I'm a little slower than usual getting my monthly challenge up. I feel like September came out of nowhere, and although things are staying relatively the same overall for me this fall, I still meet every September with the same lens as I did through all my school years.
September seems to demand routines and rhythms be re-established. The slow, flexible, seemingly never-ending days of summer are replaced by stricter bedtimes, the start up of scheduled activities, set dinners, and evenings spent making lunches instead of lounging around. I have the tendency to see September as a new beginning and I have been known to jump in head first creating rhythms built around where, and what, I feel my life should look like.
Over the years this has meant setting great goals but making all the big changes to meet my goals right out of the gate. I decide I should be eating healthier to make up for one too many s'mores enjoyed on summer break, so I adopt an intense new healthy eating regimen; I want to try a new hobby so I sign up for something new every free night I have; I want to spend more time reading and learning, and less time on social media and Netflix, so I give up both cold turkey.
There's nothing wrong with setting goals. I believe setting goals helps give perspective. Goals give us momentum to get to where we want to be in life and to accomplish the things we are called to. The issue with how I set my goals is I go from zero to one- hundred overnight. This way of approaching my goals is successful usually for a couple of weeks, until I start to feel burnt out, because in my desire to accomplish and do everything immediately I never leave room for rest, or for set- backs. A couple of weeks in, in an attempt to stay sane, I usually find myself settling back into my normal, pre goals, rhythms and routines. The abandoning of my goals leaves me feeling like a failure.
It wasn't until recently that I realized that the expectations I put on myself are too much. The reason I don't meet my goals is because I don't set myself up for success. This September I’m challenging myself to use the month to plan out some goals that are important to me to accomplish over the next couple of seasons and to set myself up well to meet them. Practically this will look like dissecting my goals and finding small steps that I can take this month. I'll be sharing some of the outcomes of my goal setting and small stepping over the month of September.
I was fortunate to be able to spend the first couple of days of September up at the cabin. I used that time to set some goals for the rest of my year.
Goal 1: Cook 80% of my meals at home from scratch.
Small Step for September: Find and try 5 new recipes.
Goal 2: Spend more time reading and less time on social media/ Netflix.
Small Steps for September: Pay attention to how much time I am spending on each activity and decide from there how much I need to cut back. Find two new books to read this month.
Goal 3: Try something new
Small Step for September: Instead of committing to an entire season of something new, or multiple new activities, I've decided to protect my time and try one pottery class, with the option to do more if I enjoy it. I've also chosen a class that if I add more sessions there are options for flexible days and times.
So here's to a month of not overwhelming myself by setting too many goals, here's to not trying to change all my routines at once. Here's to not crashing under the expectations I place on myself. Here's to not feeling like a failure, and to succeeding at my goals instead of leaving them unmet. Here's to setting myself up well by making little manageable changes that contribute to my goals in the long run, and to building some new habits and routines
What goals are you wanting to set for this season? What small steps can you take this month to set yourself up for success?