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March 16, 2017

“Spring Forward” Towards Your Goals

When Daylight Saving Time hit, we all had to “spring forward” by advancing our clocks and losing a precious hour of sleep. Yeah, that’s a bummer. Maybe you’re even one of the not-so-few of us who didn’t change all your clocks and ended up being late to something. Extra bummer. (#firstworldproblemsbutstill)

But – What if the term “spring forward” held more meaning than that? You have to admit that the combination of those two words does make for an interesting statement. Imagine for a moment that it had greater implications for change beyond the clock on your microwave or in your car.

What if “spring forward” was an invitation to get unstuck? Or a challenge to reach your goals? Or a motto that guided your actions the next couple of months?

How would things be different if we really lived the idea of “spring forward”?

We might…

Do less thinking or worrying about the past: Learning from the past is one thing. Obsessing about it, however, is another matter completely. Focusing too much on past missteps or mistakes keeps us from experiencing the present, feeds into your inner critic, and muffles the expression of your best self.

Do more envisioning of a greater future: This doesn’t mean worrying about the future, but daring to envision something greater for yourself and others. Greater success. Greater risk-taking. Greater accomplishments. Greater failures. Greater vulnerability. Greater freedom. It’s fueled by hope, imagination, possibilities and innovation.  What goals can you envision for the future?

Bounce off of failure: I think springing forward implies that you maintain forward momentum, even amidst failure. It means bouncing off of challenges, taking useful learning and applying it as you go onward. In that way, failure can help you spring higher, rather than stopping you in your tracks.

Lean into people and resources for extra momentum: I envision leaning into a metal spring and building up even more energy for the jump forward. There are people and resources around you that can multiply your efforts and impact – if only you are humble, open, assertive and resourceful enough to seek them out.

Risk transformational leaps: If you’re playing it safe and making only incremental movements, I’m not sure that counts as springing forward. Transformational leaps have a much greater impact on your success, but require the courage to risk failure. It’s only through a strong and sustained intention to stretch yourself that you can repeatedly wiggle out of comfort zone territory.

Commit to tangible actions: Having a vision for the future is an important first step, but without action, it will remain merely theoretical. Both the words “spring” and “forward” suggest actual movement. This requires the discipline to break your vision into specific and measurable steps that make it onto your to-do list and then get crossed off.

Create accountability: It’s pretty easy to put something on the to-do list and then not do it. You’ll have a greater chance of successfully reaching your goals when you add the element of accountability. Use your calendar to make your actions time-bound. Recruit a colleague to act as an accountability partner. Tell everyone and anyone about your vision (it becomes more real that way). Post reminders for yourself so your actions and goals stay front-of-mind.

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