Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Ever since I was a little kid, September has been an exciting time. You liked it too, come on, don't kid yourself. Sure it was bittersweet, no more long hot muggy days in the woods making mud pies and getting poison ivy on top of mosquito bites. Yet the anticipation of starting school again and seeing my classmates was just titillating. My mom would pile all 4 of us in the car and brave Kmart and the crowds of other frantic moms, outfitting us for another year of successful academic enterprise. I can just smell my brand new Trapperkeeper, plastic folders, rubber erasers and the fresh varnish in the school gym…. ahhh….. It’s such a shame that the aromatic sensation of toxic chemicals of the 80’s brings me joy.
Some of y’all have had the summer off- shout out to the hard working students and teachers! The rest of us who did not stop working (including all the stay at home parents working overtime) have also been busy with summer frivolity... No matter what category you fall into, when we get back to our routines in the fall, we have an opportunity to approach our work with fresh perspective. It is a great time of year to build new habits and get really intentional about our priorities. If we're lucky, we are well rested, well tanned, well fed on fresh local produce and energized from time spent with friends and family. After a playful and joyful summer season, we have all this physical energy and mental enthusiasm to dive right into the autumn ahead.
Once school starts, my family life will conform to the demands of my daughter’s school schedule. We've been at this for a few years so I know what has worked for us and what has epically failed. I've found that the first week back into our routine is actually not the best time to do anything remotely different for dinner. Like using the instant pot for the first time, or preparing buttermilk marinated chicken tenders from scratch, before soccer practice, on a Wednesday. Oh, and I learned that I shouldn't start adding false eyelashes to my very, very low maintenance makeup routine. Or anything that will take more than 5 minutes, or involves “drying time”.
I have a tendency to get a super excited about new, better and more productive changes I can make to my routine in September. At the core, I really want to be there for my family and provide stability, amazing, healthy meals and loving comfort for the people I love, while also showing up 1000% at work, and (most importantly) taking good care of myself. When I am all charged up with the emotions around why I do what I do, I can get carried away with all the possibilities of things I can do better and faster. Pinterest and Real Simple are totally my jam this week.
When getting back into your routine, you may find it helpful to think about who you want to BE this fall. What are your priorities? Take a moment and imagine what will bring you JOY. (This is the part where you close your eyes and visualize yourself happy and balanced- so just do it, for like a minute.) Who are you BEING?
I’ve learned that I want to BE a loving parent, more than I want to be a 5 star chef. I know that I want to BE present and authentic as a leader rather than make myself look like a Kardashian everyday (which is totally ok if you chose to, no judgement) or act like someone I am not. I want to BE a person who maintains good health, not necessarily the person training for a marathon. Having this clarity makes planning my activity far easier.
Ok so you can open your eyes now. Oh wait, I guess they were open for you to read this. Well, if you didn’t do it, go back to the part where you have to close your eyes.
On a practical level, how can you live your values and honor your time in a way that is reasonable and manageable? When you think about who you want to BE, you will be able to choose what routines serve that purpose. It‘s pretty simple really. Just ask yourself what priority the activity is really serving. Put another way, what value does it bring your your life? You may actually find that you are just fine with how things are. Or you may not.
When the time comes, consider starting your routine a few days to a week before you have to get back to school/work. This will help you adjust to the change. If you decided that you want to BE someone different and ARE planning to change something about your routine, practice it before the first day. For example, if you want to BE a more stylish person and decide to finally try out that curling iron (or eyelashes) for the first day back, try it a few days beforehand to see how it goes. Nothing is worse than the pressure of trying to make yourself look remotely presentable after you’ve been at it for 45 minutes but you have to walk out the door like NOW to get to work on time. We've all been there people, it's time we learn from this. Break the cycle!
On that note, if you have a tendency to run behind schedule, eh-hem, budget an extra 10 minutes for everything. EVERYTHING. Even if it means waking up earlier in the morning. Especially if it means peeling yourself away from Netflix and going to bed earlier. Always when there are children involved. Giving yourself this time is a gift. You certainly won’t BE what you want to BE if you're panicking about BEing late...
My dear friends, life is short and we spend the majority of it living in our routines. About 70% of our daily activity is habitual. Knowing this, make those habits intentional ones that support your values. This September you have a fresh opportunity to prioritize JOY and decide who you want to BE.
And really, if you still haven't done it by now- just close your eyes for a dog gone minute and get clear on who you want to BE.
Becoming an iPec Coach
New Growth Coaching LLC