Accepting the end of summer has been a bit hard, as we had quite nice weather here in Ireland this year. But for the last couple of weeks autumn has been beckoning loudly, and with just two days left in August, it’s time to embrace it…
I actually always liked September. Even when I was in school. Not that I loved school, but I always enjoyed the anticipation of the new year. Getting a new timetable, new books, new stationary. And the sense of possibility of the new year stretching ahead. What adults feel in January, school kids feel in September.
But I never lost that in adulthood. I still get that Back to School feeling. It’s like a New Year reboot. As we start hunkering down for winter, it feels good to have a plan as to how we’ll make the most of the long, dark evenings. Aim for something better than vegging in front of the telly…
Of course, like New Year’s resolutions, September intentions also have a way of falling by the wayside when the winds are howling and the rains are lashing against the pane. “I’ll go to Bootcamp another evening, tonight my body just wants to rest in front of the fire and my mind wants to numb out watching drivel on TV.”
Oops, there I go again – not following through on my promises to myself! (A big No No for a certified Life Coach – oh well!)
But thankfully, over the last few years I’ve learned to treat goals as Could Do’s instead of Should Do’s. Shoulds are not good for us, in my opinion. In fact, in my case, I actively resist them. And when I do set goals, they start to generate a kind of “should-ing” energy. And then I start to lose interest in them very quickly. So, for me, goal-setting is often counter-productive!
But here we are again, on the cusp of September, and I’m itching to set myself a few goals. I want to establish a routine that will set me up for a productive winter. But I’m also keenly aware that the first step, a supportive morning routine, the one that will help me follow through on the others, is one I’m verrrry likely to fail at. But that’s ok, because these days I’m more tuned into the optional approach.
So much so that as I write this I’m laughing at myself. Because I have actually being practicing this particular option, with very little success, all summer. (Unless you count as success, which I kinda do, the fact that I haven’t beaten myself up for not following through on it) For months now, I’ve been setting my alarm for 6.30am, with a view to snoozing until 7.00, allowing myself plenty of time to meditate, wash, have breakfast and read something inspiring before 9.00am. Setting myself up for the day in a positive way, and having loads of time then to get through whatever tasks I am facing.
I could probably count on one hand the number of times that has happened. Usually it’s 8.00 by the time I’m getting up to meditate, and while I never skip that, the inspiring reading part has totally suffered. That’s a great pity. Because when I have time for it, that always makes a huge difference to my attitude throughout the day. Instead, I found myself skipping that most days as it’s already 9.30 – 10.00 before I’m finished breakfast and ready to start work…
So, the first step of my new autumn regime is to actually implement the summer one that I fell down on. Well, I’m just keeping it as an option instead of dismissing it because it hasn’t worked for me so far. Of course, if it was difficult to rise earlier in the summer, when it was bright outside, it’s going to be a more challenging ask as the mornings get colder and darker.
But I’ve realised that that is just part of life. Wanting to do something. Failing in some way. Trying again. I have a vision for myself – being the person who gets up reasonably early, without any great struggle, and spends two hours in self-care activity before getting into anything that falls in the category of tasks.
I haven’t managed to get there yet. But I’m holding on to the vision. This is the morning routine I aspire to, and if I can keep an energy of preference around it, avoiding the ol’ Should Syndrome, I believe I can get there eventually. I might not be there by October. But if I’m there by this time next year, that will be success. And everything in between will be progress.