Article by Carey Hauri.
As the cold gives way to the warmth of Spring we get the urge to open our doors and windows and sweep out the cobwebs and clutter of Winter. Life coach Carey Hauri invites us to do the same with our lives.
In our busy, demanding daily lives, there is often little time left for rest, reflection and refreshment. The result? We feel tired, drained, stressed and anxious. Our spiritual, physical and mental health may also begin to suffer. Giving our lives a spring clean can help us get some perspective on our lives, evaluate what is happening, and help us to de-clutter, simplify and re-focus our lives for greater enjoyment and effectiveness in living God’s purposes. A first step to giving our lives a spring clean is to take time for solitude, which means taking a break from the business of daily living and spending it in quietness so that we can rest, reflect, evaluate, refuel and refocus. Times of solitude or personal retreat can be among the most radical, vital and life-changing moments of our lives. The ideal would be to take three days/two nights and to get away somewhere alone. If that isn’t possible, aim to take at least a one day retreat. Make sure you are away from phone, TV, e-mail and responsibilities, and switch your mobile to silent and put it somewhere you can’t see it! If possible, go somewhere where you can enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
Start your spring clean with a good sleep! Sleep-in or have that much-needed nap. Slow down. Release all burdens and responsibilities by writing down your most pressing tasks and responsibilities on a “dump sheet”. Pray through the list and commit it to God. Put the list away, out of sight and mind for the remainder of the retreat. Enjoy some recreation. Read a novel, ride a bike, take a walk, play some golf, draw, paint, play your guitar, write.
Reflect and Evaluate
Asking God to give you insight, honestly review the past few months and reflect on the different areas of your life (personal spiritual life, relationships, church/community, work/career, finances, personal/professional development, health and fitness), your roles and goals, your life purpose and vision, your weekly schedule and commitments,. Write down your thoughts, conclusions and questions in a journal. Ask yourself:
- How am I doing in my relationship with God? What am I learning about God?
- How am I doing in my personal life? (Spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally.) What am I learning about myself?
- How am I doing in my relationship with others? (Family, friends, co-workers, church, community, neighbours.) What am I learning about relationships?
- How am I using my gifts, skills and abilities to make a difference in people’s lives, in the world?
- How am I doing in my work? (Review your position description, work roles and goals.)
Take time to feed your mind, heart and spirit, and to respond to God. Read or listen to large chunks of Scripture. Listen to a music CD. Sit or walk and soak in God’s creation, climb a hill, walk along the beach, look at the stars – ponder the Creator. Study resources that stretch your thinking regarding key areas of your life (marriage, family life, leadership, vision, purpose). Meditate on some of the key promises of God.
Talk with God about the different areas of your life asking him to show you his best for each area and the next step forward. Take time to listen and hear from God. Review your life purpose and vision, roles and goals, weekly schedule and commitments.
Ten questions to help focus your life for the rest of your life!
Prayerfully consider the following questions to help you clarify priorities and issues in your life:
- What is my single greatest strength and how do I maximise it?
- What are the three things I can’t decide on, or are overwhelming me at the moment?
- What is the single thing that if I could just solve that, all else would flow?
- What are the three goals/problems I would like to achieve/solve before I die?
- What should I resign or drop out of? (Effectiveness is not doing things right but doing the right things.)
- What can I postpone?
- What things on my “to do” list/in my job description can someone else do 80% as well? (If 10% you should keep doing it. If with a little help 80%, then hand over those things to others.)
- What is the “elephant” in my schedule? (If you were Noah and the Ark is about to sink, you wouldn’t look for a few mice or dogs to throw overboard, you would look for elephants!)
- What are the three things that I could do in the next 90 days that would make 50% difference?
- In whom should I be investing my life?
As a result of your spring clean and personal retreat, what have you been specifically challenged to:
- Start doing?
- Stop doing?
- Change or do differently?
The final step of your spring clean is to now follow through on these specific challenges and put them into action!
Carey Hauri is a certified professional life coach specialising in life purpose, life direction and lifestyle balance coaching and workshops. For more information on how you can be your best and live life to the full, visit careyhauri.com.