I get caught up in long-term plans. It stretches out endlessly getting looser and holier as I go. But by the time a season has passed I hate how I’ve blocked out my planner. I loath the font I’ve chosen. I’m sickened by the schedule I’ve created. The problem is, I also know the benefits of sticking to it. That giving something like a new schedule at try needs to be done in earnest.
Seasons sway me. I can spend all Winter dreaming of Summer, but when the hot/humid air descends those Winter dreams have fallen away. Vice versa, in Summer I fancy myself a Winter explorer. Oh the adventures we will have. The tobogganing! But, by my very nature, I will curl up in my blanket fort and hibernate the cold months away. And that’s the other problem. Wasting a season, daydreaming of the next. When am I in the moment? When do I focus on the now? I’m a “let’s start fresh on Monday” type of person. An “only 4 days until the first of the month, let’s start then!” type. I know this.
I am trying to find a better way. As I explore my relationship with the seasons and the moon, I am realizing that they really do sway my life. Why have I not used them as a guide to my daily/monthly planning before? Wasn’t that the way, once upon a time? Wasn’t that the only way?
So, from now on, I’ll be breaking it down. Yes, a loose long-term plan, but I’ll waste less time trying to fine-tune days and months a million miles away. If you too feel drawn by the seasons or are feeling overwhelmed by your planning, here’s a loose guide that I’ll be following.
Break down the seasons. 3 months each makes nice workable increments.
- Autumn September, October, November
- Winter December, January, February
- Spring March, April, May
- Summer June, July, August
At the beginning of each season use these questions as a starting off point.*
- How did the last season go? Is there anything (any goal) that needs to cross over or continue on? If it shouldn’t have been an ongoing goal, why didn’t you accomplish it and how can you come at it from a different angle. Repeating the same thing again hoping to produce a different outcome isn’t a great use of your time. How will you approach it differently?
- Before setting new goals, review what your main values are and if your goals are aligned with them. If your goals aren’t a reflection of your personal needs and wants how will you measure success? If you are only doing something to appease another person, they will never give you the credit you deserve. Why would they do that when you’ve handed them all of your power? Goals are easier (not easy, just easier) to accomplish if you’re doing them for the right seasons. When you understand that, you hold the power.
- What are your new goals?
- What are your season specific goals?
- What are the steps you need to take to accomplish them?
- For planning purposes, what holidays or special occasions come up in this season?
*these questions should prompt you to veer onto your own train of thought. Follow it! What other questions and answers do you come up with?
Next, make a schedule.
- What are your top priorities?
- How will you fit it all in?
- Do you need to ask for help? Where/who can you ask?
- Where can you tighten the reigns and where can you invest?
- How will you stay balanced? It’s fine and well to pack your schedule to the brim, but the reality is that without balance you’ll burn out quick. If you’re trying to establish any long-term habits, going too big too fast usually leads to being overwhelmed and then quitting. Take smaller steps, and stick to them.
- If you’re a parent, how do your kids factor in. I can write ‘5am workout’ on every damn piece of paper in my house, but you know what? Baby J can’t read. Be realistic about the things you can’t change immediately. He’s getting better at sleeping through the night, but he’s not there yet, and I can’t control teething, so the reality is that 5am after being up 3 times isn’t going to be realistic. I need to evaluate what’s realistic as opposed to idealistic in my schedule building and so do you.
- When do you get a break? I know, you forgot about that when you made your old schedules. Where is YOUR time to relax? When will you practice self-care? (Notice I said PRACTICE? It’s not a one-off people, it’s a lifestyle, and one that tends to get lost in the rolling fog that babies bring!)
- How do you envision your day-to-day?
Stick to it!
And that’s the hard part right? Try your new schedule in earnest. Give it the season. Stick with it, BUT don’t feel guilty if it’s not perfect. Don’t get bogged down in the details. You missed your morning workout? What about lunch time? What about after the kids go to sleep? You snackccidentally ate 6 pb cookies with your coffee this morning *darts eyes back and forth, okay, you’ve got a whole day ahead of you. Maybe you didn’t get the kids out to the park like you’d planned, I’ll tell you what, kids LOVE going for a walk around the block in their jammies. It’s a perfect pre-bedtime activity! We need to treat every hour like a fresh start instead of putting it off until tomorrow. Imagine how many better days we’d have.
If you’re like me, you love to fill your planner with beautiful schedules and to-do lists. Break out your best markers, stickers, highlighters. If you’re like me, there are more crossed out things than check-marked things. Let’s break it down and do better, together!