There’s something about the arrival of sunny days and warmer weather that brings hope – especially in the northeast where snow is still lingering around the edges of our yards. The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, and people are smiling. The changing weather has me feeling a bit like I’m coming out of a winter hibernation. During the dark cold days of winter, it’s easy to snuggle into a routine that might be less than productive, a routine that says I’ll stay good and cozy right here until spring comes.Guess what friends? Spring officially arrives this week!

As I started pulling out my lighter clothes and doing a bit of spring cleaning, I realized I needed to clean out the cobwebs of my motivation in some areas of my life. In doing so, I stumbled upon these three phrases that will cloud our thoughts, rob our progress, and steal happiness that was intended for today.

3 phrases that will keep you stuck:

When / then

When / then thinking says happier days are just down the road or around the corner. We tell ourselves when spring comes, when you get a promotion, when you find your dream house, when you pay off your student loans, when your kids are a little bit older… then life will be easier, you’ll be happier, you’ll save for retirement, you’ll be less stressed. Then, you’ll enjoy life. When / then thinking is a trap because life is a journey. If we get stuck waiting for a future “condition” to be met before we allow ourselves to experience all that life has, or do the things we really want to do, we’re robbing today of it’s potential. Get rid of “when” and stop procrastinating life. Find ways to enjoy where you are each step of the way.

What if

What if thinking says you might fail, people might judge you or laugh. Uncertainty says what if you write a blog and no one reads it? Or if you try something new and no one likes it? Doubt sets in. Fear says stop right where you are, don’t go a step further. Inaction feels easier… truthfully safer than the risk of a misstep because what if it doesn’t go perfectly? But what ‘what if’ doesn’t tell you is that even if you make a mistake, you’ll learn. What if doesn’t remind us that we all make mistakes and grow from them. And, what if this is exactly what you need to do to make a difference of find your purpose? Trade ‘what if’ for ‘why not!’ Stretch, grow, learn and repeat. You will stand taller and go farther on the journey by participating in life.

I can’t 

I can’t lose weight or I can’t forgive them. Fill in the blank for your I can’t… This phrase weaves its way into our lives with a condemning stop sign. We can’t. It’s not going to happen. It’s not possible. But, the problem with can’t is it often really means we won’t. We can’t lose weight because we won’t follow the eating and exercising plan we know we should. We can’t forgive someone of the wrong they did because we won’t take the time to really understand forgiveness and how holding on to the anger makes us bitter and does nothing to the person who hurt us. When we say I can’t it’s often because we need to develop the discipline we need to overcome the hurdle in front of us. Whatever ‘it’ is, is most likely possible, but first we need to recognize the trap and then change our choices to support our success.

It’s your turn

Have you ever gotten stuck by these thought traps? I’m hoping I’m not the only one that has found one or more of these a slippery slope into passing on pursing a goal, or making progress. I was recently convicted a bit by the ‘can’t’ trap on an area I haven’t made progress this past winter. But, it’s time to spring clean our thinking and look ahead. I’m working on establishing a few new goals so that I can make steady progress in the weeks ahead.

What about you, are one of these phrases keeping you stuck? What do you need to take care of with a bit of spring cleaning – thoughts, habits, or your actual closets? Click to comment and let me know. I’d love to hear from you! Be sure to click to share if you were encouraged so that you can encourage others.

Until next time friends, be blessed!

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