The forecast shows sunny days with fresh-cut green grass and brightly-colored tulips in our near future as Winter winds down and Spring approaches. This is also the time of year where many people get the itch to give their home a good cleaning in preparation for Summer barbecues and activities. That bug has never bitten me. Ever. Don’t got me wrong — a clean home feels great but I hate cleaning. Some people find it very zen to clean; I find it to be an annoying, required task. In an attempt to put off cleaning (or procrastinate), I thought about how spring cleaning your life should become an annual ritual too.
Spring Cleaning Your Life Leads to Mindfulness
I want to live a mindful life where I make conscious choices that honor my authenticity. Where I feel strong and whole in my own skin and confident enough to be me without worrying whether my herd approves of every action I make. To live that kind of mindful life takes diligence and focus, thus you need to eliminate clutter in your life, both tangible and in your head. Here’s how I’m giving my life a good spring cleaning.
#1: Utilize The Do I Love It Test
I had always assumed that I loved everything I bought, but to my surprise, I discovered that wasn’t true. I bought a lot of stuff because I could. Thankfully, I am now much, much better about buying things that I truly love versus trying to fill empty holes inside me.
However, I am human and imperfect. This means reasonable Tanya isn’t always the one in charge of my pocketbook. Sometimes rash Tanya is and she can be a real troublemaker. When I find myself shopping off-list and putting random things in my cart, I stop and ask myself, “Do I love this and why?” or “Does this help me achieve my goal of getting healthy?”
Almost every time the answer is no and almost every time the item goes back on the shelf. Note that I said almost every time and remember that I am imperfect. 🙂 (And see #3)
#2 Create Ongoing Rituals and Routines on Areas that Matter
One thing I’ve noticed is that most successful people have strong routines and rituals they follow, which is something I’ve been incredibly resistant to doing and never really understood why until recently. I tend to be the good girl; the one who follows all the rules. This was my small rebellion that hurt no one but myself. Dumb, I know. Routines are not boring and instead aid goal achievement when paired with clear goals and clear benefits. This means cleaning routines, exercise routines, mental health routines (i.e. journaling and gratitude) and more are about to become a big part of my life.
I’m putting on my big girl pants, people.
#3 Accept I am a Work in Progress and Make Mistakes
Sometimes it feels like I should be done, fully baked and complete. But I’m not. One of the great myths perpetuated is that we know the answers when we get “big”. We never know all the answers. We are a work in progress our entire lives. This is not a bad thing either. Because if we’re not growing and expanding, we’re not living. Even if you mindfully or knowingly break bad, consider it a gift (assuming you’re not actually being a Heisenberg) because now you have insight into your fears and doubts and a chance to address them.
It’s such a relief to know that I don’t have to be perfect, especially to my poor mind that was constantly cluttered with thoughts of “why can’t you” and “do better”. Mistakes only define you if you let them. I don’t want them to be my entire story. Let those thoughts holding you back go and free up space to learn, grow and be.
#4 Focus On Mental Well-Being and Practice Gratitude
Spring cleaning your life also means giving your mindset some much needed attention. We have a gazillion and one thoughts per day and should occasionally check-in with those thoughts. To see if we’re being overly harsh and critical (with both ourselves and others) or too passive. Our minds are extraordinary. They can be our most powerful asset or our most formidable foe, which is why it is so important to know whether your mind is an ally or a bully. Mine was in bully-mode, which is something I’ve been consciously trying to change. I find gratitude to be one of the most effective ways to retrain your mind. It takes time and consistency, but it’s worth the effort.
Have you ever given your life and mind a good cleaning? If so, what were the results? And most importantly — does cleaning help clear your head or do you intensely dislike it, like I do?