mental health

4 Best Practices for Creating a Fall Routine

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With only four months left in 2018, the fall season presents the perfect time to hunker down and refocus on those slightly forgotten, and perhaps dusty, 2018 New Year resolutions and goals. Now that schools are back in session, the weather starts to turn crispier in the morning, and summer vacations are only a memory of the past, this season couldn’t be a better time to set your mind on finishing this year strong.

As fall brings less daylight, our inclination to sleep in, watch a little more television, and rest through the weekend starts to grow. Knowing this, however, we can be strategic in how we spend our waking hours during the fall season. A rainy Saturday every now and then might be a good opportunity to catch up on your favorite TV series,  but eight or ten Saturdays spent catching up might leave you feeling a sense of regret or disappointment come December 31st. So what can you do to make the most of this time of year?

Well, before the hectic holiday season starts, you can prepare yourself for a strong finish in 2018 by developing a healthy fall routine now. So grab your planner, find a comfortable spot, kick up your heels and check out these four awesome tips for setting your routine.

1.    First things first, set your year-end goals.

It’s hard to know where you’re going when you don’t have directions and a final destination. With your planner in hand, take time to sit down and write out anywhere from one to three goals for your mental, physical and emotional health this season. Be sure to set your goal completion dates when you’re planning. Your completion dates don’t all have to be December 31, 2018. In fact, we encourage you to sprinkle goals throughout the rest of the year to make them more manageable.

Need an extra best practice for writing goals? Make your goals measurable so you know when you’ve reach them. For example, if you're looking to shed a few pounds, set a goal weight instead of simply saying “I want to lose weight.” When you’re done with your goals, share them with a trusted friend who will hold you accountable and encourage you to hit them.

Once you've identified your goals, pick the first one or two you want to complete and dedicate your time and energy to finish it early in these last few months!

2.    Plan your work week on Sunday.

From food to social outings, setting a schedule allows you to be more strategic throughout a busy work week. We all know what it feels like to have an entire week, even month, go by in what seems as quick as a blink of an eye. As such, if you aren’t strategic and intentional about what you’re doing, before you know it, January 2019 will be at your doorsteps.

Take the time weekly to sit down and plan out what you’d like to accomplish each week. You can start by reflecting on the past week. What did you do well? What where your areas of improvement? Then, create space in your schedule for exercise plans, social outings, spiritual growth, work goals, housekeeping, and/or financial targets for the week. This planning shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes, and at the end of it, you'll have a roadmap to help you get through the work week.  

3.    Re-discover balance in this season of your life.  

Balance. It’s a real buzz word in today’s society. Yet we all know that sometimes “balance” isn’t really possible. Balance is an ever-changing equation based on not only the calendar season but the season of life you are in personally. Starting a new job? Welcoming a baby? Buying a home? Searching for work? Life brings various different opportunities for our balance equations to shift.

As you evaluate what’s ahead this fall, get real about what balance looks like for you through the end of the year. Where will you be focusing your energy? Where can you give a little? To help, set clear expectations for those around you in order to communicate what’s going on in your life and where you are.  Communication and an analysis of the season you are in or moving into will help as you commit yourself to what’s ahead and fine-tune your balancing act.

4.    Embrace unexpected changes to your plan.

While many of us like think we are in control of our lives, every now and then, something happens in life that clearly shows we’re not in as much control as we think whatsoever. Sometimes, life just happens, and the variables capable of throwing wrenches into our plans are endless. Rather than letting speed bumps throw us off, we can use them as opportunities to slow down, reflect in the moment, and grow from it. When the hiccups occur, we can re-evaluate our balance equation, and see what’s important at that time and how we can move forward.

Planning is great, but be careful about becoming so focused on getting things done. The unexpected interruptions can easily sour your mood, even if distractions are pleasant. Prepare by being realistic and accepting that not many things go as planned. Embrace the new paths that are forged as your life progresses and re-balance your equation.

Conclusion

Routines are a great way to create a consistent level of motivation in the areas in which you would like to grow. Those routines can be for work, health + fitness, family life or other areas you find important. By setting goals, planning your weeks, re-balancing life's commitments and embracing unexpected change, you can develop your own routine for finishing 2018 strong and hitting your goals.