Spring Cleaning

Spring is such a refreshing time- we are filled with the hope and promise of the seasons ahead. The flowers blossom, our spirits lift. This is a great time to make a fresh start, to de-clutter your life, to get back to the simple pleasures.

1. Go outside and enjoy the beauty of spring. Not while you are in a rush to get your tasks done- just for the pleasure of looking at the shapes and colors, or smelling the freshness of new grass or the ocean. No agenda, not with your mind racing along filling up your to-do list. The point of this task is to empty your mind of everything but the present. Just trust that all the important things on your to-do list will still be there when you are finished, only you will have more energy and be more creative in the execution of that list.

2. Call an old friend that you have been meaning to catch up with. Schedule it into you day planner if you have to, but do it! Allow yourself lots of time so you can really get caught up.

3. Go through your closets and throw out anything that you haven't worn in the past year (unless you really love it- then only throw it out if it has been two years). Buy yourself a piece of clothing in a bright new color.

4. Do one thing that you have been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to yet- go to the art gallery, see a play or go to the opera. Choose a Saturday this month and plan this- invite your favourite person to join you.

5. Learn something new- take a class, read a book, try a new sport or craft. Learning new things keeps us youthful and vibrant and makes us more interesting- and interested.

6. Do something positive for your community- sign up for a charitable run (as a volunteer or participant), help with a community clean-up, attend a fund-raiser. Find a way to get involved and give back.

7. Refresh (or create) your fitness & diet plan. Can you do more exercise outdoors now that winter is ending? Can you eat more fresh fruit and vegetables? Do you want to join a running club or yoga class? Are you really drinking enough water?

8. Update your look- a new hairstyle, different hair color, fresh lipstick or nail polish shade? Change things up a little- it will help you see yourself and the world from a slightly different perspective, and you never know what ideas and opportunities await you.

9. Meet new people. Join a book club, get out and network, throw a dinner party and ask your friends to invite friends that you have never met before. Developing and nurturing a strong social network helps manage stress and increases levels of happiness and well-being.

10. Review your goals for the year and TAKE ACTION NOW on the one that matters to you most. Get a coach, make a plan, enlist the help of friends and family, and just get it done. Once you start moving forward, it will be easier than you think and you will wonder why you didn't start sooner!

Choose at least 3 of these suggestions and make a commitment to take action on them now. After you have decided what you are going to do, plan and schedule when you are going to do it, and make sure that you let at least one other person in on your plan- someone who has permission to give you a little nudge if you get off track. Good luck with your fresh start!

Dr. Gayla Swihart DeHart, from Vancouver, Canada, is a Professional Coach with a Ph.D. in Psychology. She helps busy professionals manage stress, improve goal-setting and follow-through, develop emotional intelligence, and increase life and work satisfaction. More information on Dr. DeHart and her services can be found at http://www.AchieveExcellence.ca

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