Article - A new season: rewriting the goal-setting rule book

A new season: rewriting the goal-setting rule book

Well through January and I’m still resisting getting on with my year. As a coach, motivator and planner of the good life, this feels somewhat incongruent. Except there is a wonderful reason.

A theory that I have long embraced is perhaps our annual planning should not align with a calendar year. Instead, should we look to the seasons for mapping our success?

Nature has cycles of activity that operate like clockwork.  Trees shed their leaves in autumn, and new buds appear in the warmer temperatures of spring. Lambs are born in spring and birds migrate in winter.  Tides come in at times estimated to the minute.  The sun rises and sets with the same precision.  And it’s all according to nature’s inherent system for growth.

We operate in rhythms as well.  There are the obvious rhythms such as sleep and wake times, and patterns for eating.  And then more subtle rhythms such as when our bodies replenish, heal, revitalise and grow.  When we adhere to these rhythms and provide ourselves with enough sleep, nutritious food, and sufficient exercise; we thrive.  When we push against these rhythms and burn the midnight oil, eat too much of the wrong foods, and keep our bodies idle; we suffer.

There is a pattern for nurturing our bodies, and so too there is a pattern for nurturing our life.

Summer is a time to reap what we’ve sown, relax and recoup, unwind, refresh, daydream and prepare for the seasons ahead – not for goal setting.  In accordance with these natural systems, autumn is the season for new plans, change, and making a difference.  So it’s no wonder you may be finding it hard to get started.  For now, lets go s  l  o  w and daydream – think about the following ideas as a way to be ready for the big changes that autumn will inspire.

  • What one word would you use to describe your year last year?  Then as you think about the year ahead, choose a word that you’d like to be your theme for this year – calm, focused, me, growth, independence, security, health.  This is your foundation for 2016.
  • Instead of listing all that you’d like to do or have this year, have a think about who you’d like to be… An affectionate partner, a fun-loving mum, a focused business owner, energised, kind, organised… Success is a process that starts with who you’re being.
  • Pencil down ideas of how you want to spend your time this year and who with. For example; your wonderful children, walking on the beach, learning, time for yourself, keeping your home a little bit organised, friends, adventures, rituals.  When we prioritise the things that nourish us we thrive – and this is when our goals and resolutions come to fruition.
  • Think about what works and what doesn’t.

Make three lists: keep, stop, and start.  List six things you will keep doing, 6 things that you will stop doing and 6 things your will start doing.  Nice and simple…

Visit for loads of inspiring resources and worksheets to ensure your year starts well.

Sarah Laurie is an author, speaker and coach, who has a passion and practical advice for living well. Find out more on her website.

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