Six Steps to Harness Spring and Make 2016 Count

Spring is a time of recreation and awakening. As Mother Nature stirs from her winter slumber, new life surrounds us and offers an invitation to attune with the energy of the earth and reactivate the parts of ourselves that have been in hibernation.

Spring is a time of recreation and awakening. As Mother Nature stirs from her winter slumber, new life surrounds us and offers an invitation to attune with the energy of the earth and reactivate the parts of ourselves that have been in hibernation.

Although we may have pushed on through the winter at work and in our family lives in order to keep up with the constant pace of our modern day lifestyles, our inner wisdom will have whispered to us to rest, retreat and re-energise.

As the first shoots of spring start to emerge, we are reminded that, no matter how depleted, down trodden or dead the challenges of life may make us feel, there is always the hope of a new beginning ahead - a chance to bloom.

It is time to step out of winter, come alive and make 2016 count!

1. Get creative. Stop giving yourself a hard time if you have been feeling dissatisfied that you haven't made the progress yet that you had hoped with your ambitions for the year ahead. Various forms of artistic expression can help you let go of negative thinking and give yourself permission to release any feelings of resentment you may have been holding towards yourself. Experiment with drawing a picture, writing a poem or dancing to some music in a way that expresses how you have been feeling. Creative exploration helps connect you with your inner self and can stimulate a powerful clearing effect for our mind and emotions.

2. Cut away the dead wood. If you have been investing time or energy in people, places and projects that have a draining effect on your energy, now is the time to let them go from your life. There is a saying that people come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime. If you feel drained and unfulfilled from a relationship in your life, examine whether it has passed its expiry date or whether there is something more you are being challenged to explore, change and learn from. Similarly, if you are spending time in an environment or working on a project that is depleting your energy then, address how you can change this.

3. Clear your clutter. Physical clutter in your environment prevents the free flow of your mind. After de-cluttering, many people find renewed enthusiasm to make the most of their space. Clearing your clutter begins by making a commitment to yourself to simply get started. Begin by clearing a small, manageable space, like your sock drawer or a shelf in your kitchen. The simple act of cleaning just one shelf of one cupboard in your home can serve as a powerful metaphor for sorting out other areas of your life. Allow one small area to act as a catalyst for much bigger change.

4. Allow spring to inspire you. Use the beauty of the trees and flowers around you to uplift and inspire you. Various studies suggest a correlation between time spent in nature and a positive mental state. Nature has a restorative effect on our psychological wellbeing. Increase the amount of time you spend outdoors and 'bring spring in' to your home and office space by buying some spring flowers or potted plants.

5. Set a positive intention for 2016. What one thing would you most like to be, do, create or have in your life during the year ahead? Choose a goal that makes your heart sing and would feel truly meaningful for you to bring to fruition rather than something that really belongs to someone else and is something you feel you 'should' achieve. Decide today to deliberately take your next steps towards creating the tomorrow you truly desire to experience. Mountains are moved by taking lots of small steps.

6. Create a powerful morning ritual to help you consciously choose how to create your day rather than reacting to it. Rituals can be found at the very foundations of every ancient culture, yet their significance today is often overlooked. Human beings naturally gravitate toward rituals; for example: the way we comb or brush our hair, the route we take to work, the things we do when we take a chance on something, or how we prepare for a big competition, presentation or meeting.

When we switch off our autopilot and perform a routine with intention and purpose, we transform our habits into sources of inspiration and bring about measurable, impactful results. The results of a recent sports psychology study* indicated clear performance benefits of pre-performance rituals, including improved attention and increased emotional stability and confidence.

In my book Burnout to Brilliance: Strategies for Sustainable Success I suggest how a morning ritual can set the tone not just for the day ahead or for your productivity, but for your life. I recommend combining a mixture of physical, mental, and heart-centered activities to engage and awaken your overall energy.

* Source: 'Developing Effective Pre-performance Routines in Golf', Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Volume 22, Issue 1, 2010, Stewart T Cotterill, Ross Sanders, Dave Collins.

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