1. Do a deep spring cleaning.
It’s no mistake that spring is the best time to get rid of all the dead weight that has accumulated over the winter months. Throw open the windows, let in the light, and clear out anything that is no longer serving you.
Do a thorough decluttering as well as a thorough cleaning. Some great places to declutter include:
- kitchen cabinets and junk drawers. If you haven't used it in the past year, get rid of it. Throw out anything that's expired or donate items that you can't see yourself using.
- medicine cabinets. Throw out any medicines and first aid products that have expired. Get rid of anything that's not essential and only taking up space.
- clothes closets. Spring is a great time to sort through your clothes, getting rid of anything that no longer fits, that's beyond mending, that doesn't look great on you, and that you haven't worn in the past six months. Donate anything that's wearable.
- linen closets. Linen closets tend to be a catch all and cleaning it out - getting rid of anything expired and/or non-essential - will give you more breathing room for the items you do use.
- file cabinets. Toss out any files and/or papers that you no longer need and/or use. Yes, keep those tax files for the allotted time you need but otherwise really question why you're keeping around three year old bank statements and outdated bills.
2. Clear out emotional and mental clutter.
Along with all the physical clutter and cleaning, spring is an excellent time to get rid of old habits, negative thoughts, limiting beliefs and old ideas. Sometimes it’s comforting to hang onto these old things but really they’re only keep us from moving forward. Think of yourself as a traveler. How much baggage do you want to continue lugging around? Make your load lighter by dumping all the things that are no longer helping you to move ahead. These things may include:
- old ideas about yourself. It really doesn't matter where these old ideas about yourself originated. If they're holding you back, they have to go. The easiest way to do this is to identify the old idea you have about yourself (like "I'm not good enough") and adopt a new idea to take its place (like "I am good enough and a very worthwhile person"). Whenever you feel yourself slipping into the old idea (and it will happen), remind yourself of your new idea and repeat it to yourself like a mantra. This takes diligence but it is possible to change your mind about yourself in this way.
- past regrets and resentments. What I'm taking about here is forgiveness - forgiveness for yourself (regrets) and others (resentments). You may think you're holding on to regret and resentment in order to protect yourself or even to hurt the other person, but all you're really doing is making yourself miserable and holding yourself back from joy and happiness. There are a lot of great resources available on how to let forgiveness work for you but the first thing you can do is set the intention to let go of all past regrets and resentments. Realize they're no longer serving you and need to go.
- negative thoughts. Negative thoughts happen to everybody. It's that tiny voice in our head that tells us "you can't do that," "you'll never amount to anything" and "who do you think you are?" The bad news is that negative thoughts will never go 100% away. The good news is that you have the power to control how you react (or don't react) to them. When a negative thought pops up, counter it with a positive thought. For example if the thought "you can never do that" pops in, briefly acknowledge it then counteract it by stating (to yourself) that "yes, I can do this." What that negative thought is really trying to do is keep you safe. If you try something new or go out on a limb in any way, you might get hurt. This negative voice wants to keep you safe but at the same time it's keeping you small. Thank the voice for its concern but don't allow it to stand in your way.
- limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are just that - beliefs that we hold about ourselves and/or the world that limit us. For example, if you believe that only college educated people can make six figures and you're not college educated, then you're dooming yourself to a life of earning under six figures. Your beliefs create your reality. That's it. The way to break through limiting beliefs is to replace the old belief with a new (more powerful) belief that you can really get behind. First, ask yourself if the old limiting belief is true. Using our example, is it true that only college educated people make six figures and over? Obviously not. There are loads of people making way over six figures without a college education. Why can't one of those people be you? From here, adopt a new belief. Using our example, your new belief might be that earning over six figures has more to do with persistence, creative ideas, and integrity than a college education. Whenever the old belief crops up (and it will), reinforce with your new belief immediately.
- begin a spiritual practice, such as yoga or meditation. This doesn't need to be a major time commitment. Start small (if you want) with only a few minutes a day with the intention to expand it a few minutes every week until you reach the desired length of time you want. This gentle integration into your schedule will help you to stick with it long enough to make it a daily habit.
- start walking outside. There is something about walking outside that helps you to be mindful and fully aware of your environment. Walk surrounded by nature (if you can) for the most benefit. Being in nature is very restorative to the soul. These walks don't need to be long or power walks. In fact slow mindful walking can do a lot more for your psyche than muscling through it.
- volunteer. Volunteering can be a very rewarding experience. Pick an organization that resonates with you or mentor someone. Giving of yourself in this way can make you feel wonderful while helping someone else. It's a win/win.
- explore your creativity. Everyone is creative. Exploring your creativity can include putting together a vision board, learning a new language, taking up pottery or jewelry making, starting a journal, taking a music class or anything that makes your heart sing. The important thing is to pick something and commit to following through with it. If it's not an outside class with a schedule, schedule time for your creative project once a week, even if it's for only 30 minutes. This will help you to make it a reality. Otherwise it's easy for it to slip through the cracks of "I have no time for this." Make the time.
- plant a garden. Spring is the perfect time for planting. It's wonderful to see how your plantings grow and flourish throughout the spring and summer months. Even if you don't have an outdoor space, you can plant an indoor garden using a flower box and a window sill. Get creative.
- try that thing you've always wanted to try. No matter what it is, how big or small, make a commitment to yourself to try it out. Start taking steps to making it a reality (if it's a big thing like taking a trip to Greece) or schedule it out if it's smaller and is something you can do without any prep (like going sky diving). Whatever it is, make it a priority and commit to making it happen. This is the only way it will.