Fall is one of my favorite seasons and every year, I forget how much I actually love it until it finally arrives. I love the refreshing cooler days after the hot summer months, the picturesque rustic foliage tones that nature briefly gifts us with, the need for layers and cozy sweaters to remain comfy on the chilly nights and the delicious meals made fresh from the recent harvest that are unbeatable. Even though I’ve been out of school for a few years now, as soon as the leaves change, I want to buy school supplies. I think it’s because another quality I cherish about fall is that it cultivates a desire within me to consider the season change as a fresh start.
Towards the end of every year, we set goals and resolutions to carry ourselves forward into a new year. Of course there’s benefit to setting both long-term and short-term goals, but why do we wait until the end of the year to create resolutions for ourselves? Doesn’t it make more sense to check ourselves throughout the year, to evaluate the progress we’ve made as well as the areas we need to work on?
Here are six simple steps to set goals as the seasons change:
Set an Intention
Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea sit in a comfortable position and take some quiet time to reflect on your life. How are you feeling? How is your personal life? Your professional life? Your love life? Your social life? Are you connecting with yourself? Discover an area or two you feel you’d like to explore or improve on and set your intention. Since this is quarterly goal setting, remember to keep your intention clear and focused. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to work on, write it down so you’re able to hold yourself accountable.
Be Real with Yourself
Think about the intention you’ve set for yourself carefully because goals can both be damaging and motivating, depending on how they’re set. I’m not about to tell you that you cannot achieve something because you absolutely can – dreams are made a reality by dedication and hard work! It is important though to live with clear vision not foggy goggles and setting yourself up for disappointment by setting an unrealistic intention will result in feeling defeated and unmotivated. What I mean by this is if your intention is to lose 50lbs in one season, that’s both unrealistic and unhealthy! It can definitely be done over time through exercise and healthy eating, but crash dieting is the worst way to lose weight. Through all of this, no matter what your intention is, it’s important to be kind to your body, your heart and your mind when setting goals.
According to Greenwich Mean Time, the remaining 2014 Solstice date is December 21, 2014 (Winter Solstice) and the 2015 dates are March 20, 2015 (Spring Solstice), June 21, 2015 (Summer Solstice), September 23, 2015 (Autumn Solstice) and December 22, 2015 (Winter Solstice).
Are you able to achieve or goal or intention in one season or two? Does your intention fit with the season? Since it’s only warm for two months a year where I live, I set lighter professional goals for myself throughout the summer so I am able to remain on track and also enjoy the sunshine! I also set more challenging fitness goals during the summer because I spend so much time outside being active that I’m able to achieve them. Once the weather becomes cooler, I set more professional goals because I know I’ll be inside working a lot and staying warm. It’s important to consider both the season and the length of time needed for your goals and intentions.
Measurements Do Matter
I always think of Julia Child when I say this – “Measurements do matter! They absolutely do!” Although the only time I use measurements in the kitchen is when I’m writing recipes, I always use measurements for my intentions and goals. I am a chronic journal writer and a dedicated list maker. I make a ‘to do’ list everyday that doesn’t only include my daily chores, but also activities for myself that align with my intention. Sometimes I am able to cross all the items off and other times I’m not able to. I also make monthly to do lists that allow me to keep track of where I’m at in terms of following my intention and achieving my goal. Since I’m a writer, it comes naturally to me to put my thoughts and goals down on paper. If you’re not a writer, perhaps you’re a drawer? Or a painter? Or you can create collages? Find a creative outlet to record your progress and measure your intention outcome.
Tweak or Move Forward?
After the time frame you set yourself has run it’s course, it’s important to re-evaluate where you’re at with your goal. Did you achieve it? Do you need more time? It’s completely okay to tweak your goals and try again before moving on to something new. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, but maybe the time frame you chose wasn’t long enough, or the ways in which you set out to achieve your goal weren’t the more productive choices. Part of setting goals and intentions is learning about you and becoming in tune with your mind and soul, which comes hand in hand with trial and error. It’s completely okay to tweak your intention and give it another go!
This is the most important part about goal setting, because in setting intentions you’re showing love for yourself and wanting more for yourself. It’s equally important though to continue to love yourself throughout the work you’re doing to achieve your goal. Love yourself when you have an unproductive day, love yourself when you realize you’ve chosen a goal that cannot be achieved in the time frame you set for yourself, love yourself when you feel unmotivated, motivated, successful and down. Allow yourself to feel defeated and then love yourself enough to pick yourself up and keep going. By showing yourself love, kindness and honesty each and every day and your goal successions will follow.
Do you have a way of marking the change in seasons? Do you set yearly or quarterly goals for yourself? Tell us about it in the comments below!
ASHLEY WOOD is a recipe developer and writer from Winnipeg, Canada. With a passion for health, wellness and vegetables, Ashley creates simple and inexpensive vegan recipes made from whole ingredients that are often seasonal, sometimes gluten-free and occasionally raw. Ashley believe in celebrating the benefits of living a vegan lifestyle and at the very least, hopes to inspire others to eat more plants, smile and live with some Sunshine.