Seasonal Reset: Scale Back and Simplify

You know the feeling; it happens every year. As the days are longer, the weather warmer, the notion of growth and a brand-new season can motivate us to get things done. In its truest sense it really does feel like coming out of a deep hibernation with a desire to throw open the windows, get outside and tackle much more than we feel like we have in the winter months. Mentally and emotionally the spring season really does represent the opportunity for getting more done and trying new and exciting things. All things considered, the old saying “Make hay while the sun shines” is more than accurate and appropriate this time of year.

So, what is this about scale back and simplify, right when you feel like doing more? It simply means that consistency and quality are key. Part of the beauty of increased motivation to do more, is that we can restructure and rework many aspects of our lives, so they work better. This does not however mean that more is better in terms of quality decision making and effects.

Our psychological baselines play an important role in decision-making (“Prospect theory” is one example of this). If you just made a lot of money at a casino (spring is here), your mental baseline may not yet have caught up to having that extra money (motivation and energy). Hence, you view that money as above and beyond what’s normal, so you are more willing to gamble it than you would be if you came back to the casino tomorrow (quality energy and expectations). A way to reduce this bias is to adjust our baseline to match reality faster. We can do this by scaling back and simplifying our emotional, mental and physical needs to a new baseline and then maintaining it with consistency.

Baseline: Create an Empowering Routine

What is your best time of day, are you a morning person, or a night owl? We know ourselves best and this means that when you are at your psychological and behavioural peak you can get more of quality done. However you incorporate it into your day, pick one mental, physical and emotional component that you want to focus on consistently every day. The key here is that the one thing for each component is challenging and engaging enough that it keeps us motivated to do it but is also kept at a scaled back and simplified amount so we do not fall into the pitfall of thinking we can do it all or biting off more than we can chew. Thus, becoming overwhelmed and exhausted and then not following through or getting things done. It can be anything but create your consistent routine to always have it in your day: an hour outside, quality family time, reading a new book, calling a loved one, starting a new hobby, making a meal for yourself, etc.

Motivation/Energy: Work for a reward

With all of that renewed energy and ability to get more done, our human brain is still wired for rewarding ourselves. This means if you incorporate consistent simplified components into your day that you are working hard at, you are much more inclined to continue doing them if you build in rewards for yourself. This means building in something you want to do outside of the normal routine that you can plan for and look forward to. Big or small, the idea that you have that treat planned and it is novel to your day-to-day routine means your brain has a consistent mental reminder you can tap into and utilize. It can be a way you reset and reenergize yourself midweek, or a way to re-motivate and regulate yourself when you mentally and emotionally feel low and unmotivated. It also has the added benefit of making that reward more enjoyable when we experience it.

Quality Energy/Expectations: Don’t be afraid to shift and evolve

We are also wired for adaption, which means we inevitably strive to adapt to any situation and routines can become stagnant and no longer meet our needs. We are creatures of comfort and this means that once we find a sense of equilibrium, we strive to keep it exactly that. This can be beneficial to us, and it can also be a way of becoming stuck in a rut. If you notice that a component you are doing feels less enjoyable, you aren’t maintaining it, or you are relying on distraction or coping mechanisms don’t hesitate to check in and see what you could shift and evolve in your life to create a new component for yourself and your routine.

Christina Sutter, Registered Provisional Psychologist

Christina’s therapeutic approach is centered on building a safe and trusting relationship with her clients as a foundation for effective and lasting changes. The focus is on powerful insights which enable clients find answers within; helping each client to create practical strategies which can be implemented to create meaningful change. You can read more about Christina and book in with her here. 


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