Fall is my favorite season. My very favorite. I love the smells, the colors, the lead-up to the holidays – and I really, REALLY love the end of the summer heat. As I write this, it is the first day that it feels like fall where I live. We had blistering, record-setting temperatures at the beginning of September (over 100°) and I didn’t much care that it was a “dry heat.” I’m just not a fan. But fall? Love. It.
Fall is a really great time to make goals, and, somewhat counter-intuitively, it can be a season of growth. Fall is the season for planting bulbs that will be nourished underground during the winter. Trees may drop their leaves in the colder temperatures, but growth and regeneration are occurring within the tree and deep within their roots. Maybe there’s something we can learn from trees and bulbs. Sometimes growth and change are not visible, especially to the casual observer.
One interesting stat I learned a couple of years ago was that every year, Pinterest experiences two spikes in searches related to “organization, routine…and goal-setting.” One is around January 1, as New Year’s goals are made and set and the second is right before fall. “Over the years, we’ve seen the end of summer become a distinct and significant moment on Pinterest when people want to make personal changes to refresh their routines, set goals, get organized and most importantly, stay positive,” said Enid Hwang in a 2019 article. It resonated with me because I had already seen that pattern in myself.
Fall seems to be the perfect time for me to dejunk, too. I seem to have even less emotional attachment to “stuff” when September and October roll around. Trash, thrift store, give away to someone who can use it – I don’t spend too much time thinking about it because I really want the cleaner space. Tossing stuff is very freeing – metaphorically and literally.
Taking advantage of the invigorating cooler weather, I can get more done outside and I make plans for what I will get done inside when the weather is less hospitable. Over the last several years, my husband and I have made big home improvements in the fall, partly because the deadline of “Have it done by the holidays” is very motivating. This year, we are putting in new flooring in our great room/kitchen area. It’s been a sloooow process, but one we are determined to finally finish by Thanksgiving.
Our home renovation projects have been abundant over the last several years and like most goals, have been best accomplished when we break the goals down into small steps – the smaller the better. If you’re like me, you need to write those steps down as well. My husband and I use Google docs to add tasks and check them off when done, but I also need a list on the big white board in my living room.
I started using a shared Google calendar to keep track of all my tasks some years ago. I use it religiously (my husband usually forgets to check it, haha). If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t happen, so I take my small goal steps and schedule them in. Do they sometimes get pushed aside? Of course. But, more often than not, they get worked on in the time allotted. Some days, I can spend a six-hour chunk working on projects (the length of time for public school in our area), and some days, I might get 15 or 30 minutes.
Today, I have 4 meetings, all remote, so my hair is done and my make-up is on – and in between, I am canning peaches. It might not work for someone else, but it works well for me.
Did I mention I love fall??