Spring finally arrived in Michigan, wahoo! It always feels like a long winter to me, but with snow in late-April this year, winter felt extra long. The feel of the sun on your skin after cold and gloomy days is so welcome. Things feel new and exciting in the spring. You’re ready for a change.
My husband enjoys being outside, and he often walks the property in the winter months. But once the weather gets above 50 degrees, it’s like letting a new puppy out of their crate. He’s rushing outside to play in the yard, tackle a project or just enjoy the fresh air. He no longer feels stuck and embraces the change!
Spring, A Time for Change?
Spring is an excellent time of year to clean house – including your financial house – and to create. Create to-do-lists of home projects, create flower and vegetable gardens, create plans for summer vacations, and so much more.
For many of us, spring also seems to be a time to reflect on the ill-fated decisions of winter.
You might find yourself cursing your summer wardrobe for shrinking over the last season. Or growling at credit card debt because you still haven’t paid-off what was spent during the holiday season.
But what’s done is done. Now it’s time to get serious and do something positive for your health and finances instead of beating yourself up. But don’t go and make yourself empty promises though!
If you’ve been inactive the last 4-6 months (or years), you aren’t going to start running six days a week starting tomorrow. You’ll need to ease into it, so you don’t get hurt, burned out, and frustrated.
Creating a habit of exercise takes a bit of time and persistence. But being active daily is one of the best practices to have and well worth the effort. For not only what it does for your physical health but also your mental health too.
Of course, those summer clothes didn’t shrink on their own. Nor did your lack of activity probably cause their tight fit. Most likely your diet the last few months (or years) is also part of the cause. And it will take time to fix too.
Drastically cutting calories and swearing off alcohol for a month isn’t going to bring you lasting results. And it sure isn’t the best lifelong diet for you. So don’t fall for the latest fad diet promising 10lbs of weight loss in two weeks. Instead, learn a bit about nutrition and make healthy food choices.
Knowing what to do isn’t enough though. You gotta wanna.
Do You Wanna?
Just as we know we should exercise and eat a healthy diet, we also know we should probably avoid debt and save for our future. But until we want to pay off credit card debt for good, or max out our 401k and Roth IRA, we won’t make plans to do so.
So how do you go from knowing what’s sensible, to wanting to do it too?
Just like everything else, it’s personal. We think differently, learn differently, and we’re motivated differently. And we all might have a different reason for why we want to do things.
It’s helpful to start with identifying your own reason for making a change you believe is important to you. And then creating a plan that is doable.
Some of us might be motivated by the benefits of exercise and plump retirement accounts. Others find motivation by considering the detriments of a high-fat, highly processed food diet. Or no emergency fund, lots of debt, and a sudden job loss.
So you figure out what works best for you. If the transformation stories of others motivates you, read or watch health or financially related success stories.
Find Your Way
If you’re someone who’s driven to action instead, hearing about the downsides of being overweight and broke, there’s no shortage of statistics and reading material to help you too.
Or perhaps partnering with someone else for accountability is the right motivation for you.
Exercise and socializing together work for many people. While I do sometimes like to walk alone to think or listen to music or podcasts, I really enjoy walks with my husband or my mom too.
If you don’t know yet what style works best for you, try different methods and see what sticks. If the way you are doing things isn’t working, change it. Keep investigating and trying new things until you find something that works.
Did you try a running program last year and hate it? Try cycling or hiking this year instead. Or perhaps softball, volleyball, or yoga is more for you. Try a variety of activities until you find the things you like best.
Did you cut out all non-essential spending but really miss your once-a-month movie date night? Then find a way to work back into the budget the things you value.
Change requires both physical and emotional energy and determination, mostly at the beginning until you’ve established a new habit and routine. Once you are doing what you desire, maintain it on a regular basis until the new action becomes a habit.
If you’re someone who gets bored quickly, it’s important to keep things fresh by trying a new exercise routine, a unique style of cooking, or perhaps a new budgeting method.
What doesn’t work? Doing nothing.
I hope you find plenty of time to create and enjoy this new season. Finding time to change what’s needed, building healthy habits and improving your wellness.
Me? I’ve got a few home projects to tackle, some more decluttering and minimizing to do, business projects, and healthy activities to restart now that it’s warm enough for me outside.