Spring cleaning can be more than just chores.
March is here and with it is the promise of Spring. Spring can be one of the most productive times of the year as we melt away from the homogeneity of winter and into a time of possibility and renewed excitement for getting out into the world and getting things done. You may have plans to organize your closet or clear out the garage as a spring cleaning ritual, but have you given thought to cleaning up some of the habits that no longer serve you?
Spring is the perfect time to sow the seeds of what we wish to grow. We are able to be more rooted in our progress when we clear out self sabotaging habits and replace them with more positive, growth-oriented ones that bring us more into alignment with the best version of ourselves. This article will provide some strategies so you can approach the concept of ‘personal spring cleaning’ in a simple, effective way that will declutter old programming to make way for the updated version of you.
Work on removing old habits this March.
This March try to remove one smaller, unproductive habit per week or a more destructive habit for the entire month and assess the difference you feel after removing the habit for some period of time. Some examples could be trying to not use electronic devices 1 hour before bed, not being sedentary during your lunch break or omitting processed foods or added sugars from your diet.
Breaking old habits is tricky business, especially if we approach it from a rigid framework that leaves no room for error. The first thing to acknowledge as we decide to make significant changes is our humanity -- we are not perfect and there will most likely be mishaps along the way. Rather than let this prevent us from trying or being unkind to ourselves, it is vital to allow yourself some grace when pursuing your personal development.
Psychology Today provides some tangible advice for approaching the removal of unproductive habits with 10 straight-forward steps to simplify the process:
Define the concrete behavior you want to change or develop.
Identify the triggers.
Deal with the triggers.
Develop a substitute plan.
Change the larger pattern.
Support and reward yourself.
Be persistent and patient.
Consider getting professional help.
Essentially we want to look at the problem behavior and clearly identify it, think of a substitute behavior and implement the newer, more constructive behavior pattern in place of the one we are trying to remove.
Replace old, self-sabotaging habits with growth-oriented new ones.
Anyone that has made a New Year’s resolution that never quite panned out knows that a goal without strategy never materializes. When looking to remove bad habits, it is good planning to have productive habits to replace them with. As you go through your weekly or monthly habits you’ll be removing this March, think of what you would like to replace them with.
In the example of not being sedentary during a lunch break mentioned earlier, you could substitute sitting in front of the computer with going for a walk. If you are looking to remove added sugars from the diet, think of healthier options to address cravings for sweets. Life Hack and HuffPost have excellent articles that expand on this subject in more detail and provide more tips on how to successfully change your habits.
We hope this article has inspired you to think more about the ways you can optimize your behavior and live in a way that is more aligned with your best self this March and beyond.