The word “April” comes from the Latin “aperire” meaning to open. So April is the month when spring buds begin to open with fragrant possibilities for the future and green things start to grow. Hope springs eternal.
Spring is a wonderful time to (re)create a new life, hope and possibilities for ourselves, to re-address or recommit or confirm our New Years’ resolutions that may have fallen by the wayside since January.
But how do we experience personal growth? And what is that?
Growth involves, trial and error, experiences of joy and success and tears of grief and sadness. It is often through sadness and sometimes loss — and if we are able to weather them and overcome them — that we learn a lot about ourselves and how much strength we actually, really and truly have in ourselves and subsequently grow.
There is a story about a butterfly who was trying to emerge from its cocoon. Once it had made a small hole or “opening” a well-intentioned person saw the butterfly trying to struggle out of its chrysalis like a flower blossoming. The individual, being kind-hearted and wanting to help, removed the butterfly from its metaphoric tomb. Regrettably, the poor butterfly fell to the ground and died. Why? Simply because the process of punching through the cocoon and emerging assists the butterfly in flexing and developing its muscles and strength. It bores a hole and then rests and then goes at it once again until it has completely emerged. Without this challenge to emerge, the butterfly would never develop enough strength to fly. One can use the rhythms of the emerging butterfly as a metaphor for personal challenges of all kinds.
April is synonymous with springtime, a time to spring into action. It can be a time to challenge yourself. Go back to all of those dreams and goals you may have abandoned, perhaps like your New Years’s resolution to get in shape, quit smoking or go back to the gym or go into therapy and deal with personal issues. Give it a kick. Breakdown those walls of limitation for what you think you may not be able to do or were perhaps too afraid to do.
A very simple way to grow or look to achieve new goals or at the very least, attempt them, would be to use the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting model*. Simply put, this system helps you to clarify goals in quantifiable steps with feedback and reflection to see where you are in “growing” or achieving or setting your goals. It is recommended that goals be:
S – Specific (Simple, Sensible, Significant)
M – Measurable (or Meaningful or Motivating)
A – Achievable (or Agreed upon or Attainable)
R – Relevant (or Reasonable, Realistic or Results-based)
T – Time-bound (or Time-limited)
There is no time like the present, especially springtime!
So take a chance, set your goals and see where it leads. Perhaps new growth and new challenges are in your future!