Here's the answer to one of the most common questions about the Declutter 365 missions, what to do if you miss one or more missions on the Declutter 365 calendar.
To help, I've answered this question with both a short answer, and a longer answer version of what to do when this inevitably happens to you.
It is neither the end of the world, nor unexpected that you'll occasionally miss a mission on the calendar, either on purpose, or not planned.
If you plan to miss a day or more of missions, go ahead and also plan how you'll eventually get to those missions at a later date.
If you miss a day, but it isn't planned, the important thing is not to give up completely. Instead, go ahead and start again as soon as possible, to keep decluttering your home and further establish your habit of daily decluttering.
Each year's Declutter 365 calendar contains 365 different missions that help you declutter your home, slowly, over the course of the year. Because there are so many different missions it is basically inevitable that at some point, during those 365 days, you'll miss one or more missions, either on purpose or on accident.
So this FAQ is here to help you know what to do when you miss these missions, so you can get the most out of the Declutter 365 program, and more importantly, to reach your goal of decluttering your home.
There are lots of advantages to breaking down the huge task of decluttering your home into smaller steps, and one of those advantages is that doing a task every single day helps you establish this task into a habit.
Making decluttering a habit is well worth the effort it takes to establish, because once you've got this habit it is easier to:
For that reason, I've tried to provide you with lots of resources to remind yourself to do your daily mission, including the free printable Declutter 365 calendar, plus add-on products such as the daily Declutter 365 mission text messages, which will text you each day's mission in the morning (8 a.m. EST).
But, what happens if you still miss a mission? Is it the end of the world? The answer -- absolutely not, as long as it isn't a regular occurrence.
What you don't want to happen is have these missed missions trip you up in developing and maintaining your habit of decluttering.
Fortunately, a secret to habits is that you don't need 100% compliance with them to succeed, but instead if you shoot for 80-90% compliance that's usually enough to still see the benefits, and that's exactly what I've found works well for the Declutter 365 missions as well.
Therefore, while I encourage you to develop a "daily" habit of decluttering, if you do this "daily" habit 80-90% of the time, where the vast majority of the time you're doing a 15 minute decluttering session day after day, you'll see amazing results, and will be well on your way to a clutter free home!
That means it's not crucial to do these Declutter 365 missions perfectly, or completely, or in one particular sequence, to ultimately succeed, as long as you properly respond when you miss missions, so overall you still are decluttering daily, most of the time.
There are two ways people miss missions, planned and unplanned, so I'll discuss how to respond to both types of missed missions below, for the best results.
Sometimes you may purposefully plan to miss certain Declutter 365 missions. This can happen for several reasons.
One reason you may plan to miss a specific day is if the mission doesn’t apply to you, and I’ve discussed what to do in that situation more in this linked FAQ article.
In addition, you may also plan to miss certain days of missions because you are going on vacation, you know ahead of time that a certain day or week will be too busy, such as when guests are in town or a huge project is happening at work or school, or perhaps you want to purposefully have one or more days of rest each week, such as weekends or Sundays off.
If you're going to miss days of the missions, planned days are more ideal than unplanned days, because it's less likely to mess up your decluttering habit when the missed days are planned.
That's because if you know ahead of time you won't be able to do certain days of missions you can also plan ahead for what you'll do about the fact that you will miss certain days, and act accordingly.
I suggest you keep track of which missions you have worked on, and completed, in some form or fashion, such as marking the completed missions off on your printable monthly calendar, and then you can come back at a later date to finish those unmarked off missions, or work ahead, or come back to them in the coming year.
If you continue to stick, generally, with your habit of decluttering daily most of the time (defined as 80-90% of the time), you can feel confident eventually you'll get to these undone missions and meet your ultimate goal of getting your whole home decluttered.
The bigger stumbling block to developing and maintaining a daily decluttering habit is when you have an unplanned missed day.
Unlike when you know ahead of time you won't be doing missions on certain days, unplanned missed days happen when you have every intention, at least in theory, of doing the mission but then life happens, in some form or fashion, and the decluttering task never gets done before you head to bed for the night.
That "life" happening can include real emergencies, like sickness or accidents, as well as running out of time, energy or willpower before you get to doing the day's mission.
We all know that if establishing new habits was easy we wouldn't struggle to do things that are worthwhile. But new habits are hard to establish, so since none of us are perfect human beings we will inevitably miss some days, unplanned.
The key to dealing with these unplanned missed days is how you respond to them. Ironically, making a plan about how you'll respond, when you have an unplanned missed day of missions, is the best way to make sure a momentary slip doesn't turn into something far worse.
This is called "if then" planning, where you say to yourself, "if I accidentally, unplanned, miss a day of the Declutter 365 missions then I will do _________." (Below let's explore how you can decide what you will, and won't do, in such situations.
What you don't want to do when you accidentally miss a mission is to conclude that since you've missed one day it's all over, you have failed at doing it perfectly, and therefore you're quitting completely. This approach is called “all or nothing” and it sets you up to fail because no one is perfect.
Instead, plan ahead that if (or really when) you miss a day of the missions you won't treat it as an excuse to quit completely, but instead that you'll start again, as quickly as you can once you realize you've missed a mission or two.
Go ahead and start late, start over, start scared, start again. Just start.
I encourage you, once you re-start, to do the mission that is scheduled on that day's calendar, instead of trying to "catch up," since it's more important to keep going than to do the missions in any particular order.
The key is consistency. This includes consistency in both trying to do the missions daily, and also consistency in re-starting if and when you do miss a day.
For decluttering, as for much in life, consistency is more important than perfection in actually making progress, and getting the desired results.
Eventually, if you practice this consistency to keep doing these missions daily, as well as consistently re-staring if you do miss a day, you're going to be a person who has established the habit of decluttering, and that is what will get you the success you desire.
Success doesn't come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.
If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission.
Today is a great day to begin your habit of daily decluttering, so get started now!
Photo of calendar with stickers courtesy of a reader, Sara
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!