Why Fall is the Perfect Time for Redefining on the Right Side of 50Sep 20, 2021
For as long as I can remember, the season of Fall has always been what New Year's Eve seems to be for the rest of the world. A time when I would set new goals, begin new habits, and get back into healthy routines. I never got into the swing of the New Year's Resolution. Throughout my whole life, this took place for me in the fall. As soon as I returned from summer vacation.
For as long as I can remember, I could not wait to get home after summer vacation. I would get my new school clothes along with fresh new notebooks and other school supplies. I was always so eager to begin the new school year.
When I had my own children, we'd return from our beach vacation and I'd get the boys squared away with their new clothes and school supplies for the upcoming school year. I looked forward to seeing the other parents, shopping for school lunches, and getting myself back into the fall routine.
Even my job as a behavior analyst was one that was geared around the school year rather than the calendar year.
I am writing this post having just returned from the past summer month of:
- having the grands at my house for a full week;
- birthday parties;
- lake week with both sons and their families
- last, but definitely not least, a week at the beach with my husband.
I'm now ready to dive into creating powerful new content for my community, scheduling my work kiddos, and, most importantly, waking up with the alarm each day and working on my new keystone habit - morning exercise.
What is it about fall?
FALL JUST MAKES SENSE
As, is the case for me, fall is a time for many where they are back from vacation - rested and ready to get back into the swing of the schedule. Or, even better, to take on a new habit or start the steps towards a new vision.
Kids are starting back at school. Although, many of us here don't have kids at home any longer, this schedule is ingrained in us. We need to take advantage of that timing as we continue to think about our dreams and joy moving forward.
In many areas of the country, the weather is cooling down. We feel refreshed when we wake up and walk outside and breathe in crisper air.
And, don't even get me started on the pumpkin spice lattes and creamer. ;-)
Along with the cozy sweaters, sweatshirts and leggings.
FALL IS A MORE REALISTIC TIME TO SET A NEW GOAL, BEGIN A NEW HABIT, OR START A NEW PROJECT
QUARTERLY GOALS ARE MUCH MORE REALISTIC THAN YEARLY
Randomly setting a goal or beginning a project on January 1, simply based on a day on the calendar, is counterproductive. Megan Garber in The Atlantic states it perfectly. "Nothing much distinguishes January 1 from December 31, except maybe a morning headache. Calendars have a brute logic. They have boxes rather than rhythms."
It is no coincidence that 80% of New Year's Resolutions are abandoned by February.
I am a firm believer on setting quarterly goals or plans and working backwards from those to monthly, weekly, and daily. Anything beyond quarterly is too far in the future and will seem not achievable to your brain. Setting a quarterly goal will get you more excited and most importantly, more committed. And starting in the Fall with a quarterly goal makes much more sense than starting on January 1 with an annual resolution.
YOU HAVE TIME TO GET YOUR PROJECT UP AND RUNNING BEFORE THE DREARINESS OF WINTER SETS IN
Particularly if you are looking to develop a new habit, this will give you a good solid 2-3 months of practicing this habit before the holidays happen. If you have a brief setback from the holidays, you will have an ingrained habit that you are likely to resume easily and quickly.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE REDEFINING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF 50?
For many of us, the winter months after the holidays can be a time of mild (or more than mild) depression. It's a time of year where we are more likely to look back on our day and wonder where it went. The days can morph into one another and before you know it, a month has gone by.
Reflecting, brainstorming, and taking action steps in the fall will prepare you for those winter months. Having a plan, learning a new skill, or starting a new project will give you a reason to look forward to waking up each day.
REDEFINING DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE AREN'T HAPPY NOW!
I often talk about how much I enjoy my job as a BCBA working with kids on the autism spectrum. But, I was starting to not enjoy it as much as I had in the past, largely due to the arthritis in my neck. I was also only 57 when this started to happen. As I started to think about leaving my career, what would I do with my time during the day? I had my husband, parents, grandchildren and pups to keep me busy, but no one needs me 24/7. I became anxious and a little depressed about my future. What would I do with my day each day?
Then, as I was driving back from moving my mom, I was listening to an audio book and thinking about my future. It was then and there that I decided to create content - for women like myself - over 50 and trying to figure out next steps.
I was excited again. I was writing (which I'd wanted to do ever since I was a little girl). And continuing to help people. I learned a new skill set as I began to navigate the blogging world. And, I met a whole new community of like minded women both through Life Balance After 50, as well as fellow bloggers.
I loved all of my roles before. But, I was at a point where a change was inevitable. And, I now have something to look forward to for my next 20, 30, 40 years.
That's a lot of years!