As we look ahead to warmer weather, earlier sunrises and later sunsets, we naturally start to look around and see what has been set aside to hibernate for the winter. Plants and trees have died back, but new shoots, leaves and buds are starting to grow and we begin the task of clearing out the old and making space for new. It's the perfect time for spring cleaning. Why not take some time to clear out those old thoughts of "I can't" and make way for some 'I can' thinking?
Perhaps your New Year's resolutions are a distant memory, and you have developed a habit of negative thinking. My winter depression really settles in around December and it takes until about March to get a handle on my mindset enough to send my depression packing and let my creative, vibrant mindset take the wheel again. Every year, I know it's coming and every year, I seem 'surprised' when I find myself in the midst of it. I hear comments in my mind (and out of my mouth) that sound like: "I can't exercise today because: it's too cold outside, I have too many things to do, I don't have the right gear/clothes/plan, I'm too tired" etc...or maybe it's: "I can't eat healthy because: I'm too busy, too tired, don't know how to cook" etc... I'll bet you have a few that you can hear really clearly in your head right now.
Fortunately, I have found some scientifically proven (and personally tested and approved) ways to steer my mind back on track effectively. Here are 5 things you can do to start spring cleaning your mind, body and spirit:
- Get Clear - What new habit or trait or practice do you want to create in your life? Take some time to really think about what you want and what it can give you in your life. What is it you truly want? What will that create for you? How will your life be different if you are willing to do what it takes to make that change?
- Get Support - As a Life Coach and a Fitness Coach, I have seen the profound power of working with someone on your goals and projects. A coach is someone who can reflect areas where you may not have noticed are holding you back or need to improve. They can help you get to the core of how YOU can really empower your actions, and they can be your personal cheerleader and encourager. A coach can see things that maybe you don't notice because you are 'in it'. Support can also come from friendships and camaraderie. Taking a class or working out with a buddy adds a sense of accountability, and camaraderie makes taking on new challenges fun and maybe even something to look forward to.
- See It - Now that you have a clear picture of what you want, make it visual. This could look like posting positive affirmations related to your goal in key places: post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, on the dashboard of your car, or perhaps a photo or quote on the lock screen of your phone. Maybe you like crafting a vision board with images and words that inspire your actions and remind you of your commitment. Make whatever you see an opportunity to remind yourself of your goal and your commitment to change.
- Start Small - You may have a big goal, but if you are looking far into the future, you miss the small opportunities and achievements of making progress along the way. Take big goals and break it up into smaller chunks. Set smaller goals that support the big goal. Pick one at a time and give it all the loving attention you have.
- Reward Yourself - When our motivation comes from a dislike of where we are now, our thoughts about ourselves and even our goal can become overwhelmingly negative. We may feel we don't deserve what we really want, or we become enamored with the process of improvement and miss the point of the process. Believe that each small step in the direction you are headed is a victory! Celebrate it! Be sure to acknowledge your achievements on the way to your goal with something that really brings you pleasure - make it a special treat. It doesn't have to be expensive or take a lot of effort. You could celebrate eating healthy by purchasing a new cookbook, or a book you have been wanting to read. You could celebrate completing a month of workouts by treating yourself to a special bath or massage, or a day trip to a museum or the beach or the mountains. Whatever makes you feel truly rewarded- enjoy it! It doesn't have to be big or expensive to be truly meaningful for you.