Fall is here. It’s time to wrap up our beach days and get ready for less sun and longer nights. Living in New England means I get to appreciate all of the abundance that fall has to offer. Every year my family goes apple picking (sometimes twice), takes hikes to enjoy the autumn leaves, and indulges in apple cider (and the occasional pumpkin-spiced latte for me).
Fall is also back-to-school time; a fresh start for many of us: new challenges, big goals, seeing old friends, and making new ones -- truly a time of abundance. To embrace this abundance without being overwhelmed is through simple daily decisions grounded in our intentions. In fact, "small" decisions, made every day, are the way big life changes stick.
Big life changes are made with small daily decisions.
This statement holds especially true when it comes to abundance. Embracing abundance is a challenge if we try to do everything. Instead, we can focus on what we want the most. The following is a three-step process to use if you'd like to set focused intentions during this season of abundance.
1. SET intentions mindfully.
At the start of the season, make a list of the activities or aspects of fall (or winter, or spring) that you enjoy the most. Consider categorizing by structured/unstructured; Working hard/reflecting; and Individual/Family-centered. You will probably find that your list of “enjoyable moments” includes a combination of these.
Now--and this is the hard part--pick your top 2. For balance, I suggest you focus on one big activity that requires a lot of energy and pair it with an easier or more relaxing downtime activity.
2. MAKE time for your intentionS.
Choosing the two activities is a good start; now we will make time them. Write each of these down on a piece of paper. Leave plenty of space underneath each one, and list the following:
● ONE action you will take to work towards this intention.
● Which day of the week (or month) you will dedicate time towards this intention?
For example: let’s say one of your intentions this fall is to spend time outside with your family. I'd start by making a list of nearby hiking places to explore. Then, I'd pick a day (possibly a weekend day - like a Saturday) and write “outside time” on it.
This system works because it is founded on the principle that big life changes are made with small decisions every day. You don’t go from spending all day inside to being an outdoor person overnight, but with intentional choices and plans you can make your desired activities a reality.
3. DO and reflect
Now is the time to DO the thing you planned. Find a place to hike, sign-up for that art class, find a great pumpkin pie recipe, make your Thanksgiving menu, go out and get a new journal. Do whatever you need to jumpstart your intention.
Afterwards, or along the way, take time to reflect.How have you grown? How did your intentions change? Even if your actions didn't go as planned, you still did something. Reflection can be a time to focus on improvement or an opportunity to celebrate milestones and growth.
Life is so much richer when we pause to celebrate what we have done.
The small decisions we make on a daily basis add up to big things. During this transition into fall, focus on the everyday actions that allow you to lead the life you intend.
Marie Levey-Pabst is a parent educator and founder of Create Balance. She uses the very practical Create Balance Method to teach parents how to create balance between family, work, and personal fulfillment. Read more at the Create Balance Blog, and join the Create Balance FB Community to get lots of inspiration, tools and support to help create balance in your life. You can also follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter.