As the dark and cold months of winter finally come to an end, and the days get warmer and lighter, we enter spring, a season of rebirth and renewal. We feel alive again as we emerge from our long hibernation, and our newsfeeds are filled with articles and tips on “spring cleaning”, that elusive term that once meant literally cleaning your home in preparation for the new season. Now, however, the term “spring cleaning” can apply to many more aspects of our lives. Spring is a time of rebirth, to shake off the old and usher in the new, but these changes don’t have to be drastic. Rather, you can implement small changes here and there that really add up. In the spirit of the fresh beginning that spring brings us, here are my top three tips to freshen up your day-to-day routine:
Spring Clean Your Home
Spring is a time when the earth comes alive again and you can see it: from flowers popping up, to the buds on the trees, to the sun staying out longer. This has re-inspired me to implement small practices in my everyday life that take care of this beautiful world I can see being reborn. One of the most important changes I’ve made is by using as many reusable products as I can. Instead of purchasing paper towels and napkins that I throw away after one use (and probably end up in a landfill), I use flour-sack cloths and cloth napkins. Instead of using disposable plastic baggies to take snacks to work, I found reusable zipper-top bags that are stronger, leak-proof, and much better for the environment. I also make sure to keep a stash of reusable grocery bags in my car for last-minute runs to the pharmacy or the grocery store. Many companies such as Lululemon and Athleta pack purchases in reusable grocery bags so it’s easy to acquire a sizable stash.
The best part? Many of these practices can have a positive impact on your wallet. Think about how much a roll of paper towels, a stack of napkins, a box of plastic baggies costs? Why would you keep shelling out money to continue buying these products when there are alternatives that work just as well and last much longer? Not only will you be giving a little love to Mother Earth as she enters a new season, but you can help accomplish some of your financial goals by saving a little here and there.
Spring Clean Your Day
I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a procrastinator. I love making to-do lists and mapping out my day each month, week, and each evening, but if there are some tasks that intimidate me…I’ll avoid them for quite a while. These tasks then have to be moved to the next list, and the next list, and the next list, and so on. They clog up my list and prevent me from moving on, and who doesn’t want to move on and see what’s next? Not only do these tasks physically weigh down my to-do list, but they weigh on my mind, as well. For a few months now, I’ve been avoiding logging into the stock account my parents set up for me when I was born so I can finally have online access and start to take control of my finances. Why? Because adulting is hard and I have no idea what to do with stocks. So, I’ve let it sit there on my monthly and weekly plans, and it’s in the back of my mind, nagging at me and bothering me, distracting me from what comes next. And what good is that?
So in the spirit of a new season (and finally admitting that I’ve been totally avoiding this), I’ve made it an actual goal to call the stock company, get my own access, and start taking control of my assets. Hold me accountable, will you? If you have some project that you’ve been avoiding for the past few months (or years – we won’t judge), set aside an evening or a weekend and just get it done. Seriously, you will feel so much better and so accomplished once you finally check that item off your to-do list. For example, I avoided making an eye doctor appointment for quite some time because I had been going to the same eye doctor at home since I was 9, and it’s hard to put your trust in a new doctor who hasn’t known you for almost 14 years. After a little peer motivation from some friends at work, I finally sat down, made an eye appointment, and got my yearly exam. Now that I have my prescription, I can finally get the tortoiseshell glasses from Warby Parker I’ve been eyeing (see what I did there?) for months. By avoiding tasks, we prevent ourselves from moving on to new places and ideas, so in the spirit of renewal, cross a few of those avoided projects off your to-do list and get ready for what’s next in your life.
Spring Clean Your Goals
Finally, use the new season and the inspiration that comes with warmer days to reassess your goals or even set new ones! At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to put a certain amount of money each month into my savings account to have an “emergency fund.” Now that it’s been a few months since I set this goal, I’ve started to take a look at my spending habits — personal, groceries, etc. — to see where I can make small changes here and there so I can actually set aside this money each month. I made another goal to do one activity each week that gets me out and exploring my new city, so I’ve taken a look back on the past few months and where I’m spending my evenings and weekends to see what else I can be doing to get out of my comfort zone. Are you on track to achieving your goal? Great! Keep going! Have you fallen a little off track? The year is only a few months old, so use the fresh start of spring to re-set your goals and make the small (or even big) changes you need to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. Break your goals into concrete tasks, don’t avoid them, implement these tasks into your monthly/weekly/daily routines, and get ready to feel accomplished.