chaning thinking, behavior change

5 Steps for Spring Cleaning Your Inner Life

Spring is a powerful time of new beginnings. The days draw out longer as new signs of life spring from the earth. We often feel inspired to begin spring cleaning in our homes and our gardens, clearing out the dust and old leaves to create fresh new space. It can feel liberating and refreshing to get rid of what no longer serves us. And perhaps this year we can apply the same spring cleaning spirit to our inner lives as well.

Whether you are ready to deepen your roots or grow new sprouts, spring can be a great motivation to make some of the changes you’ve been seeking in your life.  these steps will get you started on a path toward meaningful change.

Step 1: Self -Reflection

Take a little time to examine your patterns of thinking and behaving. Enter this process from a place of curiosity and self-love. The focus is to understand yourself, not judge yourself. Honestly, notice the repetitive thoughts that seem to swirl around your head and the mindless behaviors you engage in regularly. Give yourself quiet time to compassionately look at yourself and your life as it is without needing input or judgement from anyone else.

Step 2: Choose What to Keep

Identify what’s been working for you. Highlight the progress you’ve made in the past year and the specific thoughts that helped you through tough times. Focus on the moments when you have felt your best about yourself and your life. Which thoughts were swirling during these times? Celebrate the healthy behaviors you engage in to feel nourished and strong. Save time and energy for these thoughts and behaviors that serve you well.

Step 3: Choose What to Clean Out

Identify the parts of your life that aren’t working so well for you that are within your control. Are there thoughts, fears that keep you up at night or seem to intrude on pleasant moments? Maybe you lie awake at night worrying about events from your past or fretting about possible troubles in your future. See if there is a common theme or core belief for these unhelpful thoughts. Are there habits that aren’t in line with your values? Maybe you find yourself too easily sucked into technology or social media in a way that takes you out of the present moment. Maybe you’ve always highly valued nature, creativity, or physical challenges but haven’t made time for these lately. Lovingly figure out one or two aspects of your life that you feel ready to change.

Step 4: Pruning & Letting Go

Give yourself permission to let go of these old habits of thinking and behaving. Your thoughts and actions do not define you and do not need to remain stagnant. It can often feel scary to change old patterns, even when we realize they do not serve us well. Afterall, the longer you’ve been in the same cycle of thinking or doing, the more familiar it has become, like worn out old slippers that form to the feet but have holes that let in the cold. Acknowledge that these old patterns no longer serve you, and it’s okay to make space for new ones.

Step 5: Creating New Growth

Sometimes the new growth for our lives is beneath the surface. We seek to feel rooted down and grounded. This may mean cutting back on obligations, saying no, setting new boundaries to allow you to focus on what really matters in the here and now. Steady yourself with a clear intention and helpful thoughts. For example, if you want to feel satisfied and content in your life as it is, you might focus on the thought “I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.” And allow your actions to be consistent with this message.

Sometimes the new growth means expanding our lives and reaching out. We seek to stretch and create new opportunities for ourselves. This may mean pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, trying new things, saying yes so that you can discover new aspects of yourself. Focus your energy on thoughts that help you feel energized and motivated, such as, “I’m capable and ready.” Borrow inspiration from others and create something authentic that suits you.

Set goals for yourself that are realistic, measurable, and above all important to you. Make certain to get support from others who care about your wellness and will encourage your personal journey. Celebrate your progress and troubleshoot when you struggle. And be kind to yourself as you work through the natural ups and downs of making personal change.

This spring give yourself the gift of a new beginning from the inside out. We are never finished growing and changing. Root yourself with intention and give yourself a healthy direction to grow. We all need pruning now and then to really flourish.

Written by Suzanne Smith, Ph.D. for the Lakefront Psychology Blog. If you are interested in more original articles about mental health, postpartum issues, wellness, relationships, and parenting, please subscribe to the blog using the button below. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Smith, please contact Lakefront Psychology at 216-870-9816.

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