Do you do any spring cleaning? More often than not, after the winter darkness starts to dissipate and the sun starts shining, I head to my closet and start reviewing and refreshing my clothes.
I go through my winter things and I look for what I didn’t choose for this winter and why. Maybe it isn’t comfortable, or the color is all wrong, or I’ve had it for a few years and I’m just over it.
Then I bag things to donate. I put away my heavy sweaters and boots and I get out my light and airy summer dresses and sandals.
I inevitably empty out hangers and I fill some of them with new things, new colors, cuts, and fabrics. I love the feeling of walking into my closet and seeing the change. The new season shows up in there just as the season is coming alive outside.
This year my kids all got into the spirit of reviewing and refreshing. So each of them did their version in their closets and rooms.
My 12-year-old did a whole room refresh, not just a closet refresh. She said goodbye to some beloved stuffed animals that she was ready to let go of, some decorations she no longer liked, and clothes that don’t fit her quickly growing body because she grew two inches this year. She said hello to more space, to grown-up hangers, and refreshed organization solutions in her room.
Mentioning the hanger transition might seem strange to some of you but for me, taking all of her tween size clothes off of her little pink hangers that she has used since she was a baby was a milestone that both made me both nostalgic and relieved.
I felt like I was going to lose my mind if I had to watch one more shirt fall off the hanger onto the floor, creating a cascade of all the clothes around it doing the same thing because the hangers were way too micro for the clothes that were trying to cling to them.
But I was also a little sad thinking of hanging up her tiny little baby and toddler outfits on those same hangers for so many years.
Now she keeps saying it feels so good in there. And it does. I don’t even live in her room but just walking in there feels amazing to me.
There’s something about looking at a space that you spend a lot of time in and re-imagining it. Repurposing things, reorganizing things, adjusting things, moving things around, getting rid of what doesn’t fit or doesn’t serve anymore.
It re-energizes the space and the human who occupies it.
My daughter has a place for everything now. She’s not trying to shove things in or make space for this and that. She doesn’t have to wonder what to do with something and shove it in somewhere random because she doesn’t have an answer.
Putting away her laundry is so much easier for her now because she knows exactly where it goes and that there’s room for it there.
Finding beloved trinkets or locating a fun game or craft hidden under a pile of other things is simple because she narrowed it down to just what she loves and uses. She knows exactly where they live when she wants to access them.
Instead of having to spend energy and brainpower on deciding where to put something or figuring out where it’s supposed to fit, she can just do it and move on.
This may make it sound like her room was previously a cluttered den of chaos or that she is just a messy kid. But the truth is she tries and wants to be organized. She has drawers, tubs, baskets, and all sorts of systems available to keep things organized.
But over time, even those of us with the best intentions and systems find that stuff gets added. Kids and clothes grow, schedules and activities change, and unless we review and refresh, it piles up, gets messy, cluttered, or overfull, and becomes unmanageable.
Weight loss review and refresh
So now I want you to think about where you are on your weight loss journey. Whether you are just thinking about getting started or are somewhere in process, it is so important that we review where we are and refresh where necessary to move forward and keep creating success.
I did this recently with my lunches. I feel like this is a meal that can very easily slip into a pattern for me. I buy the same things every week at the store out of habit, eating the same foods for months (which isn’t necessarily a problem).
But what happens for me is that I start noticing that I’m wandering over to the pantry after lunch looking for something else.
My body and my brain are craving some variety and I’m trying to find it in the candy basket. Yes, I have one of those. But that is not where variety will be found.
So I review and refresh my lunch options. I’m not talking about anything crazy here. I’m not trying to completely overhaul everything and start becoming a gourmet chef who cooks all of my lunches from scratch. That is not the kind of change I’m talking about. Not a total overhaul, just a refresh.
So, I reviewed what I had been eating, kind of like I do with my closet in the spring.
- What have I been choosing and why?
- What do I notice I do not want to choose anymore?
- How could I refresh it?
I wanted some refreshed protein options, so I brought tuna and pickles wrapped in crispy lettuce back into my life, along with hard-boiled eggs, which I love but I haven’t been eating lately.
I brought back some oldies but goodies and some simple basics. I found some simple protein-packed lunch ideas on Pinterest, and I planned a few new things to try that might end up in the rotation if they are easy and tasty and fit the bill.
Another pattern I noticed that needed some refreshing was drinking something besides water. More often than not I was drinking Pepsi Zero.
Now I don’t have a problem with diet soda as a rule, but I’m not and don’t want to be an everyday, all-day diet soda drinker. I just know my body feels so much better when I drink mostly water.
Sometimes I want a beverage with some flavor, though. So for those occasions, I looked at ways I could refresh this pattern.
First, I found some cold-infusion herbal tea options. Next, I bought some fresh lemon, sparkling water, and some iced tea. After that, I recommitted to mostly water, sometimes something with some flavor, and an occasional Pepsi Zero.
Notice: I didn’t decide to ditch Pepsi Zero forever and never even look at anything but water for the rest of time. I know this is what most of you like to do. Right?
We notice something that isn’t serving us and we swear it off for good. But that is not necessary!
Doing something most of the time or occasionally serves me so much better than holding tight to black and white rules.
Examining patterns and reconnecting to our needs
Now these new food options are not making my life 100% amazing. That’s first, not possible, and second, not food’s job.
But reviewing and refreshing my lunch options gives me a chance to reconnect to what my body needs in this season. I am examining what I like, what is satisfying, and what else is out there.
Sometimes, just like our physical spaces, we get into patterns of doing what we’ve always done, putting things where we’ve always put them, even if it no longer makes sense or serves us. My daughter’s clothes and hangers are a perfect example.
We had always hung up certain things like dresses and jackets on hangers and put other things like sweatshirts and shirts in her dresser. When she was little, and the clothes were little, it made sense, and it worked best.
All of her tiny pants and shorts fit in one drawer. All the little sweatshirts folded easily and stacked together in the drawer. So we kept doing things that way.
But as she grew, the pants and shorts got bigger, and they didn’t fit into one drawer anymore. Likewise, the sweatshirts became bigger and bulkier and didn’t fold as nicely.
But we just kept shoving them in the drawers and hanging the too-big clothes on the too-small hangers because it’s what we had always done.
In our most recent review and refresh of her room, the solution was simple once we stopped, looked, and recognized.
Bigger hangers, more things hung instead of shoved into drawers. Pants and shorts separated. Storage added. Seasonal clothes put away for next year.
We didn’t knock down walls, expand the closet, or even get a new dresser. We didn’t completely overhaul or reinvent. We just reviewed and refreshed.
Where in your weight loss journey could reviewing and refreshing benefit you?
Where have you gotten into patterns that aren’t moving you forward?
Where are you stuck doing what you’ve always done, even if it isn’t really working anymore?
Patterns to examine
A few places I notice this happening for my clients are in their food and planning, their thinking and beliefs, and their goals and timelines.
For my clients who are actively trying to lose weight and notice the weight loss slowing or stopping, sometimes a review and refresh can get things jump started again.
I encourage them to look at what they are choosing and why, what is working and what’s not, and find places they can refresh to get things moving in a downward trend again.
That same thing can be said for planning. If you notice you are not planning or not following what you do plan, it might be time to review and refresh the process.
If you’re not planning, why not?
Find ways to refresh the planning process by perhaps starting with planning just one meal a day or shifting the planning to the morning when your brain is looking ahead with new, hopeful eyes instead of back with regret?
Why isn’t it working? How could you make it work in a new way?
Review and refresh your thoughts
The first place to start in reviewing and refreshing a particular area? Look at what you’re thinking about it.
Part of what’s not working could be your attitude, your opinion, or your perception. Then start making some small changes to what you’re doing.
Review your beliefs about your capability. Do they need a refresh?
What about your thoughts about weight loss and your body? Do they need a refresh?
What about your goal? Review it. First of all, is it still what you want? Second, does it reflect what you value? Is it realistic?
What about your timeline? Is that realistic?
The truth about goals and timelines
For many of us, we think making the goal bigger is better and may motivate us even more—but the opposite is true.
Likewise, we think that crunching the timeline shorter and shorter will push us to do more faster, but the opposite is true there too.
I love the book Finish by Jon Acuff. In it, he proposes some of my favorite goal tactics, like cutting your goal in half or making your timeline longer.
Pretty counterintuitive advice, right?
We typically overestimate what we can accomplish in a set period of time. So when we fail to meet our unrealistic expectations, we feel discouraged.
As a result, a lot of us end up quitting.
But when we cut our goal in half or give ourselves more time than we think we need to get there, we feel encouraged to keep going.
An example from the book is if you set out to lose 10 pounds in a month, and you lost only eight, that two pounds would mean you failed and would give most of us incentive to quit, right?
However, if you cut your goal in half, to five pounds in a month, and you lost eight, or you doubled your timeline to two months and you lost eight in the first month, think how much more likely you would be to keep going.
The author did a study of the participants in his 30 Days of Hustle program. On day nine, he asked them to cut their goals in half. Then he studied what happened as a result.
Here’s what he found:
“Those who cut their goal in half increase their performance from past similar goal-related challenges on average by over 63%. Not only that, 90% of the people who cut their goal in half said they had an increased desire to work on their goal.
It encouraged them to keep going, and it motivated them to work harder because the goal seemed attainable.”
How could you refresh your goal and or your timeline to keep going?
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it, your future self and your health goals are inevitable if you just keep going.
So review and refresh where it’s helpful and keep going, my friends.
If you want to learn more from me about how to lose weight for the last time, watch my free video about how to lose the first five pounds — and keep going.