By Kara Mason

Fresh Routines for Fall: Give Yourself a 2020 Reset


Spice up your slate for the new season.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

There is definitely a sense of beauty in how the word changes in the fall, and it’s not just the crisper weather and golden leaves — it’s also our outlook. 

Whether you’re coming down from a vacation mindset, getting back to some serious work, or you’re feeling the urge to nest for the colder months, fall is an ideal time to work in some fresh routines. Maybe it’s because we see a big change in seasons. Maybe it’s because we love all the things that come with fall. Whatever your reason, seize this opportunity to change along with the seasons.

Scientists actually believe that as children we’re conditioned to love the season and all it entails — like the pumpkin patch, football season, and returning school to see friends — which is why almost 30% of people say it is their favorite season. 

That fresh start mentality really does have an impact on motivational behavior, according to another study. Researchers describe events like birthdays, holidays, or new seasons as “temporal landmarks,” and they have the power to create more motivation.

So why not let fall, when the world feels fresh and new, be a time for a fresh, new you. Adding some new routines during the fall can be really beneficial because they’re likely to actually stick, given the mental shift many of us undergo with the changing seasons.

As with any new routine, it might take time for it to feel natural or you might need to make adjustments along the way. That’s okay. This is a time for fresh ideas and fresh routines -- you can make them yours over time.

Set some end-of-year goals

Maybe you don’t associate the fall time with making new goals or setting resolutions, but it’s actually a great time to re-evaluate your yearly objectives while also committing to shorter term goals that you can finish before the end of the year.

Bite size goals can help you stay on track and actually reach the finish line, so try focusing on what you want to accomplish by January 1. Now is the perfect time to switch up your routine to make these things happen.

Try committing to some space in your daily or weekly routine to check in on your goals, add new ones or analyze the ones you’ve already made. Ink+Volt Goal Planners make this routine addition really easy with weekly and monthly prompts to get you thinking about your future and the action plan to get there.

It’s likely that some of your goals for this year got scrapped along the way. What would make you still feel like you had some wins this year? Try to focus on one or two things you can realistically accomplish, rather than trying to cram too much in at the end.

Say “yes” to new ideas

It’s easy to get in the habit of saying no and sticking to a routine we’re familiar with, especially after a hard year full of change and challenges. 

But this fall, instead of burying further into your cozy blankets, try to make a routine out of pushing yourself a little bit each week.

Find some time in your schedule, as hectic as it may be, to say “yes” to new things. Whether it be a date, a new workout class, or a challenging work project, try your hand at being open to a new experience. Approach it with curiosity and low expectations -- it is just your job to show up and be open to possibilities.

Actively allowing new possibilities into our lives can lead to so many great opportunities we may have never even considered. All it takes is a little leap of faith and a reminder to say “yes.”

Write in your journal

Finding time to reflect can be so hard. It’s easy to label it as a low priority, since you’re not accountable to anyone but yourself. It’s so easy to skip once, twice, and then just forget about.

But reflection is critical for our happiness and our success. You need time to process the things that you’ve been through -- both the wins and the losses -- in order to feel really grounded. It is one of the best ways to practice gratitude, which is one of the only scientifically proven ways to actually feel happier.

It can also help your productivity, by allowing you to really touch down on what you’ve been working on and what is pulling your attention. It can help you notice the places you are losing time and when your efforts are really paying off.

Grab a cup of tea and a great notebook when you wake up or pull it out just before bed to help unwind from the day. Either way this routine is sure to invite some calmness into a busy or hectic schedule. 

Set a bedtime 

If the time changes throw you off, you’re not alone! The “fall back blues” are definitely real. To combat that sluggish feeling that comes along with shorter days, try setting a stricter bed time and allowing yourself some time at the end of the day to really unwind. Avoid screen time, try some meditation, or turn on some peaceful music to prepare yourself for a restful night of sleep.

Remember to adjust your schedule accordingly as the daylight begins to disappear a lot sooner, too. If you like to take a walk after work, consider shifting your schedule so that you can walk during your lunch break -- make sure the things that keep you feeling good don’t get lost with the shifting of fall schedules.

Stay hydrated 

This one is a good routine any time of the year but especially when all you’re craving is that pumpkin spice latte, hot cup of cocoa, or apple cider. Make it a goal to stay hydrated even as the weather cools and the temptation to reach for a hot beverage is at an all time high. 

Set a reminder on your phone, tell an office buddy to keep you accountable, or use a desk accessory that reminds you to stay on track. Remembering that drinking enough water can improve your mood, keep you energized, and even help your memory, so find a way to keep that habit going all year long. 

Make a home-cooked meal

Why is it that meal prep is such a difficult thing to incorporate into a routine? It requires a bit of an upfront investment of time to do all that shopping and prepping, but it ultimately saves so much time and money in the long run and can help you to feel really good in your body every day.

When thinking about cooking in terms of a routine, think about all of the benefits! 

You could realistically start this routine at any time of the year, but it’s so much easier in the fall. Why? It’s harvest time! There are so many amazing fresh produce options. 

Take a stroll through your local farmer’s market and challenge yourself to make a meal out of the goodies you find. You’ll be surprised at all you can find. Google recipes that seem achievable to you, or that remind you of meals you loved growing up.

Cooking can be a great stress reliever and there’s a real sense of adventure using new ingredients. A real win-win for a moment of calm and happiness.