Groundwork for a New Season - Part 1

Mon April 15th 2024

Starting out with intentionality and purpose - with realism woven through - is a great way to plan.

As Summer turns to Autumn, the seasonal change brings with it a sense of opportunity and renewal. The thought of spending more time indoors and preparing to ‘hunker down’ becomes more pressing as the daylight hours disappear and the temperatures trend downward.

Many of us view the change of season as a chance to redefine our goals and pursue our aspirations with renewed determination. There’s also a sense of caution when ambitious goal setting hasn’t turned out as we had planned, or when good intentions were met with a huge spanner in the works. This is life. Even the best of intentions should be reassessed and adjusted according to life’s twisting road of ups and downs. This is realistic. Being cautious, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set goals and embark on a positive outset for a new season. Starting out with intentionality and purpose - with realism woven through - is a great way to plan. Putting in the groundwork to harness the ‘change of season’ energy by setting meaningful goals, establishing priorities, and implementing processes to guide us through.

The foundation of any successfully planned endeavor lies in the setting of meaningful goals. Clarity and specificity are key. Goal setting is a powerful way to articulate your aspirations and give them a roadmap for the future. An effective acronym for effective goal setting is to create SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Specific: More often than not goals like ‘read more books’ or ‘get fit’ are high on most people’s priority lists. These are well intentioned, but they lack specificity. Instead of a vague goal, clearly define what you want to achieve. These goals could be framed with more clarity; ‘read 5 books this Autumn’ or ‘go to the gym 3 times every week’.

Measurable: A month is a long time, but it can speed by very quickly with the busyness of life. All of a sudden you need to read 5 books by April! Establish criteria to track your progress with your goals. This might involve mini goals along the way, such as tracking at least 1 book after 10 days, or the time spent learning a new skill. Break your larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks.

Achievable: While it’s admirable to aim high, ensure that your goals are realistic. Setting unattainable objectives can lead to frustration and disappointment. You may want to set out with an ‘A’ goal, with the ability to adjust it for a ‘B’ goal. Even the best goal setter is realistic when life brings an unexpected turn or a huge roadblock. Maintaining a sense of optimism and grit, with a touch of realism is wise.

Relevant: When setting your goals, ask yourself why each goal is important to you. How will it contribute to your long-term aspirations? Align your goals with your life values and overall objectives and dreams.

Time-bound: Lastly, set a deadline to create a sense of urgency. This not only helps in tracking progress but also instills accountability. For example, rather than saying ‘learn a new language,’ set a deadline like ‘be able to hold a basic conversation in French by June’. Again, setting time-bound mini goals along the way is a helpful way to stay motivated, and feel as though the bigger ‘end goal’ is attainable.

Click here for part 2