I love this time of year. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and after the annoying task of switching closets, I get to wear my fun summer clothes again. All of these things provide me with an energy that did not exist during the dark, cold months of winter. I feel hopeful and excited, so I set goals for myself because the chances of me achieving these goals are much better than if I set them as New Year’s resolutions in the depths of winter.
Spring is a time of rejuvenation and rebirth. It is a time to enjoy nature, reconnect to those with whom we have lost touch, and focus on self-improvement. Take a moment to think about what things have been bothering you about you. Did this winter lead to sadness or depression, which you seem unable to shake, even with the warmer weather? Are you finding it difficult to interact with others after staying inside all winter? Or are you frustrated with yourself for not eating right or exercising, even though you know these activities would help your physical and mental health? Regardless of what changes you want to make, use the energy that comes from this time of year to get you started. The first step can often be the most difficult, so make sure to focus on your efforts to help you along the way.
Another motivating factor is focusing on what you value in life. Because we don’t have total control over achieving goals because other people and circumstances can get in the way, when we focus on how we want to behave in life and what we stand for, reaching the goal becomes less important. For example, if we want to be healthy, we can choose to live our lives by exercising and eating right. However, if we focus on weight loss, we may lose motivation or get down on ourselves if we are unable to achieve that goal. Another example: if we do things with the goal of happiness, we may be disappointed because we can’t always be happy. However, if we focus on living a meaningful, valued life, we can take steps to be in the moment and choose actions based on what we stand for in life. When we do this, life feels purposeful, leading to a sense of fulfillment.
So how do you figure out what you value? Take a moment to imagine what your 80th birthday party would be like (from ACT Made Simple by Russ Harris). Imagine what you would want others to say about you, about how you lived your life. You might want them to say things like “He was a hard worker” or “She was compassionate.” Those are values. If they said things like “He had a good job and made lots of money” or “She was married and had three kids”, they would be referencing goals. Once you know what you value, use those values to chose what actions to take in your life. You will feel better knowing that you are living a life that is meaningful to you. Before spring ends and summer begins, let me know what values you want to commit to. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re looking for more support with building that meaningful life.
“Without the death of winter, there is no rebirth of spring.” -Laura Kaye