Spring is a time of growth, renewal, and new life. It is the season of new beginnings.

This time of year, we feel more open to inviting change into our lives. It’s a time for purging the past, opening up, and making plans for the future.

So, are you bogged down in your past? It easily happens.

Ask yourself if any of these feelings are bothering you:

  • Regret about things left undone, opportunities not taken
  • Guilt for mistakes and bad choices you’ve made
  • Resentment over bad things that have happened to you
  • Sadness or anger over being hurt or badly treated
  • Disappointment about things that didn’t turn out well
  • Remorse for hurting someone else

What can you do if your past has you bogged down? Fight back!

The Past Does Not Define You

Your past does not define you or your future. Make amends, if necessary, and move on. You can’t change the past, but you can change the way you react to it. You’re wiser now.

In this season of new beginnings, realize that you have the power to change. For example:

  • You can succeed in business even if you’ve failed before.
  • You can be healthy even if you’ve not taken care of your health before.
  • You can have a happy relationship even if a previous relationship failed.
  • You can find your dream job even if you were fired from your last job.
  • You can complete your education even if you’ve dropped out.
  • You can learn to trust even if you’ve been betrayed.
  • You can be a survivor rather than a victim.

But how do you begin getting past the past?

Cultivating Optimism

Pessimistic people tend to believe that the reasons bad things happen are permanent. Optimists see them as temporary.

Pessimists catastrophize: “I’ll never learn a foreign language” or “I’ll always be the one left out.” Optimists keep problems in perspective: “I’m not going to learn French in this class” or “I need to find a better group of friends.”

Positive psychology links better physical and mental health and improved resistance to depression to optimism. And it sees optimism as a quality you can build by recognizing and challenging pessimistic thoughts.

There’s no better time than the season of new beginnings to spring-clean your thoughts, habits, mood, and life!

Time for Renewal

Use the season of new beginnings to clear out the old, to rejuvenate, to reorganize, to try a new focus, to renew your commitments, and to set goals for the future.

Purge the Old

Spring is a great time to get rid of things that no longer work for you. Clear the clutter—not only your closet and cupboards but every part of your life.

Declutter:

  • Your environment. There are dozens of great resources on clearing and reorganizing your living space. Find one that works for you and begin.
  • Your relationships. Are there old arguments you can put to rest, old hurt feelings to be resolved? Take steps to settle these so you can get on with your life.
  • Your thinking. What old belief patterns no longer work for you? What habits interfere with your goals? Choose one habit to break or build. Give yourself rewards as you improve.

Reorganize

Once your home or office environment is cleared of clutter, reorganize to make things run smoothly. Add storage and update your filing system. Hang new pictures to inspire you.

Reorganize your life as well as your surroundings. Build a new exercise routine. Change the way you go about your work. Look for easier, better ways to get your chores out of the way.

Renew Your Commitments

The season of new beginnings is the perfect time to renew your commitments. Recommit to be on time, to follow through on promises, to stop procrastinating. And don’t forget to renew your commitments to yourself: to exercise, to eat healthy food, to keep a better work-life balance.

Rejuvenate Yourself

Give yourself the gift of time to renew. Take a break. Manage a three-day weekend away with a friend or relative. Have a spa day. Treat yourself to a massage.

Learn Something New

Keep growing and stretching yourself by learning something new. Bring about positive change by learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby. Pick an area of your life that needs work and educate yourself. Focus on improving.

If your marriage has too much conflict, learn better communication and conflict resolution skills. If managing money is a challenge for you, take a class or read a book or find a mentor to help you get better at it.

Set Goals for the Season

Incorporate the changes you want to make in your life by setting goals. What do you want to have accomplished by summer time? Make your goals reasonable and realistic. Use the time-honored SMART acronym. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

What tasks do you need to accomplish to meet your goals? Write them down. Map them. Make a plan.

Getting Out of the Bog

In the season of new beginnings, there’s no point in being bogged down in the past.

Cultivate optimism. Take time for renewal by purging the old, reorganizing, renewing your commitments, rejuvenating, learning something new, and setting goals.

Learn to leave the past in the past!