Fall is in the air.
The days are getting shorter, the air a little crisper, and pumpkin-flavored everything is here.
There’s no need to wait for the new year — the start of a new season is the perfect time to take stock of your goals and routine and identify ways you can make improvements.
Here are a few ways you can make the most of the change of seasons and refresh your goals and routines for the fall in order to finish the year on a strong note.
Listen and reflect
The first step to any goal-setting or planning session is to check in with yourself and reflect. Sit down with your planner, favorite notebook, or notepad, and ask yourself the following questions:
- How has the year gone so far? How was the summer season?
- What wins can you celebrate from the last season?
- Is there anything that you wish went differently?
- What changes can you make this fall to make sure the next few months go the way you want them to?
When checking in with yourself, it’s important that you are focusing on *all* aspects of your life — not just your career or goals. You are a whole person, and if one area of your life is out of balance, that can have a ripple effect.
We love the Ink+Volt Reflection Pad to do this: It features 18 different check-ins, covering everything from productivity and time management to physical health and mindfulness.
By taking a few minutes to really listen to yourself and understand where you are, you can see a clear visual representation of where your gaps and imbalances might be, which will empower you to make informed decisions on how to spend your time and energy for a better tomorrow.
Once you’ve taken time to reflect and check-in with yourself, it’s time to set some goals using the realizations you’ve uncovered in your self-assessment to make sure that they are realistic, achievable, and beneficial.
It’s okay if one of your realizations is that the goals you originally set for yourself for the year need to change — there will always be unexpected changes to our plans, and part of being a good goal-setter is being able to adjust the plan as needed along the way.
Pull out your planner, digital calendar, or timeline notepad and start by noting important dates and deadlines. This is a great first step because it will allow you to more accurately plan your time — if you know you have a massive project due at work, for example, chances are you won’t be able to allocate a lot of time to your personal goals that week. Or if you have time off work planned, you’ll want to take that into consideration when plotting out career goals.
With these key dates and deadlines in mind, it’s now time to start writing your goal statements. What do you want to achieve this fall?
When writing your goal statements it’s important to make them as specific as possible. So instead of, “I want to get in shape,” try something like, “I’m going to do a 30-minute at-home workout video every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.”
We are big believers in the SMART goal method — creating goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound — so much so that we created a free worksheet to help you write your own goal statements!
Once you have your overall goal statements written, it’s time to break those down into smaller, more actionable pieces. If you’re using your Ink+Volt Goal Planner, consider thinking about what you can achieve each week as well as each month. Put those bite-sized goals into your monthly and weekly goals and commit to setting aside time at the beginning of each week or month to check in on your progress.
Identify positive habits you want to cultivate
Part of making big, positive changes in your life is cultivating the daily habits that will help you get closer to that person you want to be.
If one of your goals is to be more present or mindful, some great daily habits that you could start cultivating are things like meditating for 10 minutes a day, or beginning a gratitude practice by journaling before bed.
If health is a goal, maybe you start tracking your meals or water intake each day.
Whatever your big goals might be, chances are there is a small shift you can make each day to help you get a little bit closer one day at a time.
We love the Ink+Volt Progress Pad to help with this. The notepad features a 7-day log that allows you to track everything from the routine to-dos to new and more challenging activities, behaviors, or practices you want to establish and strengthen, or stop. By tracking your habits daily and weekly, you’ll start to notice trends in your behavior that can help you improve, make changes, and grow. Week after week, you'll notice — and be able to celebrate — significant progress, all of which is helping you get that much closer to your biggest goals.
Commit to progress
The key to consistent progress is consistent check-ins. If you aren’t holding yourself accountable, nobody else will! To that end, when you’re setting your refreshed goals for the fall, it’s important to also schedule regular reflection periods — consider them a standing all-hands meeting with key stakeholders like at work, just with yourself!
Just as you would if you were running a team meeting at work, ask yourself:
- What’s the status update?
- Are things on track?
- What do you need to change or adjust to meet the deadline?
- What additional support do you need?
Be responsive and prepared to make changes based on the answers to those questions.
If you’re looking for a great way to jump-start your progress on any given project, we really love committing to a 30-day challenge. It’s a powerful way to start making big changes in your life in just one month. By committing to doing something small every single day, after 30 days, not only will you have picked up a new habit, but you’ll also be one step closer to the person you want to be.
The 30-day commitment you make doesn’t have to be a major life change, like going from never exercising to running for an hour every day. It can be something small but meaningful, like limiting your screen time, saying positive affirmations each morning, or simply committing to checking in with yourself every day.
This fall, commit to making the most of the season — commit to making meaningful progress on your goals and to making positive changes in your life, and we are certain that you will end the year feeling your best yet.