If you had asked me a few years ago to tell you my favorite season, I would have said, without hesitation, that it’s fall. I love fall colors and the crispness in the air. I love putting my cozy sweaters and favorite jeans back into rotation. And, of course, I love fall flavors, like pumpkin spice and apple crisp.
Fast forward to today and I will still tell you that fall is wonderful, but for one more reason than I saw before. These days, I’m in love with fall’s spirit of culmination.
Fall is not just a transition between the vibrant life of summer and the stillness of winter; it is a profound period that invites us to bring aspects of our lives to fruition. As the leaves turn and the days grow shorter, we too can turn inward, to reflect on our progress and prepare for the quietude ahead. This season serves as a natural reminder to tie up loose ends and savor the fruits of our labor before the year’s end. Below, I explore five areas of life where fall can become a catalyst for completion and celebration.
Professional Projects: Wrapping Up with Intention
Professionally, fall is an opportune time to assess the year’s work and finalize major projects. As the business world ramps up after a typically slower summer, there is momentum that can be harnessed to complete pending tasks. For instance, a marketing team might drive a final quarter campaign to a close, analyzing the data to refine strategies for the coming year. Companies might also finalize budgets and plans, laying a strategic groundwork for the future. This mirrors nature’s preparation for the coming dormancy, ensuring a strong foundation for new growth. It’s worth noting that we might also decide to deliberately defer or dump a project altogether. Bringing something to fruition can also mean that we consciously and mindfully decide to simply end a project that no longer makes sense to take to completion. I will be doing this with a handful of endeavors that I know see as unnecessary.
ACTION STEP: Make a list of all outstanding projects and commitments. Craft a completion plan or decide to set the project aside for a specific date. You might also decide to discontinue something indefinitely. That’s okay too. Not everything you start needs to be finished. Unburden yourself of all your procrastination and unclosed loops.
Personal Commitments: Reflecting and Renewing
On a personal level, fall calls for introspection about our commitments to ourselves and others. Reflecting on the goals set at the beginning of the year, we can celebrate the achievements and recommit to the unmet goals with renewed vigor. This is the time to perhaps finish that novel sitting on the nightstand, or complete a home improvement project that will bring comfort in the winter months. As the leaves fall, we let go of what no longer serves us, creating space for new possibilities.
ACTION STEP: Give some thought to your personal commitments and goals. Have you moved the needle in these areas as far as you had hoped? If not, what are one or two actions you can commit to over the next six weeks. Schedule them into your calendar as non-negotiable tasks that will leave you feeling liberated and accomplished once done.
Relationships: Deepening Bonds
As we gather to celebrate the bounty of the harvest, fall naturally becomes a time to fortify relationships. Whether it’s a regular family dinner or a coffee with a friend, the act of coming together before the holiday rush can help deepen connections. Fall can also be the season to reach out to professional contacts, renewing ties and expressing gratitude for the year’s collaborations, setting a tone of appreciation and continuity.
ACTION STEP: Make plans for some pre-holiday reconnection with a handful of people you want to cherish. Consider making your time together movement and outdoor based so that you can double dip: connection time and a moment to delight in fall’s beauty and crisp temperatures.
Spiritual Growth: A Time for Gratitude and Reflection
The spiritual aspect of fall cannot be understated. This is a period to count our blessings, celebrate a successful harvest, and share our abundance with others. It’s a time of year that lends itself to stepping back, contemplating the journey thus far, and realigning with our core values.
ACTION STEP: Check in and see if there’s something soulful stirring in you. If there is, lean into it and see what you’re feeling and needing. Spend some time contemplating your life at the moment and where it’s been this year. Do some journaling. Go for a long walk. Turn toward yourself.
BONUS: Health and Wellness: Harvesting Good Habits
With an abundance of harvest foods, fall is a perfect time to fine-tune eating habits by incorporating nutritious autumn produce into our diets. It’s also a chance to establish a regular exercise routine that can be sustained indoors during colder weather. Many find it a fitting period to schedule medical check-ups (and use up annual medical benefits), ensuring they go into the holiday season and new year in optimal health.
ACTION STEP: Head to your grocery store’s produce section and explore the local and seasonal offerings. Purchase a few items and incorporate them into this week’s cooking. Think about your favorite fall foods and flavors and look to deliberately savor them. Use this season to reestablish one or two healthy habits to stick to through the holidays.
As we embrace the lessons of fall, we learn the art of finishing what we’ve started with as much passion and intention as when the seed was first sown. This doesn’t mean rushing to the finish line; instead, it’s about moving forward with purpose, ensuring that when the quiet of winter arrives, we can rest easy knowing our affairs are in order. We honor the season’s lessons by allowing ourselves to enter a period of rest and reflection with a sense of accomplishment and peace.
In essence, fall is not just a prelude to winter but a season rich with its own rituals of culmination and celebration. By using this time wisely, we can find harmony with the natural cycles of the world around us, finishing our year with intention and grace.