Falling Back Into Goals And Routines

Countdown To Fall     Summer is winding down, kids are getting ready to go back to school, and most of us are trying to squeeze in a few more days of beach time before fall. Whether you have kids in school or not, fall seems like a perfect time to get out a fresh, blank, notebook and make plans for the next year.

     Most people do resolutions on January 1, but I actually prefer doing this in August. Maybe that’s because my birthday is in August, or maybe for so many years when my kids were in school, I would drop them off for their first day of school, and then go home and make plans for my upcoming year. I made plans for me, my family, and everything I wanted to accomplish that year.

     Summer is fun and schedules are more flexible, but I actually prefer getting back to a reasonable routine of some sort. So, let me encourage you to make the end of summer (August), the time that you take a couple hours and make some plans for the coming year. Here are the areas that I like to re-evaluate and make improvements on for the upcoming year.

1) Goals, routines, and schedule. Take a little time to relax and think about where you’re at in life and where you would like to be. In other words, look at the big picture. Think about your purpose in life: for God, your family, and your personal goals.

     Write down your goals for this coming year in different areas of your life. See my previous post, How To Make Meaningful Goals For Your Life. Then, think about revising your schedule. Your schedule is your blueprint for making your goals happen. Write your ideal weekly schedule using my printable, Weekly Schedule. Make sure there’s a place in your schedule for everything you want and need to accomplish for your family and yourself. Things don’t always go as planned, so be prepared to tweak it each week till it works for you.

2) Health routines. Since you’ll be starting a new, improved routine, why not make exercise a part of it? Look at your schedule and pick a time that will work for you. Put it on your calendar and try to stick to it. You might even keep a fitness journal to hold yourself accountable. Also, when planning meals for busy weeknights, try to find healthy recipes that can be fixed quickly. And, of course, get to bed at a regular time every night for a good night’s sleep.

3) Finances. Summertime might have gotten a little crazy with vacations, kids out of school, and overspending on back to school supplies. It’s time to stop and figure out your financial plans for the coming year. For one thing, Christmas is coming very soon. You should start saving for it now, if you haven’t already. Also, if you have kids in school, you might think you have plenty of time to save for college, but the sooner you start, the better. Or maybe retirement isn’t too far away. While we’ve got a few months before the holidays, this is a perfect time to plan our finances and save, save, save.

4) Career. Kids aren’t the only ones going to school. Maybe you are too. Or, maybe while everyone is going to school, you’d like to think about where you are in your career. Are you heading in the direction you want to go? This is the perfect time to re-evaluate your career goals. Do you want to change jobs? Do you want a different career? Maybe you want or need to stay where you are. If so, you might want to learn more about how to do your job better.

5) Family and home routines. Think about your family, including immediate and extended family. If you sill have kids at home, think about their age and grade level in school and what they’ll be doing this school year. Your schedule will depend a lot on theirs. Make sure you have plenty of time for all their activities, helping with homework, and family time on the weekends. Make sure you schedule time to stay connected with extended family. Make plans with your hubby for vacations. Plan early for special events, such as weddings, reunions, holidays, and birthdays.

     Revise your systems for keeping your home life running smoothly. This includes your laundry routine, cleaning routine, meal planning, and grocery shopping. See my previous posts, How To Have An Efficient Laundry SystemHow To Clean Your Entire House, and Menu Planning And Grocery Shopping.

6) Wardrobe.  Fall and back-to-school time means its time to re-evaluate wardrobes for your kids and yourself. First, go through your kids closets, have them try on what they wore last winter. They most likely have outgrown most of it. Plan a shopping trip to get some new clothes for school. Kids love getting new back-to-school clothes. I did!

     Kids aren’t the only ones who need back-to-school/fall clothes. We need to re-evaluate and organize our own fall clothes too. This is a fun project. Go through your fall clothes, throw out things that are old, stained,, don’t fit, or no longer in style. Make a list of what you need to buy. Then start planning some shopping trips. Ah, I love fall!

Making plans for the year

 

     Now that might seem like a lot to think about. How can we make all these improvements without getting overwhelmed? You can’t. Just like kids who need to adjust gradually back into a school routine, we also need to make adjustments gradually.

     Are you ready for some homework? (And you thought you were done with school.) Here’s your homework/plan for making all these improvements. Start on August 1 and work on one area each week. Then, each week you build onto the previous area. For instance, week #1 you will write your goals and new schedule. Then week #2, you’ll be doing your new schedule and adding in your new health routines. Then week #3, do your new schedule, new health routines, and adding in your new financial plan. Then, of course, continue through week #6. This gives you time to get used to new habits. I’ve read that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so all these improvements you’re making should feel like a regular part of your life by the end of September. Of course, you can work on these areas in any order that you like. One way that I work on each area is to read a book on that week’s subject and then decide how I want to improve that area.

     One word of caution. Do your best every day, no matter what week you’re on. For example, if you haven’t started yet on your new healthy routines, don’t use that as an excuse to procrastinate on that area. It will just be harder to make improvements if you do that. Also, we’re human and, therefore, we will never be perfect. Just do your best. When you slip up (and we all will), just get back on track as soon as possible.

     I hope I’ve inspired you to make some meaningful goals for this year for you and your families. If you have more suggestions, please leave comments below. It’s going to be a great year!

 

 

 

 

 

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