It’s nearly spring here in Massachusetts, where I live.
Thank goodness, because like every year here in New England, it’s been a long winter.
I’m tired of playing with the kids indoors, the freezing, slippery conditions, and cancelled school alerts.
I’m really ready for green grass, bright flowers and warmer days.
Every winter I wonder, “Why the heck to I live here?”
And then spring comes and then summer, and Massachusetts is beautiful.
And I forget that I vowed to do something about this mocking beast called “Winter”.
Do You “Forget”?
Does that sound familiar to you?
Do you wrestle with a problem that persists, year after year, perhaps, only to “forget” about it when the sun gets a little warmer and the breeze a little softer?
Maybe you have a job you don’t like, and on bad days you vow to find something new.
Maybe you even go so far as to polish your resume and to start looking. . .
But then you have a good day at work. Or two.
Or some other problem in life crops up, and you don’t have the energy to think about what you’d rather do for work anymore.
The problem of how to build a life filled with things you love – work, passion projects, amazing experiences, – is once again put on the back burner and you “forget,” – until next winter. . .
How To Remember
What’s to be done about the problem of this waxing and waning attention to this issue in your life?
How do you sustain your attention to a problem that may not break you in the near term, but left alone is sure to have cumulative and disastrous results?
Here are a few tips:
1. Create a time-limited goal: Create structure for yourself by making a deadline.
If you know that you only have a limited time to get something done, you’re much more likely to stay on task than you are if no such deadline was in place.
Want to kick it up a notch . . . ? (Try #2)
2. Create accountability: If you are the only one who knows about your goal (or your time limit) there’s no crow to eat if you fall short.
Creating accountability by working with a life coach or simply telling a friend what you’re out to do will help to make your goal a priority.
3. Create a Sh*t List: Seriously. By the time the dry, hot summer is over, I start romanticizing fluffy white snow, and Rockwell Christmas scenes.
If I wrote down every little thing that I actually hate about winter – like the fact that snowbanks make it impossible to parallel park, or wearing cute shoes is a sure way to end up knee deep in slush – I wouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of safety.
I would very clearly remember not only what I don’t want, but why I don’t want it.
4. Hire a coach: If you want to move through your problem once and for all, a life or career coach is the fastest way to get there.
Not only will you create serious accountability, but you’ll also have someone to see things from another perspective, someone to call you out when you’re making excuses or playing small, and someone to help you devise a plan of attack.
5. Dream of the “other side”: What’s life going to look like on the other side of this problem?
What will it be like when you achieve that goal?
Connect with this vision in as much detail as you can and then write it down.
The more you dream of doing what you love (for work, for play), and visualize it, the more you will be determined to make it come to pass.
Staying focused on something you want to change is difficult.
The pain of the problem is so present, and the promise (or at least the hope) of a better situation is way . . . out . . . t h e r e.
It can be tempting to numb out, to put the issue on the back burner because of more “pressing” problems, or to forget about it because you have no plan or feel it’s hopeless.
The truth is, you have a great deal of control over your situation.
You may need a fresh set of eyes to help you see your way through the murk.
But don’t give up.
Don’t give up until you’re frostbitten and snow blind and hypothermic.
Because you haven’t exhausted every possibility yet.
There is still something that you can do, something you haven’t tried.