The first day of Spring is probably one of my favourite days of the entire year.  I love that we can finally start shedding our thick, woolen jerseys, switching them out for floWwy dresses and lighter shirts.

I have such fond memories of 1 September, particularly at school when the misbehaved of the lot (ahem), brought water guns to school and decided that break time was the perfect opportunity to have some fun with them.

Now that I’m older (it’s ridiculous to know that I’m 6 years out of school!) Spring Day represents rather different things to me. I see it similarly to New Year’s Day – it’s the only dedicated day of the entire year, at least in South Africa, that signifies a change of season (with Autumn or Winter we kind of just wait for an appropriate time to start putting blankets into our bed and switching on heaters without nominating a specific day to do it).

Spring Day represents, in many ways, new beginnings. I think there’s a sense of newness in the air, where I reflect upon the past year and think of all the changes I can make to end the year off on a bang. It’s a little like Spring cleaning, but for my mind and my goals. Here are 3 things I reflect on, particularly in the month of September.

It’s not too late to set and achieve goals

Your New Year’s resolutions may be on some dusty piece of paper that you’ve completely forgotten about, but it’s never too late to make them happen. Although, I hate calling them resolutions because it just reminds me of something that’s never going to get done, but setting goals is key. For me, setting small, realistic, monthly goals makes more sense and feels a lot more achievable than trying to plan an entire year’s worth of resolutions. Month to month, short term goals also forces you to keep them realistic and actually stick to them: you won’t set a goal to have rock hard abs in one month if you’re overweight, but you could maybe have a goal to take a walk every day before breakfast for the month. It also gives you a sense of trial and error – maybe you find out that you actually hate walking as exercise, but you’ve tried and achieved that goal, and you can always switch it up the month after.

What have I done this year that has worked?

This will differ for every person, and will be different in every different area of your life. For instance, I have made an effort to try out different recipes at home instead of the usual, and that’s definitely worked. Or, I’ve decided to integrate tutorials into SnapChat (because YouTube still scares me) and that has been successful too. You may not have set it as a resolution or a goal, but if it’s something that you’ve been doing for a while and it has proven to be successful, it’s worth noting down and thinking about how you can improve on it.

What can I change?

This can go hand in hand with setting and focusing on goals, but it’s good to acknowledge what you can change. It goes back to Spring cleaning your mind, but also your body and your habits. It’s pointless saying, for instance, if you’re a smoker: “I’m going to quit smoking” or if you’re like me “I’m going to cut out sugar products”, it’s probably not going to work. I made the biggest mistake thinking I can start eating healthier overnight. I enjoy healthy food and I love healthy meals, but I cannot, for the life of me, quit cakes and chocolate. I just can’t; however I can cut down slowly, and that’s key. So now while I still eat loads of cakes and chocolate, I keep, for instance, avocado in my fridge so when I’m feeling peckish I can go for that sooner than a box of Oreos.

It’s a process, and it’s important to be mindful of that.

Spring cleaning your mind will obviously include different things, like maybe kicking a bad habit that consumes you. One of my worst habits is excessively scrolling through Social Media feeds of people who I don’t particularly like or even follow. It’s so mind boggling why I do it and even as I typed it I thought maybe I shouldn’t say that, it sounds so pathetic. Nevertheless, it’s something I do and if you’re really honest with yourself it’s probably something you do too. A simple change that I have done is to firstly keep very busy, and secondly, turn on notifications (on Instagram and Twitter) of people I do genuinely like and care about. That way, instead of mindlessly scrolling through my feed, I quickly check their post that popped up as a notification, give it a like and move on with my life. It’s actually ridiculous how much this has made me feel better as a person, because annoying posts don’t bother because I don’t come across them, and also I’ve become kinder because I don’t immediately send rant messages to my sisters or friends about how annoyed I am (don’t pretend like you can’t identify. I see you).

There are a million ways to clean out your mind and integrate good habits into your life, you just have to start off small.

Happy Spring Day! I hope it’s filled with millions of flowers.