One of the hallmarks of August for many is the change from the laid-back, relaxed days of summer to a busier agenda in the season of fall. This is not just true for kids returning to school but everyone in one or more aspects of life.
Summer in and of itself can bring on a well-needed pause or interruption of our traditional schedules and busy routines. Summer invites more chill time, new adventures, learning new things, outright fun experiences, and even well-needed boredom. Now, fall is on the horizon with a whole new list of priorities and focus.
The shift is not just about the transition with returning to school or to a busier agenda at work or more structure in our routines and schedules. This shift is also about a new-found awareness from a different experience or change of activities over the last several months and how it applies to the present and the near future. There might have been some big aha’s or subtle conclusions along the way this summer that fueled our mindset, values, decision-making, and even our habits. The question becomes how do they inform us as we step into the next twelve months.
Maybe you have heard this before. It was shared by our Pastor at church this week. “Sometimes you need to slow down before you can speed up or be clear about your next round of choices and commitments.” I had the opportunity to take some time to do this over the summer and found it to not just be restful, but also a chance to reflect back and think forward. There were definitely some shifts to be gleaned. The result was feeling more focused and prepared to take on the mission of the next several months and a refreshed perspective on what comes next.
What’s your shift? Maybe you already have that figured out. If so, you are way ahead of many. If not, here are a few things to help you think of yours.
Reflect on the Summer
I bet there were moments you really enjoyed, thoughts you wouldn’t necessarily have had time for. What were the highlights of your summer? What did you truly look forward to? What did you experience differently? What did you learn about yourself? What big decisions or conclusions did you make?
- Grab something to capture your thoughts, perhaps a journal, whiteboard, Word doc, or pen and paper.
- Let your mind think through these things to allow the awareness a chance to surface.
- Jot down the big ideas, aha’s, and conclusions.
How does the awareness inform you in the Present?
What will you want to be mindful of as you move into the fall season or the next several months? For each of us, it will be different things based on the stage we are in with life and what’s on the horizon.
- Reflect on your highlights and see if you can pinpoint the moments that align most with your values, strengths, and what makes you happy.
- Who you choose to be. Your values and goals. How you operate day in and day out. What you might be unnecessarily tolerating. What do you want to experience differently in the days, weeks, and months going forward?
How does it inform your next steps?
Covey’s famous concept begins with the end in mind is a good one here. A helpful next step is to allow yourself to wonder, to imagine what your good or great looks like as you make the next shift.
- For working adults, it might be less overwhelm, stress, and burnout, more tasks crossed off your list, and a real sense of accomplishment and traction.
- For students, it might be more connection, making new friends, staying on top of assignments, better grades, and more interesting things to do.
- For parents, it is definitely an opportunity to tune in to some of those self-care needs and projects that were overlooked or went by the wayside while shuffling kids around or keeping them busy in the summer months. What else?
There is no better time than now to do the exploring and invite open, non-judgmental conversations with those involved. A little interest-based goal-setting and brainstorming can do wonders. Heads up – No automatic negative thoughts are allowed or welcome here. Let the person taking the action do the talking. Be a good listener, and reflect back on what you hear. Ask questions from a place of curiosity. Ask yourself,
- What will I want my return to … look like and feel like?
- What will I do differently?
- What goals and actions can help me accomplish that?
- Are there resources or support I can put in place?
Keep your focus short-term enough that you can put some of those ideas into action right away. Pick something to take action on and do it right away to set intentions into motion.
Here’s to you and your success as you shift into what comes next.
ADHD Coach | Center For Living Well with ADHD, LLC