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(Marina Zlochin)
(Marina Zlochin)

How to spring clean your mind Add to ...

Spring is the perfect season to clear your mind of clutter. Get rid of those dusty to-do lists, forgotten goals, emotional baggage. Kick them all to the curb and begin anew. Here's how.

Assess your life

"This is a time of year when people tap into their emotions and take stock of where they are," says motivational speaker Steve Siebold, author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, from his winter home in Palm Beach, Fla. "You can set some new goals, but first, on a scale of one to seven - seven being best - ask yourself the big questions. Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Am I doing what I want to do? Am I having fun?"

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Don't play the blame game, if your score is low. "Forgive yourself and forgive other people you may be harbouring resentment toward," says Mr. Siebold. "Think of it as a letting-go process. It's clearing your mind for fresh new ideas."

Compartmentalize

Imagine your mind as a closet with limited space. How will you make room for all of the things that are important to you without becoming overwhelmed?

"You need to be able to put each thing into a containable, manageable box," says Mr. Siebold. "If you compartmentalize, that allows you to concentrate fully, because you're only focusing on the thing in front of you. It's really powerful."

Mr. Siebold uses an ABCD system to grade and prioritize tasks according to importance and urgency, so he can accomplish each of his goals. "I usually don't get past the As, but that's okay," he says, adding that he is ruthless about focus. "It's about breaking down a problem into small, simple steps. Solve it and remove it from the list. Or if it's a big problem, you work on it and move on," he says.

Dream bigger

In his mental-toughness workshops, Mr. Siebold asks attendees to write a letter to a friend dated five years in the future, recapping all of the accomplishments they hope to have achieved by then. People have to learn how to suspend their fears in order to dream big.

"People will say, 'But I don't know how to do these things, become these things, achieve these things,'" he says. "But the how-to part is actually the easiest. The dream process is more difficult, emotional. The how-to process is logic-based."

Beware those dreams that don't reflect your true priorities, warns Mr. Siebold, who recently discovered why his guitar skills haven't improved over decades of playing. "I just don't want to be good that badly," he laughs. "I'm making time to do the things that are really important to me. I have to stop setting the guitar as a goal."

Refocus energy

Persistent stress and worrying can make it nearly impossible to move into a brighter future. "People tell me, 'I'm afraid I'm going to lose my job.' Well, the only thing you can control is your performance," says Mr. Siebold. "You've got to focus all that energy into making yourself a more valuable employee."

When day-to-day worries threaten to overtake the big picture, Mr. Siebold recommends asking yourself a brutal question. "How many more springs do I have left? You know logically that you only have so many."



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