In the fall*, people normally create happiness by watching changing leaves of gold and red, going to pumpkin patches, and drinking hot cider. Fall 2020, though, will be an unusual one. Students won’t be in class, workers won’t be in the office, there won’t be in-person football games, holidays like Halloween will be socially distanced/minimal if celebrated at all, and loved ones may not be seen on Thanksgiving. Fall and all the wonderful traditions that accompany it will look very different this year. So this week I gave some thought to how you can manage your expectations and set yourself up for a happy and productive fall season.
1. Create a calendar with your goals for the fall
Start by making a list of what you would like to accomplish this season. Do you want to get all of your yearly doctor’s appointments scheduled before January? Or do you need to clean and put away the porch furniture? Do you want to go for a run twice a week? Use a calendar to schedule your goals and prioritize them (color code them if color makes you happy). Checking each task off the calendar will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I love our family calendar. If it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t going to happen! A simple way to create happiness.
2. Start some new fall traditions
As this article from O, The Oprah Magazine, 55 Fun Fall Activities To Try This Year… puts it, this fall you may have to “think outside of the patch.” You might try some simple, fun new seasonal activities like telling ghost stories with your family, baking apple cider donuts, and planting fall flowers. Things may feel different this year but adding new activities, while enjoying your old favorites, will help keep the autumnal spirit alive. You might be surprised to find you like the new traditions with your family even more!
3. Let go of habits formed during the summer
The long, lazy days of summer can feel like being on an extended vacation — more long weekends, less focus on work, getting out of our routines with exercise and healthy eating and drinking habits. With the change of the season it’s the perfect time to reset and develop some positive new habits. Start by making a list of negative habits you have formed, what your motivation was in forming that habit, and a counter motivation to fix the habit. It is easier to change a bad habit into a good one if you take the time to identify the trigger or cue for that habit. Another quick tip: it is easier to install a daily habit than a three times a week habit and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Read my recent article about setting good habits here.
4. Start each day with meditation
I recently listened to The Daily Shine’s episode titled “Cope with Uncertainty.” It’s a guided meditation about the uncertainty facing all of us and how to use our breathing to relax and ease stress. It’s normal during times of stress to wake up feeling anxious. However, taking a few minutes each morning to center yourself and feel connected to the world can make a huge difference. Whenever I take the time to meditate, I feel more positive, energized and ready to take on the day.
Fall 2020 will be a fall unlike any other. However, it’s a perfect time to create happiness. This season you can find joy by creating new goals, re-visiting traditions, resetting habits, and starting a daily meditation. Enjoy this beautiful season and extra time with your family!
(Note: This post was originally published in the Fall of 2020 during the pandemic. But the projects and ideas listed here can benefit your life at any time!)