Dr Peggy Marshall

Spring Cleaning You!
By Peggy Marshall

March is the month that we begin to feel the effects of Spring weather.  It’s wonderful to see new blooms as we cast off the dreariness of winter.  When I lived in Ohio I used to give my house a Spring Cleaning.  We can use this analogy when we think about spring cleaning ourselves.  Ask yourself-what do I need to clean out; what do I need to let go of?  Where are the cobwebs?

Spring Cleaning

Bing image

As we picture cleaning out the areas where we might be stuck, we can explore where we get stuck.  People get stuck for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes the goal is really not something they want for themselves-rather they are doing it for someone else.  Other times obstacles are in our lives which leave us drained and without energy.  In other situations, unanticipated events take our focus and attention so that we find it difficult to keep our commitments to our goals.  The following list identifies ways for us to think about how we might be blocked energetically and recommendations for renewing our momentum towards our goals.

Don’t compare yourself with others
Cobwebs collect in the corners of our minds when we compare ourselves with others. There will always be some people who have it better than us and others who have it worse.  Focusing on others’ success and not our own success will result in big cobwebs in our mind and limit our ability to drive for our own success.  Instead, decide what you want for yourself and go after it.

Avoid judging yourself negatively
You pack away junk in boxes if you repeat negative phrases about yourself and your abilities.  Judgment damages your sense of being and prevents you from relishing in the small gains that you are making.  By the way, I have always said that the worst judgments are the ones that we make towards ourselves-however it’s important to not take on others’ judgments of us as well. And….when this junk is in boxes it is hidden but still has a big impact on us.

Avoid perfectionism
Perfectionism is the thin layer of dust that collects on our furniture.  We remove it frequently, but it returns almost as quickly as we remove it.  Perfectionism blocks our energy and keeps us from attaining our goals.  Make sure that you give yourself permission to make mistakes-forgive yourself and move on.  All of us are working to improve some area in our lives and we need to be gentle with ourselves.  When the dust returns, remind yourself to just gently remove it.

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people
Pack away the almost burnt candles and wilted flowers from the winter. Whenever possible move yourself away from people and situations that are negative or toxic.  It is difficult to sustain momentum when constantly experiencing people and situations negatively.  When we cannot totally remove ourselves from negative people and situations, think about ways to limit exposure.

Affirm yourself-have gratitude
Open the windows and let the sunshine it.  Wake up every morning with a positive affirmation.  You might even want to write them down and post them on your mirrors or other places that you see them often.  Consider keeping a gratitude journal for all of the things that you are grateful for-many people do this routinely on a daily basis.  When you find your momentum slipping-go back through the journal to read about how great your life really is.

Pay attention to what inspires you
Put on your favorite radio station or favorite music as you clean. It’s hard to get unstuck if your days are spent in work you find uninspiring and/or passionless.  Even if you cannot change your work, you can determine the kinds of leisure activities you are involved in.  Try to devote leisure time to hobbies and activities, which you find stimulate your passions and rewarding.

Free yourself from “shoulds”
Put away the winter clothing-it’s heavy and we don’t need it holding us back.  Shoulds also create a heaviness in our world.  I have personally found behavior changes which are based more on what I “should” do rather than what I “want” to do are more difficult to sustain.  Most of our “shoulds” produce guilt for us.  They are the little voices in our heads that nag us for not doing better, being better, etc.  Even when there is something that we need to do for ourselves, i.e., lose weight, get more exercise, take time for ourselves, until we come from a place of wanting to do it, we typically are unsuccessful which produces even more guilt.

Take baby steps-but take action
Clean the one thing you have been avoiding cleaning.  What is the one minor change you can make to take action that doesn’t drain your energy and keeps your momentum flowing?  Be patient-small changes lead up to big results.  If you are trying to lose weight, eliminate one unhealthy thing that you eat regularly from your diet, i.e., ice cream for desert, candy, sugary drinks.  If you want more exercise, think about alternatives to the gym-what are exercises you can do at home while watching TV?

So if you find that you have lost some of your momentum towards your goals, thinking about your life in a “Spring Cleaning” process.  Try a few of these ideas out to see if you can get yourself “unstuck”.  As always, we look forward to hearing about success stories from readers.  If you have one you would like to share, please send it me at this website.

To your success!

Dr. Peggy