It’s Spring!

It’s Spring!

Today is the first day of spring! At the start of every season, I am excited to do all the things associated with that time of year. Spring is all about new growth, new beginnings, and fresh air.

My favorite thing about spring is hearing the birds chirp in the morning. I miss this sound and when I hear them for the first time, I get excited. This year, I had an extra surprise! A dove laid an egg in my planter. I am not sure why these birds picked my balcony because my dog sits out there all the time. However, I now get to watch this special event at close range.

Spring cleaning is the first thing that pops in my head when I think of this season. Since I love to clean and organize, I get excited to dive into that task. I love the feeling that everything is back in place and when I open a drawer it is neatly organized. However, you do not have to spring clean just because it is spring. Also, you do not have to do it all at once. I usually break it up over a week or two and just start with one room at a time and do a little each day until it is done. I also decide how I will reward myself, so I am motivated to finish.

That is the literal interpretation of “spring cleaning.” How about a different way of looking at this concept?

Our calendars, our lives, also become cluttered and dirty. This might be a good time to clean out all our commitments and get back to what is important to us. It may be time to start a new membership at the gym or decide to leave that book club or maybe join one. Basically, spring cleaning can be a nice time to reevaluate your time and clean up your calendar.

Spring is also a good time to set one new goal. Just one. Pick something small and doable. Maybe you want to start a new journal or run a certain distance. Achieve it and you will feel great!

Here is a list of 30 ideas to do in spring.

  1. Plan or design a garden.
  2. Plant seedlings.
  3. Put out bird feeders.
  4. Clean out your closet.
  5. Pack up winter clothes.
  6. Get your bike ready.
  7. Go for a bike ride.
  8. Have a tea party.
  9. Eat dinner outside.
  10. Fly a kite.
  11. Walk in the rain.
  12. Find a four-leaf clover.
  13. Notice the budding trees.
  14. Sleep with your window open.
  15. Plant flowers.
  16. Go for a hike.
  17. Spring clean your home.
  18. Put flowers on your table.
  19. Try a new recipe.
  20. Plant herbs.
  21. Declutter.
  22. Start a new book.
  23. Walk to the market.
  24. Clean your patio, balcony, or outdoor space.
  25. Have breakfast on your patio.
  26. Paint a room.
  27. Buy fresh pillows.
  28. Buy a hammock.
  29. Visit an art gallery.
  30. Write in your journal.

These last two ideas aren’t really spring related but I just needed a couple more to hit thirty! But you get the idea. Enjoy this season. Add to the list and share any other ideas you have for things to do in the spring!

 

Featured photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash.

How to Motivate Yourself

How to Motivate Yourself

I recently returned from a relaxing vacation. It was so nice to wake up each day and have someone else do the cooking, cleaning, and planning for the day. That’s why it is called a vacation. We get to rest from our daily responsibilities and just enjoy someone else taking care of us.

For the past week, I have had a hard time motivating myself to get back into my work routine. I feel like my feet are dragging behind me and my heart is just not in it. (I am also out of my non-dairy creamer for my coffee!)

So, I had to ask myself, “Why am I not motivated?” I love what I do. I am excited about the products I am working on right now. Many doors are open so what is wrong with me?

This took me to my desk where I pulled out my paper and marker. (I love writing with color!) I wrote at the top, “What Motivates Me?” And of course, here comes the list of things that motive me to get up in the morning and approach the day with excitement.

  • Give yourself a deadline. The week before my trip was a super productive week. I had a limited amount of time to get an enormous to-do list finished. There was no room for excuses. I just had to get it done before leaving on my trip. So, guess what?! I just did it. I couldn’t talk myself into procrastinating or telling myself I didn’t feel like doing something. I just had to get it done and so I did. The motivating factor here is that I had a deadline that could not be moved.
  • Eat your frog. This phrase comes from the book called, Eat That Frog, written by Brian Tracy. Here is a link to a blog post explaining the concept in more detail: Blog: Eat Your Frog  Basically, this means to do the thing that you really don’t want to do, first. Get it over with! Do it first so the rest of your day will be more productive.
  • Make a plan. When I am overwhelmed with what I need to get done, I make a plan or a list (you know by now that I LOVE a list!) Taking all the to-do’s out of my head and putting them onto paper helps me to move through the tasks with a clear mind. I often use this weekly planning sheet that you can print from my freebies section: Weekly Planning Sheet After one week, I am back on track!
  • Stop overthinking. When I am unmotivated, there are usually emotions involved. I start thinking too much and talking myself into or out of doing what I need to do. Fear sets in. Blah, blah, blah. Just yesterday I was journaling about going to the gym, that I hadn’t been in a few weeks, that I really needed to get back in my routine, etc. As I was complaining about going to the gym, I just got up and went. It felt so good to just do it and stop thinking about it.
  • Reward the victories. It is important that we associate our victories with a positive response. Sometimes we get the response from external sources such as getting positive reviews for a creative work or receiving an award for something. Other times our victories go unnoticed, so we need to reward ourselves. We may step on the scale and finally see the number we want, or we finished that project from last year around the house. Before beginning a task that you are dreading, decide up front how you will reward yourself for your accomplishment.
  • Search out the why. An important part of goal setting is knowing “why” you want to reach this goal. The “why” is what keeps us striving for this goal even when it feels difficult. Write it out and keep this visible. It will remind you and motivate you to keep going.
  • How will you feel when “it” is done? When I do not feel like going to the gym, (ie: it is cold and rainy outside), I remind myself of how I feel when I am leaving the gym. I feel strong and proud of myself. When you are facing a task or project and you just don’t have the juice to get started, ask yourself, “How will I feel when it is done?”
  • Take your first step. A Harvard psychologist, Jerome Bruner, said, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.” So often, people wait to begin something until they “feel” like doing it. I was one of those people. I thought my emotions needed to line up for me to be ready. I was wrong. Now, I take a baby step and suddenly, my feelings rise to the challenge!

Motivation is a tricky thing! It is all about feelings. When we take our feelings out of the equation and just begin, we allow ourselves the space to accomplish great things. Nike had it right! “Just do it!!”

I hope you are motivated or at least found one tip to help you move forward. If you have found something to add to this list, please, please, please share it with us!

Featured photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash.

Our Beliefs Have Power

Our Beliefs Have Power

I used to love to read, The Little Engine That Could to my boys when they were small. I wanted them to grow up knowing they could do anything they set their minds to do. Even when all the odds are against us, if we believe we can make a difference, we usually can. We have to believe in ourselves when no one else does.

Just like values, beliefs also motivate our behavior. When we have a behavior we want to change, it is important to figure out what is the belief behind that behavior. Once we change the belief, the behavior will automatically change too. For example, when a person with stress finds comfort in food, they believe the food will make them feel better. But they could change this belief about food, and replace it with, “Food will not make me feel better, but taking a walk will help.”

So the next time you recognize a behavior you want to change, ask yourself what is the belief behind this action?

Featured photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash.

What Do You Value?

What Do You Value?

Our values or the things that are important to us, are what define us. Values are what guide the choices we make in our life. They may dictate our morals and keep us in line to our own personal standards. With so much power over us, it is important that we are aware of which values we hold in the highest regard.

The most successful relationships are those that have shared values. If two people both value family, for example, and there is a choice between going to a movie or going to a family event, then both will want to go to the family event. Values are the underlying motivation for what we do and how we spend our time. So when two people share the same values, they will get along better and have more in common.

Barrett Values Centre has a test you can take to find out what you value and how they impact your life. There is so much information on this website. You may find out things about yourself that will help determine what goals you want to set for the new year.

So can you see the value of finding out your values?

Featured photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash.