Saturday, April 14, 2012

Is It Time To Spring Clean Your Life?

By Kim Olver

12 often neglected areas to assess to see if the old still serves you or you need something new!

In our fast-paced, throwaway society, it's easy to just throw something away because you've had it a while or you're just simply tired of it. When you spring clean your life, the question to ask yourself is whether or not each of these areas is serving you or if it's time for something new! Here are 12 areas to consider.

1. Finances: Review the financial aspects of your life. Are you where you want to be? Do you have habits that support or sabotage what you want? What are you already doing well? What would you like to do even better? What needs polishing, cleaning, laundering or fixing? What do you need to throw out to make room for the new? Will Money Ruin Your Relationship?

2. Relationships: Sometimes when we do a careful review of our relationships, we find ourselves connected to people who really don't nurture us, but instead drain us. Can you eliminate those people from your life or at least greatly diminish the amount of time you spend with them? Do you have the strong, healthy support network you want to help you be successful? Are you investing the kind of time in your relationships you want? Do you get a good return on your investment? What are you already doing well in your relationships? What, if anything, would you like to do even better? 

3. Your Knowledge Base: What are your learning goals for the year? Are you setting goals to learn about things that will help you in your life or are you trying to learn things that might be better handled by someone else operating in their expertise? What are your strengths in knowledge? Where are your gaps? What do you need to throw out to make room for the new?

4. Health: Good health is a stated priority for many, but often our behavior doesn't add up. Are you as healthy as you'd like to be? What habits do you have that are helping in the health department? What habits might need to be abandoned or changed in order to get the results you want? Health Help: What Does 'Eating Well' Really Mean?

5. Your Beliefs/Faith: Our beliefs about things really dictate the actions we take. Sometimes our beliefs serve us and sometimes they don't. It's time to look in your belief closet and determine which ones should stay, which ones can be packed up for the Good Will and which need to be thrown away. Keep the ones that help you, adjust the ones that need adjusting and toss out the ones that get in your way.

6. Service to Others: We are all put here on this Earth to be of service to others. How are you fulfilling your mission? Are you pleased with your level of service to others? What are you doing well? What would you like to improve? You may want to dust off some old behavior or create new ones. 

7. Service to Self: If you are excelling in your service to others, you may be neglecting you service to self or vice versa. In your spring cleaning, you are basically looking for balance. Should you focus on one area to the exclusion of others, you will have "messes" popping up all over the place. What are you doing well to take care of yourself? What new can you add to do it even better?

8. Thoughts: If you are alive, your brain is functioning and talking to you all day long. Sometimes our thoughts are healthy and help us, but many times, they are limiting what we are able to accomplish. Take the time to be mindful by bringing your thoughts to your conscious awareness. Stop sweeping them under the rug and throw away the garbage, while strengthening the thoughts that strengthen you.

9. Behaviors: Behaviors mainly refer to the activities in which we engage. Are there things you do that waste your precious time? Are there behaviors you have that sabotage the things you really want by doing what "feels good" in the moment? (This coming from me who just ate a piece of decadent chocolate cake!) It's time to spring clean your habits. Which ones help you? Keep those. Identify the ones that don't and replace them with something new and improved.

10. Your Stories/Perceptions: We make up stories all the time, mainly about other people and their motivations. We have no idea what's in other people's minds, but we regularly tell ourselves stories about it. We want closure or a complete picture so we fill in the blanks. We think people are mad at us, don't like us, think we're unattractive, etc. without any evidence to support it.

I say, "If you are going to make up stories, at least make up ones that help you feel better, instead of worse." Check the stories you tell yourself and see if you can replace the hurtful ones with kinder ones. Your mental life will be much cleaner if you do.

11. Your Values: Most of us developed our value system early through the process of acculturation that began the moment our parents brought us home from the hospital. The process continues in our educational and religious institutions and our exposure to our communities and the media. We don't even take the time to assess whether or not our values are serving us because they don't feel like choices — they often feel like unequivocal truth. Now is the time to closely examine those values you hold dear and ask yourself if they are really true or just an opinion.

If they are just an opinion, (and they are), then you can let go of the need to get everyone to see the "truth" in your values and simply let them be what they are...your opinion. This one effort at spring cleaning will reap huge rewards as you allow others to have their own junk in their junk drawer, just as you have junk in yours. They are treasures to each of you and you wouldn't think of censoring what someone else should or shouldn't have in their junk drawer.

12. Your Goals: Finally, I want you to spring clean your goals. Yes, that's right. Did you ever set a goal and stubbornly cling to accomplishing it, long after it lost its meaning to you? Sometimes situations change and certain goals no longer make sense in our present circumstances. Take the time to examine your goals to see which ones you want to keep, which need polishing and which can be packed up and let go.

Follow this spring cleaning procedures in these dozen areas and you will be lighter, more expansive and better focused to move through your summer, fall and winter seasons. Think of it as a tune up to get your life tweaked so you can be in balance and aligned with the things that are truly important in your life.

Is It Time To Spring Clean Your Life?


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