You must have noticed it? Light in the sky where only a month ago was darkness. A gentle warming of the air. The first bird song in the trees. There is change in the air as we move toward spring and this change is most noticeable with the time change.
Setting our clocks ahead may be perfunctory, but this is the time of the year to be renewed, enthusiastic and inspired. Don’t just mumble about an hour less sleep on Saturday night. Instead, find a more optimistic motto and “Spring Forward!”
In the natural cycle, spring is the dawn after a long night, the moment of birth. This is a time brimming with potential. In his book, “Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature,” Jon Young describes this as a time to look ahead with energetic plans, where the horizon is limitless with possibility.
Perhaps we have it all wrong when we make resolutions on the eve of the new calendar year? Instead, we should be setting our goals for the year on the eve of this time change. If we adopted this as a new tradition, what goals would you set for yourself this spring?
Inspiration is the first step to creating excellent goals for yourself. Moving forward into the warmer months of the year, it is helpful to start with a healthy dose of excitement. Pick up that dusty coffee table book and leaf through it until you find a picture that tugs at your soul. Find a picture on the internet and set it as your desktop photo. Hopefully you catch yourself whispering, “I want to go there.” Or take a trip to your local bike shop to ogle the new bikes and get excited about riding again. Whatever it is that inspires you, start filling your head with great ideas from books, movies or the internet while there is enough dark evening hours to sit inside without feeling guilty.
The second step needed to bring your inspiration to fruition is equal measures of preparation and dreaming. Read up on your intended destination, make a gradual return to training, or start gathering family and friends to join you. But also take some time out to daydream about all that you are looking forward to. Dreaming is a very personal process and helps you maintain your passion for the journey. It is good to oscillate between these two. Dreaming is often more fun than the logistics and hard work of working toward your goals.
The last step is crossing the threshold and leaving the comforts of the known. This might be running into the water on your first triathlon, boarding the plane for some distant destination, or setting up the tent on your first camping trip. Regardless of your plans, trying something new and challenging yourself is hardest at the beginning.
As we move gradually toward spring, hopefully you can use the time change to springboard you into the most productive and exciting time of year. Mary Oliver gave us all a solid kick in the behind when she wrote, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The Clark family lives in the Great White North and can be found in down jackets and wool hats most of the year. As a family, they carve out big chunks of time for self-propelled adventures. They dress for winter whether it is on cycling adventures in Patagonia, or when paddling across the high arctic. Find out why Outside Online called the Clarks “The Most Adventurous Family in the US” at: http://www.outsideonline.com/2094321/tips-most-adventurous-family-us.