Falling Forward

Some of you probably thought, “No, it is fall back, spring forward,” when you read this title. That is true about Daylight Savings Time, but that is not the focus of this article. While Daylight Savings Time will end during this quarter and we will fall back to shorter days, I recommend that we “fall forward” in our approach to this season and the one that follows. Let’s embrace fall and winter, and not allow ourselves to become dormant … there is much that can be accomplished in these few months. 

Fall began in September with children back in traditional schools, crisp air with cool mornings and nights, and leaves turning color and beginning to fall. Fall is in full force in October – pumpkins herald the first holiday of the season, with the ghosts and goblins of Halloween welcoming October. Halloween makes way for November and Thanksgiving, when families and friends gather around tables laden with food and blessings. And finally December brings Kwanza, Hanukkah, and Christmas, with people of many faiths celebrating their beliefs. 

October, November, and December are glorious months, filled with holidays and celebrations that encourage us to focus on family, traditions, and all that is good in our lives. While we are doing so, we should reach out and help those who are less fortunate, some lacking even necessities. While this is a season of abundance for many, it isn’t for all. 

While fall is a time of holidays and celebrations, it is also a good time to take stock of how we are doing in our commitments that we made earlier in the year, which we often call our New Year’s Resolutions. With three months left in 2017, we still have time to course correct. What did we plan for this year, and how much have we accomplished? Many of us may need to admit that there isn’t enough time left in this year to accomplish all our goals, but we can make progress if we recommit to what is doable. To some, that is the million-dollar question … what is doable? 

When facing what can seem insurmountable, it is best to break those things down into manageable pieces. Let’s not think, “What is really possible in only three months, especially these three months with so many priorities? How can I add one more thing to my already overcommitted schedule?” Instead, let’s think, “It is possible that by recommitting to my priorities established earlier in the year, I can make significant progress toward my goals.” 

There are three New Year’s Resolution that are very common – losing weight, saving money, and de-cluttering. It is possible to make major progress toward our goals in each of these areas in the three remaining months of this year. 

Breaking three months down into manageable chunks is recognizing that three months includes 12 weeks. It is quite possible for most people to lose one pound a week just by paying attention to what they eat, and eliminating something. That ‘‘something” can be bread and butter, sweets, or fried foods. If done, it is likely that the weight loss will exceed one pound per week. I know this is not easy in this season with all the focus on food, but “easy” wasn’t a requirement! The same is possible about saving money. Do the math with whatever amount is possible to you. Most of us can save a few dollars a week just by paying attention to how we waste money, and determining to stop doing so. 

Decluttering may be even easier than losing weight and saving money. One way to declutter is to clean out our closets of the clothes we no longer wear but are still in good condition, and donate those items to others who can use them. This will also accomplish a point made earlier, helping those less fortunate. 

We can also refuse to bring more stuff in unless and until we take out at least an equal amount. We can even change our spending habits and accomplish two goals at once, decluttering and saving money. What if we purchase experiences instead of stuff for our loved ones? While all experiences are not less expensive than tangible items, some are. We can be creative in this. 

I recognize that making and keeping commitments to eat less, spend less, and reduce clutter will not be easy in this season, as this is the season of abundance. There will be many detractions that can get us off course in keeping our commitments to ourselves. But it is possible. We can fall forward and embrace this season of change by changing ourselves.