For the past month, my house has been cleaner than it’s ever been in my 50+ years on Earth. This feels like a confession, because it’s not something readily talk about. Perhaps it’s because my mother was a hoarder and housekeeping, or lack thereof, was always a source of secrecy and shame for me. Truth be told, this has been a lifelong struggle—keeping a consistently clean and tidy home (I’m not so great at the tidy part).

I’ve made countless declarations over the years: “I’ll never be embarrassed if someone comes to my door”, “THIS is the year”, “I’ll tidy five minutes every night before bed”, etc. Ultimately, all failed, even in the short term.

I believe there are two parts to creating lasting change: A decision and a plan. This year I have both.

A decision is not a “should” and is different than an intention or a goal. A decision implies commitment. Resolve. A willingness to move heaven and earth to make something happen.

For me, a real decision comes not from my head, but from deep within my soul. Something has to shift inside for a real decision to take place. Regarding my house, there is no doubt in my mind that I will continue on the path I began in late December. All the inner work I’ve done has created the needed shift within me.

A plan involves developing and following a course of action.

I developed a wonderful, well-thought-out cleaning system for my house over a decade ago. My husband bucks at too much structure, so he was not willing to participate as designed back then. As I recall, I got pissy inside and tossed it in the back of a drawer. Luckily it was still there when I went looking for it. This year, I don’t care if he participates or not*, nothing is stopping me (the sign of a true decision).

Note: You can have a great plan and without that deep internal decision, the plan will sit unused on the shelf.

On the flip side, you can have a deep and meaningful decision and not quite know what to do to bring it to life. The good news is that when you have a real decision on your hands, you’ll do whatever it takes to move forward, even if it means getting help with your plan.

For this reason, having a deep decision is more important than having a plan. The decision provides passionate propulsion to see itself through.

The internal work necessary to arrive at that deep decision can happen in an instant, the recognition of a single insight, or it can be a gradual, the result of peeling away years of misunderstandings and outdated beliefs. But make no mistake…it can be done.

I had a woman bring a pile of health/nutrition books to her inquiry session with me. She pointed to the books and said, “I know exactly what to do, I’m just not doing it!” I told her that if we worked together, she’d have to put the books away. Our work would be about making the internal shift.

And boy was it. She invested in herself and her decision happened gradually, over time. Once it came, she became unstoppable. Yesterday we made the plan for our next six months together. I was in awe as I sat across from this woman now glowing, 40+ pounds lighter, free of chronic fatigue, in a loving partnership for the first time in decades…

Ah, the power of a deep-soul-decision…and a good plan.

*For the record, my husband is a wonderful partner in home care. He just doesn’t like things to be too structured (while I thrive in structure).