How are you doing? It’s been lovely in London recently. The sun’s been shining. The parks are exploding into a sea of colour. There’s nothing quite like spring to inject a bit of verve and excitement into the day. And what better than a tenuous pun to encourage us to take action and move forward rather than to procrastinate? Yes, it’s time to Spring into Action (imagine a rousing cheer, lots of hand clapping and mandatory high-fiving all around).
Now the applause and self-congratulatory high-fiving has subsided, what am I going on about? Well, put simply, if you do nothing, if you stay in the same old rut, nothing will change. Your dream will remain just that – a dream. The things you feel are miles away from you being able to achieve them will continue to be the same distance away from you.
Okay, saying that nothing will change might not necessarily be true – you might stagnate, you might feel trapped, you might feel more and more helpless and unable to bring about change. It doesn’t have to be like that though. Even if you don’t feel able to make huge sweeping changes, you probably could challenge yourself to make a small change.
If you make a small change, or set yourself a small challenge, you might find that it turned out to be really easy. Even if it was difficult, completing your change will deliver not only the change itself, but also a sense of accomplishment. It might even encourage you to make further, bigger changes. And with each small step, you’re moving closer and closer to your goal. Or it’s setting you up to be able to better set and attain your goals. Even if it doesn’t, what have you lost? You’ve traded a period of time not doing something for a period of time attempting to move forward. And that sounds pretty good to me.
And as I’m feeling the joys of spring, I thought I’d put together a list of five things you could be doing to improving your life during the spring period:
Lay off the booze
Not the most popular activity, and many of us might have already done this during January. But you can’t escape the fact that research shows that abstaining for even just 30 days can improve sleep, boost memory, help you shed weight, trim cholesterol and cut recovery time after workouts. You might also notice a healthier bank balance. Also, after a break, people often to drink more responsibly when they gently climb back off that wagon.
Again, more research here. It’s been demonstrated that outdoor exercise is more effective than training indoors. If you’re a runner, solid ground instead of a treadmill can increase your workload up to ten percent. The wind resistance faced by cyclists dramatically increases the energy required to keep moving forward when compared to a cycling session in the gym. Research also shows that being outside improves your attitude toward working out.
Who doesn’t love a good vent? But by moaning, you’re regularly telling yourself how awful things are. They might not even be that bad, but constantly focusing on the negative will having you feeling that the world is against you. Challenge yourself to go a day, maybe two, at a time without moaning.
Spring clean… digitally
Give your trusty e-friend a rest. That’s right, try going for periods without your phone in your hand. Imagine that it’s 1985 and your phone is nailed to the wall. You used it to call people and when you were finished, you went about your business without it. Get out of the house and leave your phone at home. You’ll be amazed at what you might notice. You’ll have conversations. You’ll see things around you you’ve never noticed before. Daniel Sieberg, the author of the Digital Diet says, ‘The more distracted you are, the more disconnected you are – from your own experience and from the people around you.’ So give it a rest and re-absorb yourself in real life.
Get a habit – take action
I’m not suggesting one of those habits that used to feature heavily in the dying days of Brookside. I’m talking about getting to grips with a new, exciting, stimulating habit. Forming new habits tend to be a lot easier than ditching old ingrained habits. So if you’ve been struggling with something you ‘don’t want’, try distracting yourself with something you ‘do want’. Move towards rather than move away.
Commit to it You’ll do way better if you commit to a day and a time rather than saying you’ll do something at ‘some point’. Make a schedule and tick off the occasions where you successfully did what you said you were going to do. Once you see your score of successes growing, you’ll feel good about your new behaviour. Even if you hit the odd hurdle here and there, by keeping a schedule running, you might be able to work out patterns as to what inhibits your success.
Be accountable If you need an extra layer of accountability, why not share your schedule with a friend? This gives you a soft obligation to commit.
Pay for it And if you need that extra motivation, why not pay for that support and encouragement? There’s nothing quite as motivating as potentially wasting a heap of cash. For example, enrol on a paid course, get a personal trainer, make use of a coach or mentor.
So, enjoy the start of spring and let me know what new activities you’re going to get into over the next few months. As always, if you’d like to discuss this, or anything related to setting yourself goals, get in touch.