With a change of season upon us, now’s a great time for a spot of spring cleaning.
But instead of focussing on the external environment, let’s start with ourselves.
By tidying up mental habits and self-talk on the inside, we can make life a lot more happy and ordered on the outside too.
Here are 7 simple but powerful ways to spring clean your mind.
1. Raise Your Offense Threshold
You can free up a lot of energy by choosing not to get offended by things people do or say.
Most of the time, people don’t mean to be rude – they simply choose the wrong words, or are distracted, or are having a bad day.
And on the rare occasion that someone does intend to be mean, then that comes from their own pain, not you. Happy people aren’t nasty!
You’ll save yourself a good deal of energy and distress by choosing not to take offense.
That’s more energy for achieving your goals.
2. Go On A Complaining Diet
This one is challenging, but well worth the effort.
Unhappy about the way things are? Then do something to fix it, or ask for what you want – but don’t complain.
Your friends having an ain’t-it-awful party? Then change the subject, or offer a different perspective – but don’t join in.
Take the energy you would normally sink into complaining and take action instead.
You’re more likely to get what you want, to feel empowered, and to be more fun to be around.
3. Tell Everyone – Including Yourself – That You’re Organized
If you’re always telling everyone how chaotic your life is, it’s time to try singing a different song.
Pretend you’re organized. Tell yourself you’re organized. If in doubt, ask yourself what an organized person would do. You’ll know the answer!
When you tell yourself how disorganized your life is, you give yourself a narrow range of options for handling your life.
Instead, add the (for now, possibly fake) idea that you’re actually pretty organized, and you’ll get to pick from a wider range of choices.
If you’re going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy, might as well choose one that works for you.
4. Install a Worry Switch
If you’re a worrier, then you’ll love this.
The thing about worry is that it sucks you into an endless loop. You can’t solve the problem with worry, but you also can’t stop worrying without a solution. So you stay stuck in pointless rumination.
As long as you’re engaging with unproductive thoughts, there’s no way out. You have to short-circuit the conversation.
One cool trick is to picture a worry switch in your mind. When you find yourself repeatedly re-hashing old worries, simply the flick the switch to the off position.
It sounds simple, but because it avoids words it can be extremely effective. Try it!
5. Only Splurge If It’s Really Worth It
This goes for time, calories, money – everything.
Only go all out for things that really matter to you. Say a gentle but firm no to everything else.
Don’t buy things you don’t need or love. Don’t overeat desserts you could take or leave. Don’t commit to time-consuming projects you aren’t passionate about.
Put your time, money, energy, and life where it matters to you.
6. Give Everything An Extra 10%
Let the change of season be a signal to raise your game.
Give an extra 10% to your work, your family, your exercise program, your decluttering project – everything you do!
You will not collapse from exhaustion or shatter into little pieces.
If you adopt the preceding five strategies, then you’re sure to gain a lot more energy and motivation.
And chances are that giving a little more across your life will free up even more reserves.
You’ll see what you’re capable of, and it will spur you even further.
7. Do Something You Enjoy Every Day
If you aren’t already doing something that makes you happy each day, then add that to your agenda right now.
It could be a crossword puzzle with your morning coffee (a favourite of mine), a fun playlist to listen to on the way home, a bubble bath or glass of wine at the end of the day, time to read in bed before sleep.
Choose something that refreshes you, or just makes you happier, and do it every day.
A happy, relaxed you will be a better partner, parent, and friend, and a more productive worker – so don’t begrudge yourself this one.
What’s On Your ‘Spring Clean Your Mind’ List?
Decide which of these seven strategies you want to implement, and get ready for a new season.
Let’s start clearing those cobwebs!
Note: A version of this article originally appeared in Get Organized Newsletter.