And just like that, it is Spring. The turning of the seasons is a reminder of the constant changes nature undergoes. The subtle scent of Jasmine lingers on the breeze and buds are blooming. The Winter woolies are (nearly) packed away and perhaps you can feel a renewed energy emerging for the months ahead.
As the weather warms and the ground greens you can tap into this new cycle of change and emergence. But first, sink into a place of reflection before bounding ahead with the building momentum. Now is perfect timing to consider how the year has unfolded so far, as well as to review existing goals and set new aspirations for the next twelve months.
Stop and take a few moments to reflect.
Has it been a good year so far? An average year? More challenging? Or perhaps one of the best years yet? Why do you think the year has panned out the way it has? What have been the highlights of your year to date?
For many of us, self-reflection doesn’t come naturally. Too busy with our day to day, we forget to regularly check in with ourselves. So while on the surface, the above questions might seem obvious, it sometimes takes a crisis before we stop and think about how we feel about life. “What have you learned from your past? What are your aspirations for the future?” These are questions a therapist or counsellor might ask you. But if we can carve out time to ask ourselves such questions once or twice a year, perhaps we will avoid the need for a therapist all together.
Dedicate some time to reflect on all components of your life. Which areas of your life are consuming the lion’s share of your time and energy and which areas would benefit from more attention and dedication? Consider all parts of the whole, including work, family, friends, your health and wellbeing (including your emotional and mental state) as well as whether you carve out enough time to simply have fun and relax.
Self reflection will often stir up emotions, which is why we so often try to avoid it. However, it is also a really effective way to be clear about what you are working towards, and why. So be kind to yourself through this process. Reach out for support in way of family, friends or counselling to truly work through any areas needing dedicated attention and commitment.
Don’t Fear Change
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” - John C. Maxwell
When we invite reflection into our lives, we also invite change. Change isn’t always welcome, in fact we do plenty to avoid it. And yet…change is constant and it is essential. Without it stagnancy and decay occurs. Author Zoe Bosco in her book ‘Change Your Life’ describes change as “an innate part of life that offers us the opportunity to transform and recreate ourselves over and over again.”
“It is the essence of life that inspires us to seek out new adventures, and experience different relationships and intimate connections”, writes Zoe. “It is what calls us to explore alternative career paths, search for new depths of purpose in life, and live through many iterations of self to learn, grow and evolve.”
A bit of self-reflection from time to time is a great opportunity to consider what needs to change in our life. Where have you made good and bad choices and what have you learnt along the way? From this refreshed perspective you can more easily look towards your future and set clear intentions and specific goals.
As the fern fronds unfurl, Spring is an ideal time to launch projects, start new ventures and work towards your aspirations. Consider your current goals. Are they still relevant? If so, are you on track to achieving them? Perhaps new priorities have made themselves known, or a new approach is needed to reach your goals if other methods aren’t working.
Commit to working on tangible goals that will improve your quality of life, things like looking after your health, spending more time with friends or paying off your car. Display your goals somewhere you will see them regularly – such as the fridge, your desk or dressing table. Break each goal down into smaller, more achievable goals. Add timeframes to keep you accountable and help to give you a clear idea of when you expect your goals to manifest. To get really specific, try using the SMART technique from this article
If you need further support setting financial goals try a budgeting tool such as Australian Mutual Bank’s budget planner to get more savvy with your savings. If you have some big changes happening in your life like retirement or just want to have a bigger picture idea of your future finances, consider taking advantage of the Financial Planning services available to Australian Mutual Bank members.
Try to keep a positive outlook as you work toward your goals. A ‘can-do’ attitude will assist you to stay on track and maintain motivation. Most importantly, be kind to yourself, enjoy the journey, and acknowledge the little wins along the way.
Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert, entrepreneur and mother of two young children. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.