Time for a good mental spring clean
Steps to Success:
Amidst the boxes and piles of sorting that I’ve been doing this past week, I came upon my son’s baby clothes, sealed in a plastic container. Dinky little baby-grows took me back the five years since I put them there. There was one particular tiny sweater, a favourite, long outgrown. When I held it up I noticed what looked like dust on its front. I shook it out and it disintegrated into thread confetti in my hands.
Somehow, a moth made it into the box, laid eggs and its invisible larvae ate up a perfectly good woolly jumper while waiting for me to open it up and let them out. It got me thinking … perhaps every five years is a bit too long to leave things unchecked and gathering dust.
As spring at last seems to have sprung, in true tradition this week I’m suggesting we do a bit of spring cleaning. And while it’s always a good idea to wipe out the cupboards before ant season, the refresh and dust down I’m proposing here is more of the mental kind.
Spring cleaning checklist
1. Goals the targets we are aiming for, our ultimate desired destinations and the interim stepping stones along the way to achieving them. As our lives change with time, age and circumstance, so do our priorities and so must our goals. We need to keep them up-to-date. Are your goals still relevant? Do they need to be tweaked? What is their urgency? For example, what changes have you made recently: been promoted, become a new parent, changed relationships, made any kind of life transition? Ask yourself, Is this still the best time for me to be (insert your goal here)? If so, where is it on my priority list and what am I doing towards it? If not, can I let that outdated goal go now to make room for new ones?
If you use the Wheel of Life goal-setting tool, take this opportunity to update how you are progressing and make any necessary refinements to better clarify your goals and strategy of achieving them.
2. We get more of what we focus on our subconscious brain filters information to support what our conscious mind is concerned with. We can choose to concentrate on the positive or negative of any situation and we will invariably see the evidence to support that choice. What are you focusing on? Ask yourself: What is the positive that I can focus on now? How can I bring my focus more in line with my goals and what I plan to achieve?
3. A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of asking the right questions to get a useful and informative response. The same applies to the internal questions we ask ourselves all the time. Self-questioning forms part of our basic thinking patterns, even if we are not aware of it.
What is going to be our internal response if we ask questions like: why can’t I find a job? What’s wrong with me? As opposed to: What action can I take today towards my goal? Our brain will come up with answers to all, but which are going to be useful and help us improve our situation?
4. Beliefs — not the religious kind but our views and opinions created during our formative years of how things are and why. While many might still serve us, it is possible that we are holding onto old beliefs that are hindering us from being our best, or even trying to be. These ‘limiting beliefs’ could range from: ‘I’m clumsy’ to ‘People are bad at heart’ and their effects on our lives can be widespread. It’s useful to stop and consider what we believe and what that’s doing for us. Now before you say, “but they’re true”, really ask yourself the following questions: Who says they’re true? Is this an opinion I still believe and put store by?
To finish off your spring clean, you could try this visualisation exercise by Maureen Murdock from her book ‘Spinning Inwards: Using Guided Imagery with Children’. In a relaxed state, imagine a large, beautiful house containing one room for each of our five senses, a seeing room, a hearing room etc. Visualise going into each room in turn, finding it filled with junk, representing old ways in which your senses have been functioning. Picture yourself cleaning each room until sparkling so now your senses function in a more aware manner. Finally, climb the spiral staircase to the attic room of extra-sensory perception. Clear out these cobwebs too and clean the dirty windows to look out on the incredible view with your new, heightened awareness. When you come back to the present, the idea is that those heightened senses remain with you.
Greater awareness of our thinking and behaviour patterns helps us to make better choices that will serve us. Streamlining our goals and focus increases our efficiency and effectiveness to pursue the successes we each most desire. Enjoy the sunshine and your spring success!
Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner. For further information telephone 705-7488 or visit www.juliapittcoaching.com
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