Spring is a time of returning energy, lifting of spirits. It is the perfect time to reflect the positive renewal energy budding forth and rejuvenate yourself. Lose those extra pounds, cut out unnecessary drinking and smoking and develop more rewarding behaviors like deepening your relationships with your spouse, family, and friends.
Sure, January 1st is the conventional time for resolutions – but, as you and I both know, they usually don’t work. Why? Because in the dead of winter, surrounded by leafless trees and overcast skies our spirits tend to be at lowest ebb. We know exercise would be best to ward off these drab feelings, but even our desire to energize in that way is blocked by the crummy weather.
Ah, but now, as the world thaws, the sun-splashed daffodils dance in warm breezes, and the sound of nesting birds fill the air, all things begin to seem possible. Come on! Choose just one harmful behavior that you want to exchange for a wise response pattern. Your thoughts, emotions, and attitude all affect behaviors as well as things you say or do: Which would you like to change?
First we make our habits – then our habits make us.
Think about what you love about Spring: joy, happiness, power, spiritual renewal, love… Relax deeply, empty your mind of distractions, and focus intently on the emotional quality of this magical season. Take the time to really feel. Take a walk – check out the tulips; you will feel it!
Now, while you are feeling inspired, strong, and open to change behaviors, remember the negative behavior you have had in the past, be aware that it is not a permanent part of you, that you can live very well without it, and it is possible to remove it permanently. Now, in your mind, replace that harmful behavior with what you want.
Concentrate, picture it in your mind. Imagine the same inner feeling of joy, happiness, power, and love that Spring brings about each year. Reflect that joy, happiness, power and love linked to this new behavior. Your unconscious is very goal-oriented and this sets that goal and provides the emotional motivation.
Finally, visualize yourself taking the steps that will bring about these changes. If you want to change eating patterns, visualize yourself eating very slowly, with full mindfulness of each bite, deeply enjoying, and feeling satisfied with a small portion. Or you might imagine yourself proudly refusing that second drink or that cigarette, and focus your intention on something positive and life-affirming.
Practice this routine for 5 minutes twice a day and witness your own magical transformation.
Remember, as Mark Twain reminded us,
“Bad habits cannot just be thrown out the window
but gently coaxed down the stairs step by step and then out the door.”
Emmett Miller MD is a Nevada City/Los Altos psychotherapist and mind-body physician who has guided thousands to behavioral transformation.