How to use the changing of seasons for self improvement.

When each season turns into the next, do you have any rituals or practices you like to do? Some self reflection or journaling? Maybe vision boarding, changing your look, cleaning out your home or even watching your favorite seasonal movies. It seems that most of us have some kind of routine we put into place during the changing of seasons.  

“Every season is one of becoming, but not always one of blooming. Be gracious with your ever-evolving self.” -B. Oakman

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Something I do during the end or beginning of each season is reflection through writing. I do this with something called the Year Compass. It’s a series of questions and writing prompts. The first half of the Compass is about the previous year (I just adjust it to whatever month I’m writing in, reflecting since the last one I filled out.) and the second half is looking into the following year. Which I fill out looking one year ahead. I find this really helpful for processing challenging bits of life, feeling grateful for things and setting myself up with meaningful goals. I’ve used the Year Compass specifically since early 2015. I save every one that I fill out in a 3-ring binder and look back on them whenever I feel confused, or like I have made zero progress in life. As it turns out, being able to go back into the “brain” of me from years past is a very healing and interesting thing to do. And so helpful in times of hardship. 

Another thing I do is answer endless questions about everything. I go on Pinterest or other sites with writing prompts and find lists of self-reflection questions. I usually try to find about 100 questions and I answer all of them. Most of them are open ended and wind up being long form answers. These are questions and prompts that really force me to sit and think. About the hows, whys, wants and needs I have. They deal with the past, present and future. And I like that. I like to be able to really think objectively about my life.  

And that’s not all. Whatever age I am, I have to write out that many things I am grateful for. So currently, I write 29 things I am thankful for. And it can’t be too terribly lazy. It needs to be thoughtful. 

After all of that... I set my goals. I usually choose 4-6 big goals. And then I write why I want to achieve them and I try to list out some steps to achieve them. This can be a long process, and I think all of the writing prior to this is very helpful to focus in on what I truly, deeply want to have happen. Goal setting is a very serious thing to me. I take it to heart and it drives me. Knowing the “why” for a goal is so key here. If you have a solid “why” then you’ll do whatever it takes to attain said goal.

My final step is to vision board. I cut up magazines, find the perfect photos and quotes and glue them all into a collage that I frame and hang on a wall. That way, my goals are always visible and right in front of me. It makes them seem reasonable. They’re right there, after all!  

This all might seem like a lot. 

However, I think it’s really important to step back occasionally and assess where you are in life and what you’d like to have happen. You are the master of you, you know?  Self discovery and knowing yourself well are two things that can help improve the quality of your life. They can help you get over things that are plaguing you and they are two qualities that can propel you into abundance. Whatever abundance means to you.

“Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery.” -Matthew Arnold

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Another really healthy practice, is to choose a word and/or quote for the season. Something to focus on and think about daily. This could be a reminder, an affirmation, an inspiration or something else completely. I generally choose a word, an affirmation and a quote. I write them down on post-its and stick them in places I see frequently; the fridge door, bathroom mirror, near my bed, in my car. It really helps to stay focused. 

This season, I have chosen the word blossom. 
It may seem like a silly choice this time of year... autumn transitioning into winter. But there’s really no better time to blossom for me; I love winter. I explore in winter and as far as photography is concerned, it inspires me endlessly. So much has changed in my life over the past couple years, and especially over the past 12 months, that I feel a strong desire to start from scratch. Which requires blossoming. After all, what is life but a constant cycle of beginnings and endings?  

The quote I’ve selected for this season is very important to me and one that I feel deeply, and have for some time. But now feels like the most appropriate time to orbit around these words:
  “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

My affirmation is this: I am safe; it’s only change.

Tell me about your seasonal rituals! Do you have a quote or affirmation that you choose to live by? I would love to hear your seasonal habits!