Spring clean your life!

So stop! It is time to plug into something you choose — something that can recharge your batteries and refresh your interest in work and life.

by Eileen McDargh — 

There’s no reason why only the trees and flowers should sprout new growth this time of year. But how often do we feel more rotten and ripe than green and growing? Chances are you started the year with some fresh ideas, only to become caught in the same old rat race that defeats those feelings of newness and adventure.

So stop! It is time to plug into something you choose — something that can recharge your batteries and refresh your interest in work and life. Unlike the bobble-headed figures that nod “yes” at every touch, you can declare “time out” and place yourself first. Below are some tips to get started with your spring cleaning.

Cleaning Tip #1: Nurture your nature. Bulbs get to nestle in the soil before bursting forth with vigor. We’re no different. Create at least two days in which you concentrate on removing yourself from the computer, phone, newspaper, TV and anything that takes your attention away from yourself. The challenge: we think the world will end if we don’t respond immediately. It won’t. Let folks around you know that you are involved in a very serious project and will attend to their needs in two days. And remember, it is a serious project — it’s your life!

Have your spouse take care of the children, or if you are a single parent, look for someone who will trade off time. They help you, and you return the favor. If you can’t take two full days, at least try to carve out some time for hunkering down by yourself.

Now — with the warm blanket of time cushioning you — start thinking about what you would like to bring into your life this spring. Is it a new skill? A new or improved relationship? A remodel of your surroundings? A project that excites you? What will help you feel green and growing?

Cleaning Tip #2: Clean out your mental closet. To nurture our nature, we also have to discard all old notions and negative beliefs that keep us from springing forth. Write positive affirmations that counter such beliefs and post the statements in places where you will see them often. Don’t worry if you aren’t yet truly believing your statements. Action often precedes belief. Identify an activity you will discard that feels too tight and constraining. After all, you’re getting ready to grow, and you will need room to do so.

Cleaning Tip #3: Throw out what you no longer need. This is a physical tossing away — everything from clothes that make you feel dowdy, to projects you know you’ll never complete and books you’ll never read. How can you bring in something fresh if there’s no room?

Cleaning Tip #4: Find a great “housekeeper.” Once you know which new you is bursting forth this spring, find someone who will serve as your advocate and accountability partner. Ask them to help you keep your new house and budding garden in order. Ask them to let you know when you start cluttering your life again with emotional, mental or physical junk.

And now — spring forth. Regardless of whatever you might have wintered, inside you is, as Camus wrote, “an invincible spring.”


Since 1980, Eileen McDargh has helped Fortune 100 companies and individuals alike to create connections that count and conversations that matter. Her latest book is Gifts From the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities. www.eileenmcdargh.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 2, April/May 2008.

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