5 positive changes to make this spring

Hand holding a potted plant | Photo by Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Hand holding a potted plant | Photo by Thought Catalog via Unsplash

5 positive changes to make this spring

by Jeana Coleman and Genevieve Northup
Stripes Europe

The days are getting longer, the trees will soon burst with buds and birds will sing among them. Spring’s literal and figurative awakening from winter is a great time to reflect, renew and maybe even re-do. Why not be inspired as nature comes to life around you? Let spring be your season to make these five positive changes that can lead to a personal metamorphosis. 

1. Assess and make a concrete plan. 
An assessment of yourself, your personal and work relationships and your home environment can help you identify what you would like to change and why. Whatever it is, research shows that having a detailed plan with a positive purpose behind it is your best bet for success.

Richard Wiseman, psychologist and professor at the University of Hertfordshire, explains in “59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot” that in his research, those who successfully changed habits had four key behaviors in common: they created a concrete plan that was broken down into multiple, small goals, and they physically documented progress either in a journal, online, etc.; they shared their plan with friends and family; they visualized themselves actively working through the plan, and continually reminded themselves of the positive outcomes that would result; and they consistently rewarded themselves with each small achievement.

2. Start small. 
Set small weekly or monthly milestones to maintain focus, and don’t give up because you miss a checkpoint along the way. An all-or-nothing mentality can lead to failure. Struggles are a part of the process — if it were easy, the success rate would be much higher. When you are successful, reward yourself with something that won’t derail your progress (i.e. no shopping sprees if you’re reducing debt or cigarettes if you’re trying to quit).

3. Declutter and simplify
It’s time for spring cleaning. Don’t just dust out the cobwebs, however. Chaotic clutter has a way of creating procrastination, anxiety and impedes change. Therefore, organizing your house by cutting the clutter can give you both the mental and physical space you need to work through your plan of change. An organized kitchen filled with healthy foods will lead to fewer temptations, better snacking and smoother meal prep. And, cutting down on the time spent looking for things, putting things away or cleaning can also free up time to spend with family, exercising or journaling. “Use it or lose it” is an excellent motto when it comes to clearing things out. Haven’t used it in more than a year? It should be sold, donated or taken to the recycle center. Need ideas on where to unload your unneeded items? Check out local and on-base flea markets and thrift shops, as well as online yard-sale and classified sites.

4. Get more rest.
Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about when he stated “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” By the time he died at 84, Franklin, a true polymath, had amassed a great deal of knowledge, wealth and spiritual growth as an inventor, physicist, author, politician, diplomat, activist, postmaster and printer. His daily schedule, from “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin,” shows that he also prioritized his daily life. Work, sleep, social activities and a time for reflection were key activities of each day.

5. Live in the moment.
While thinking about the future and working toward change, it is also important to live in the moment. Allow yourself to relax and unwind by enjoying a home-cooked dinner or game night with friends. Find a creative outlet, such as photography, drawing or painting. Rekindle romance — write your spouse a love letter, plan a date, or draw him or her a bath. Plan day or weekend trips to explore Europe and spend quality time with your family. However, you also need time for yourself, so take a few minutes to reflect quietly on each day.

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