rules was hard at times. There were days when I was trudging through the snow and pouring rain. I had to bite my lip as family members enjoyed dessert in front of me. When I forgot to take my progress picture, I had to leap from my warm covers at night.

I caught myself wanting to make excuses to not complete the daily tasks. Like the time I spent the day with my oldest daughter in the hospital because she was so ill and weak from her treatments and had a stomach bug. I said to myself, “Clearly I can’t get my second workout done today.”

And then my daughter’s words came back again, “Mom it’s supposed to be hard.” I had to figure out a way to get my workout done. When my daughter started feeling better, I went outside in the cold to the hospital courtyard and walked, climbed stairs and made up exercises for 45-minutes. When I returned, she was napping so I got in my ten minutes of reading too. Success in the midst of a bad day.

The more I did the program the more I noticed I put myself first in order to complete the daily tasks. Chores like the dishes could wait.

As the days progressed, I discovered I had more energy, less sugar cravings, felt stronger and had more flexibility. These changes motivated me to continue.

It was fun having my daughter as an accountability partner and someone to share in my misery. One night I called her at 10:45pm (9:45pm her time) and said, “Because of you, I’m riding my exercise bike and reading my 10-pages instead of vegging on the couch.” She texted me back, “Can’t talk right now I’m out with friends, but if it makes you feel any better, I still have my 45-minute workout to do when I get home.” Of course, it made me feel better! I peddled on.

She’s the one who understands when I’m having a hard moment. Like the time I sent her a picture of my husband’s margarita, chips and salsa he was enjoying at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Delights she and I couldn’t have. After viewing the photo, she texted back, “Why are you torturing me with this!” Misery does love company.

Many days I was not motivated to start exercising, but I started anyway. To my surprise, I often continued on after my 45 minutes were up. This reminded me of what I tell my clients, “Action sometimes has to come before motivation.”

Why am I sharing this story with you? Because while doing this program, I realized a similar commitment may be just what people need to get their homes more organized. Are you willing to try a 75-day organizing challenge?

Here are the daily rules:

  • Two 45-minute organizing sessions. One can be broken up into smaller time limits.
  • Start anywhere you like. Feel free to jump to different rooms or projects as long as you feel good about your progress.
  • Take a progress photo.
  • If you buy something, unpack it immediately and put it away.
  • Eliminate distractions while organizing. Only use your phone for emergencies during your sessions. Put yourself first.
  • Keep a daily checklist to mark as you complete each task.
  • If you’ll be away from home for the day, take something with you to organize. This could be paperwork, family photos, your purse/wallet, computer files or photos on your phone.
  • Feel free to take one day off a week to catch up on your other responsibilities.

If possible, find an accountability partner who also wants to get more organized. Sharing your struggles and accomplishments with someone who understands is helpful.

You’ll begin to see changes as you work towards your goal. You will be more aware of how you spend your time and what things you need to give up that have not been serving you. You’ll feel lighter and more motivated as you tackle your spaces. Finding your belongings will become easier. As a bonus, you’ll bless others with the items you no longer use.

Remember, “It’s supposed to be hard!” The rewards of leading a more organized life will be worth your effort.

I wish you the best of luck as you progress through your home. If you’d like to show off your newly organized space, feel free to send before and after photos to our office at [email protected].

Lori Firsdon owns Forte Organizers in Centerville. She does onsite organizing and speaking engagements.  For more organizing tips, visit  Her book, “Lose Your Stuff, Find Yourself,” is available on Amazon.

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