When most of us think of spring cleaning, we envision going through old clothes and knick knacks. Personally, I imagine emptying my pantry of old baking ingredients and pulling boxes of junk from my closet depths.
Spring cleaning can apply to many different parts of our homes – and many different parts of our lives.
To me, spring cleaning is like coming out of winter hibernation. Over the cold season, we’ve stocked up on stale crackers and plain cans of soup. We’ve nestled into our cozy homes – but let them become so cluttered with things we don’t need in the process. They’re no longer benefiting us as much as they should.
It’s time to step out into the fresh air and sunshine. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to figure out what’s working for us…and what’s not.
While I think there’s a world of benefit to literally cleaning out your home and closets this time of year, I’m taking a slightly different approach.
Today I’m talking about spring cleaning your health goals.
Think about it: we’re almost a quarter of the way through the year. While January is a popular time to make healthy resolutions, now is the time to recommit.
And spring cleaning your health goals is really simple. All you have to do is identify what’s not working for you – and then throw it out!
All too often, we get stuck in a vicious cycle. It may be yoyo-dieting, starting and stopping the gym, or feeling motivated one day and uninspired the next.
Keep reading to go over fitness, nutrition, mental wellness, and adulting goals and to learn how to spring clean each of these!
Spring Cleaning Your Health Goals
1. Spring Clean Your Workout Routine
Whether you made a healthy resolution or not, how has your workout routine been going so far this year? Have you been exercising regularly? Have you been seeing the results you want?
Let’s go down a list of some common workout routine problems to “spring clean.”
a) You’re not consistent
It’s nothing new. To be healthy and fit, you need to exercise regularly. None of your favorite celebrities or fitness Instagramers got in shape by exercising only twice a week.
It’s time to take a long, hard look at how committed you are to your health goals. And from there, use every tip and trick to recommit every single day and get your body moving.
I’d argue that motivation is your problem here. Even if you’re short on time, if you’re ultra-motivated then you will find a way.
It’s time to get rid of what’s not working. Here are two posts that may help you do just that.
Lacking Motivation? 8 Sure-Fire Ways to Stay Motivated to Work Out
Short on Time? How to Fit Workouts Around a Busy Work Schedule
b) Exercise is a chore
If this is how you’re feeling, you need a change. Your routine shouldn’t feel like a chore – it should be something you’re excited about.
“Yeah, yeah, Cedar. I’ve heard this before. But I don’t think I’ll ever really like exercise.”
Trust me, there IS something out there for you. Our bodies are built for moving and rewarding us when we do so. Ever hear of endorphins??
You may just need to try something else or tweak the circumstances.
Idea #1: Try a YouTube Zumba class! Who doesn’t love to dance? And this way, you don’t even have to worry about anyone else watching you because you can do it at home!
Idea #2: Walking is an excellent way to get into a regular fitness routine. Working out isn’t all or nothing – you don’t have to be panting as you lurch forward on a treadmill in order to call it exercise. Listen to a podcast or an audio book as you walk and watch the time race by!
c) You’re still not seeing any change
Have you been exercising consistently, only to see no change at all?
I feel you, girl – that’s so frustrating!
But instead of feeling totally dejected, let’s simply eliminate what’s not working instead. Because there’s a reason.
Seeing no change comes down to not doing the right things – the right exercises, the right amount of days, using the right amount of weight/sets/reps, incorrect form/muscle engagement, and/or unoptimized nutritional habits – but I’ll get to nutrition next.
I can’t tell you which of these are at fault for your lacking results, but you can probably identify at least one area to work on.
If you’re unsure that your squat form is on point, study up and practice in a mirror. If planks tire your arms but not so much your abs, work on engaging your core muscles more. And if you’ve been using the same set of dumbbells for months now, it’s probably time to increase the weight and decrease the reps.
Think about one or two of these that may apply to you and work on them in the coming months!
RELATED POST: Not Losing Weight? Here’s Why!
2. Spring Clean Your Nutrition
As I said, nutrition is next! There are many reasons to reset nutrition habits regularly.
Personally, I find I go through ebs and flows – one week I’m all about the health kick and the next I’m suffering from what my boyfriend calls, “NEED CHOCOLATE NOW.”
As females, we know a big contributing factor. But that makes it even more important to revamp our healthy eating on a regular basis.
a) Your sweet tooth is anything but sweet
Got some diabolical cravings? It’s time to spring clean that eating habit.
Focus on adding instead of subtracting. For example, instead of thinking, “I need to stop eating a whole chocolate bar every night,” try, “I’m going to eat a sweet piece of fruit in the evening and then see what my cravings tell me.”
When you focus on adding something healthy in, even a healthy dessert alternative, you may find less hunger or cravings for something unhealthy after.
b) You can’t stop overeating
Portions are everything. While eating a healthy diet is a great thing, overeating even nutrient-dense foods can still lead to discomfort and unnecessary weight gain.
It’s time to get rid of this habit!
First of all, read my post on How to Feel Better and Move On After Overeating for some healthy and constructive first steps.
Second, tune in to your body. Our bodies tell us when they are full – though we often don’t listen. Eat slowly each meal and stop when you’re comfortably full. Don’t feel like you need to finish your food!
And start looking at package labels of the foods you commonly eat, taking note of what constitutes 1 serving. Then stick to 1 serving only.
c) You’re not fueling properly
If you’re feeling tired and drained – and you’ve been sleeping enough and are hydrated – consider if your eating habits are to blame.
It’s time to clear out the unhealthy, unbeneficial foods, and replace them with nutrient- and energy-dense ones.
And as mentioned earlier, improper fueling can definitely be a reason you see no physical changes. Just as portion control is important for weight loss, enough fuel and protein are important for muscle gain.
Have questions about protein? Read this post on protein powder – which addresses common protein questions as well.
3. Spring Clean Your Mental Health
Probably the most important thing to spring clean is our mental wellness. If your attitude towards fitness and nutrition – and, well, life in general – is dejected and discouraged, then you’re doomed no matter what.
It’s the epitome of a vicious cycle.
But there are tried-and-true techniques you can use to boost your mental wellness and your inspiration, even if the problem originates from one of these causes:
a) You’re feeling down about your failures
Sometimes when you’re ambitious, it hurts to miss your goals.
For example, in the evenings I used to enjoy writing myself a schedule for the next day since I usually work from home now. But if I overslept on a certain day (ya girl likes her snooze button), then my entire schedule would immediately be ruined.
On days when that happened, I instantly felt like my productivity went down the drain. It would mess with my mentality for the entire day!
Think I still have that habit? Nope! I got rid of it!
Now if I want to make myself a schedule, I do so after waking. I still aim for a certain time to get up, but if I snooze too much I no longer feel like a complete failure.
We have to set ourselves up for success.
And we need to give ourselves a little more grace – with our fitness routines, our healthy eating goals, and just in our daily activities.
Clean out the negative self-talk!
b) You’re just so mean to yourself
If you find the problem extends beyond feeling blue about your failed healthy habits, then maybe you’re just being downright mean to yourself.
Remember: If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, then you definitely shouldn’t say it to yourself!
This is where positive self-talk and positive affirmations come in. Telling yourself that you’re trying your best, you’re going to have a good day, and you are a strong, capable person are way nicer things to say to yourself.
Out with the insults, and in with the kindness!
c) You’re feeling uninspired
The good news is there are tons of ways to get reinspired nowadays!
Surround yourself not only by positive, inspiring people, but also by various other uplifting influences.
Listen to girl boss podcasts, read a book about reaching your goals, or watch YouTube videos by go-getter women.
Whatever it is you want to achieve, there’s a source of inspiration for it. Don’t settle for day-to-day monotony. Go for your goals!
RELATED POST: Top YouTube Channels for Health and Wellness
4. Spring Clean Your Adult Responsibilities
Health and adulting go hand-in-hand. Hating your job, living paycheck-to-paycheck, letting your car maintenance slide – all of these can affect your happiness and your health.
Do any of these unhappy situations apply to you?
a) Your job is unfulfilling/stagnant or you hate it
Anyone who’s followed my journey for a while knows I have more than a few words to say on this subject. But today I’ll be brief.
Life’s too short to hate what you do every day or to feel stuck in any way. Make a plan and get out. It doesn’t have to be immediately, but having a plan in motion can make all the difference in the world.
Tomorrow, March 15th 2020, will mark a year of my leaving my full-time job – and I’m so happy I did. Please don’t settle for a position you don’t love.
b) Your finances are a wreck
It’s time to get on it. It’s spring and our eyes are open to our flailing goals!
If this one applies to you, it’s time to make a new plan. Whatever budget you’ve been following hasn’t worked for a reason. Figure out why and correct it!
Finances are a big part of our adulting responsibilities, as you probably painfully know. While it’s way easier said than done to stop stressing about it, having a new budget or cutting an unnecessary expense can make all the difference.
c) You’re over-committed
I mean, what’s less healthy than stressing over your 1,392,734 commitments?
Take your time back by saying no to things that don’t make you happy, and yes only to the things that do. And make sure to leave some time free for self-care as well! Even our passions can be draining – we need to have a little time built in to step back and take a break as well.
RELATED POST: When to Say No to Avoid Overextending Yourself
d) Your home is a source of stress and not of joy
Managing home chores is another adult responsibility that makes us all wish we could move back in with the ‘rents. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, tidying, decluttering, maintaining a stocked fridge and pantry – it’s a lot!
While it’ll take a little time, focus your spring cleaning efforts on making your home work for you. Your home should make it easy to find the things you need and really only hold things that are truly necessary or bring you joy.
Do I sound like Marie Kondo yet?
Those chores will never go away completely, but I find that little habits – like putting my dishes away right after using them – can take the edge off my chore list.
What’s one health goal you need to spring clean? For me, it’s all about my nutrition right now. I’ve been struggling to put on muscle, so I’m trying a new approach! Share the change you plan to make below!