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Well not really – here in Toronto, it’s April and I still need my winter jacket! Snow/ice storms have continued their streak in forcing us to postpone plans.
But nevertheless I’ve decided to forge forward and start my springtime routine, maybe the weather will follow.
Traditionally, people will use springtime to do some spring cleaning, throw out old clothes, or trinkets that they haven’t used and make space for new ones.
I use spring as a fresh start to try and clear my mind. I use this time to try and get my priorities in order or set goals as to what I want to achieve in the next year. This is a lot easier in March than it is in January. The whole January jingle of #newyearnewme has never worked for me. I’m already sad the holidays are over, I’ve put on more weight than I actually worked off in the months leading up to the holidays, and as an accountant I have lots of year-end reporting to focus on. All in all, January is a hell month! There’s no way I’m succeeding on any of my goals.
So instead, I use the first three months of the year to focus on clearing up any leftover baggage from last year. And we move into March, as the weather is getting better, I’m usually feeling a lot more optimistic; it is an ideal time for me to get through a new round of goal setting.
Spring cleaning ususally entails, throwing out or donating old clothes, getting rid of clutter, you know, clear space, clear mind. What I like to do is actually start backwards. I’m a planner at heart. I love writing to-do lists and what I especially love is checking off things off my to-do lists. So instead of actually throwing out anything or decluttering, I try to set some short term goals and set myself up for success. I start my looking at my goals and from there, I follow up with action plans that will allow me to either achieve my goals or remove obstacles from my way as I aim to achieve my goals.
Here is the cascading process I follow:
- Write down your goals:
- This part is very important as it gives you a baseline for what you want to do. It gives you something to look back on as you go through the year and execute your action plan (more on that later). So how do you figure out your goals? Sometimes it’s obvious, maybe you wanted to read more, exercise more etc. I like to look at any challenges or problems I’ve been having and prioritize my goals that way. If the year has started off with a lot of focus on work and you’re feeling overwhelmed, the focus of your goals should be on how that can on making life easier, don’t take on more. If you feel like you’re lacking creativity, pick up a new hobby; or try a class.
- Research – Seek out new ways to get things done:
- For many of us, goals often don’t change ever year. Use the power of the internet to your advantage. It is that it’s unlikely you’re the first one with the same problem, so use others’ ingenious ways to solve it. Yes, it is my Type A personality at task again with all the researching, reading forums, blogs and just consuming any type of knowledge that will help me! Year after year, I’ve tried to focus on losing weight, which can be achieved by both better diet and better exercise. For a long time, I focused on the exercise train. But this time, I decided to change it up! A few Google searches into “how to lose weight”, I discovered this mysterious ketogenic diet! So far, I’ve been on it for about 6 weeks, and I’ve had more success than I have ever had on any exercise only routine I’ve tried to follow!
- Create your action plan: What do you need to do to to get there:
- The rest of this post focuses on the action plan. Sometimes creating goals is the easy part in comparison to actually executing on tasks that will lead to success of your goals.
- I am a planner at heart, I have several notebooks, spreadsheet, to-do lists and calendar reminders to try to make sure I do the things I want to get done. I think I get more joy from checking off a task on my list, than from actually completing the task. So I do what works best for me – I sit down and I plan each and every aspect of my goal, what do I need to get there!
- Along with these practical reminders, there’s other ways to set yourself for success. For example, if you wanted to start painting, make sure you have given yourself a dedicated space to work on your art. Is there a space in your home that can be used? Make sure to declutter that area! If not, you’ll always give yourself an excuse to not paint!
- Buy yourself something that’ll help you in your goals. Consumerism isn’t allbad! And yes, this seems counterintuitive to the concept of spring cleaning, but it is a way to have yourself become more invested in accomplishing your goal!
- If you want to take on lettering – buy that journal, it’ll give you something to get excited about and you’ve actually spent money on this activity, it’ll be more ‘legitimate’ your mind.
- Be realistic
- As you create your goals and action plans, think about what is feasible for you. If you’re not a morning person, chances are you’re not going to be able to go to the gym in the morning. But if your goals are to be more healthy, maybe pack your breakfast and lunch at night so it’s one less thing to deal with. Be honest with yourself. Changing habits doesn’t happen overnight. It’s many little steps that lead to you the finish line; you’re running a marathon, not a sprint.
- Boost your mood – you’ve started the journey, so reward yourself!
- You need to be the right frame of mind as you try to start a new journey towards accomplishing your goals. One way that I’ve found to be useful is to reward myself (preferably not in a way that is counterintuitive to your goal).
- For me, I love relaxing by using face masks, the first time I created my keto meal plan, I used on of those face masks I’d been saving for a special occasion. It also worked at the level of self-guilt, since I had already rewarded myself, I had to succeed in actually cooking that meal plan.
- Do something that makes you feel good, listen to your favourite song, take a bath, go for a swim, anything that helps you start this new journey in a peaceful mindset.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
- Sometimes we set our goals to high, we often aspire to do more than we can handle and at other times, life happens! Between work, life, families, relationships, there are so many hurdles you may have to cross. Don’t use them as excuses to fall behind, but be easy on yourself. If there is a good reason, you weren’t able to meal prep one week, it’s okay. There’s a next time, and it’ll be easier since you were already in that frame of mind.
- So if you meet your goals, reward yourself – if you don’t try again!
Now time for me to meal prep so I can check that off my to-do list for the week!
And I may have rewarded myself with these chocolate pudding filled choux pastries for writing this post!
Happy Spring Cleaning!