At the first hint of spring I am inspired to drag my bike out of storage, wiggle into my biking shorts, grab a can of 3 in 1 oil and my tire pump, and tune the old girl up so I can enjoy a smooth and carefree ride around the city. Even if you no longer bike on a regular basis, you can probably remember the exhilaration and freedom you felt when the last of the snow melted and you could once again fly down the street on your "two-wheeler".
We ride our minds hard all year long and spring is a great time to give ourselves a mental tune up to clear the space to help make our year ahead smoother and more efficient. It's time to tighten our bolts and oil our chains! Follow the 5 easy tune up steps below to set yourself up for a sweet ride.
Your Spring Tune Up - in 5 Easy Steps!
1/ Clean your bike
A clean bike is a happier bike. Cleaning your bike will extend the life of all of its components. Similarly, a clean, uncluttered mind will give you the space you need to create and act on possibilities that may have been buried in the winter snowdrifts. Possibilities for your great life!
Start your spring tune-up by working through these mental clean-up questions:
(i) What thoughts could you let go of that have been dragging you down and holding you back?
(ii) How are you spending your time? Do you fill it with things you want to do - that nurture you physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, or with things you feel you "should" do?
(iii) What damaging habits could you kick that aren't working for you anymore?
(iv) What are you holding onto that is no longer serving you and would free up some mental space if you cleaned up? (E.g./ old emails from a work disagreement, old hurts from a long-ago personal disagreement, the pants you wore in high school that you think you might fit into again)
2/ Check your wheels and inflate your tires
Your wheels are your bike's foundation. Your wheel rims need to be intact and your tires in good shape and inflated to provide stability, smoothness and optimum function.
Think about your life foundation. The components that create a strong base on which to build your activity. The pieces you can count on. "What you know for sure" (As Oprah would say).
(i) Make a list of the physical parts of your life that provide foundational support (e.g./ your home, your city, your country)
(ii) Make a list of the people in your life that support you, that you can count on (sure, include your dog or cat as well!)
(iii) Make a list of your personal qualities that give you your personal foundation (e.g./ your sense of humor, your compassion)
Keep your list in front of you for the rest of the year - read it often. Your foundation creates a solid base even when confronted with all of the other constantly moving (and often stressful) parts of your life.
3/ Examine your drivetrain
As it sounds, the bike's drivetrain contains the components (the pedals, chain, etc) that work together to provide the driving force to move the bike.
What is driving you? Spring is a perfect time to revisit your annual life vision/strategic plan and goals. Getting clear on what you want will inspire you and give you the impetus to keep on ridin'. Oops! Haven't thought about that yet?
Here are a few questions to get you started:
(i) Dream forward to December 31, 2013 and visualize a picture of your life. What is in that picture? What is most important in that picture?
(ii)Hone in on your compelling "Why?" Why is that so important to you? (Hint: supercharge this step by connecting this "why" with your emotions)
(iii)What one thing, if changed or shifted in 2013 would make the biggest positive difference?
(iv)What 3 actions do you want to take to move towards achieving that change?
Want to go deeper? Click here to download your 5-page "Get moving, Get Changing Action Guide".
4/ Inspect your Brakes
Brakes are a critical component of a bike because they provide control over the speed at which you travel. A poor braking system can lead to loss of control.
It is important to identify the checks and balances and braking system you have for your life.
(i)What structures do you already have in place?
(ii)What areas of your life might benefit by creating more structure?
(iii)Do you set and maintain clear boundaries for your life?
(iv)What supports do you have to keep you on track?
5/ Oil and lubricate!
And of course, oiling and lubricating on a regular basis will keep your bike running smoothly, help it work more efficiently and improve performance. All too often in our fast-paced lives we forget about the importance of ongoing life maintenance. Gratitude, self-acknowledgment and celebration are the 3 in 1 oil lubricants to help make your life run smoothly and create a more joyous and fulfilled life.
(i)Gratitude: Developing a gratitude attitude is quite simply, good for your health. Gratitude expands, positivizes your focus and changes your thinking from scarcity to abundance. Spend a few minutes each day identifying and journaling what you are grateful for.
(ii) Self-acknowledgment: OK my high-achieving friends - this one is for you! When you are assessing your life, or actions, (even if you think it could have been better), be sure to acknowledge what was "right" about it. Acknowledge yourself for the good parts of what you did and only after doing that, move to thinking about what you will improve for the future.
(iii)Celebration: Again, my high-achieving friends - It is important to take the time to celebrate each one of your achievements, your actions and your victories (partial or complete). "Where thought goes, energy flows". Celebration creates ongoing turbo-power that'll keep your bike on the road.