"All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible." – Orison Swett Marden
I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t New Year’s the best time to set goals?” Hardly. According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. Despite all the new gym memberships, a week of telling friends about what goals will be met, and morning pep talks, we just don’t follow through. If we think about it, we’re all coming off an emotional high from the holidays. We’ve just seen our loved ones and made another year of good memories. We’ve also had a break from our careers and school, giving us time to think about what we don’t like about ourselves that in this coming new year, WE. WILL. FINALLY. CHANGE! Then January hits us like a truck. Those relaxed days have turned into frantic hours at the office trying to catch up. We’re playing catch-up in the classroom. At home, we’re trying to set ourselves back in a normal routine. Here are 5 reasons why we need to set our goals in the fall:
1. You know your schedule and can look at your goals realistically. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn
For those without kids, summer vacation was a while ago. You’re fully in the swing of work and can look at your schedule to properly carve out time. For those with kids, the kids are now back in school. If you’re not working, you have a good 6 or 7 hours of time to fill, all of which can be applied to accomplishing your goal. In addition, your schedule is set. You know what you have to do and where you have to be at certain times. This is a prime opportunity to analyze your free time and weigh it against the goals you want to achieve. You can map out the hours you have available, and create a new schedule where those hours become permanent—set aside solely to allow you to focus on your goals.
2. People rarely vacation in the fall. “Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” – J.C. Penney
Too many times, if there is something we’re looking forward to, like a vacation or a holiday, that takes precedence over our goals. We all love vacations, and part of the reason is they’re a mental break—a time to stop thinking about everyday responsibilities and reward ourselves with something new and exciting. Ever notice how hard it is to concentrate on a job or schoolwork when in just two short weeks, you’ll be lying on a beach, or screaming down a roller coaster at Disney World? That vacation is so much in our brains, releasing enough endorphins to make us giddy with excitement, that all we’re concentrating on is getting to the vacation. The day-to-day is out the window. When it’s the fall, you’re in the thick of the day-to-day. There are no major surprises to your schedule, and you can carve out the time you need without the threat of vacation sabotage.
3. It’s getting colder. “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar
So what does the weather have to do with setting goals? Think about how you feel at the onset of spring. There’s a warm breeze in the air. Flowers are starting to bloom. The days are brighter, and greenery is popping up everywhere. You want to be outside. Maybe you’re taking your bike for long rides or going jogging in the park. You want to be physically active. And unless you’re a skier or snowboarder, winter is for hunkering down. In most states, winter means we’re indoors most of the time, without the draw to throw ourselves into nature. Sure, a pretty walk through fall leaves is fantastic, but when the sun starts to dip, we’re looking for shelter. When you’re stuck indoors, it’s the perfect time to take the steps necessary to accomplish your goals. Without summer breezes beckoning, it’s easier to focus. It’s easier to dedicate yourself to a task. It’s easier to follow through on your plan.
4. It’s the perfect time for reflection. “This one step—choosing a goal and sticking to it—changes everything.” – Scott Reed
By October, we’re in the 10th month of the year. We’ve got a 3/4ths sample size to look back on and analyze. What accomplishments have we achieved so far? What were our favorite moments; the things we enjoyed the most? What did we dislike about the year? In the fall, we’re in the perfect position to take stock of our lives. Just as the leaves fall from the trees, we too can shed the habits that have held us back from achieving our goals and position ourselves for new growth. Grab a piece of hot apple pie and a nice cup of coffee, and start using the fall to contemplate the future you want to have.
5. You’re getting a jump-start on the year ahead. “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso
Going back full circle to New Year’s, 80% of resolutions fail because they’re made on the spot. Most people only began to think about what their resolution would be two days prior to the ball dropping. By thinking about your goals in the fall, you’re giving yourself 2-to-3 good months of deep thought and planning. You have time to go over different scenarios, figure out the bumps and roadblocks you’ll face, and map out a realistic, step-oriented plan. You can dissect it and rebuild it over and over again, until what you have left is a plan you have confidence in and can see as possible. This is the “a-ha” moment, where you can envision exactly how you’re going to tackle each step. And the beauty of it is that you’ve now planned a whole year’s time that you can dedicate to achieving your goals. What is the role of education in goal achievement? “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." – John Dewey When we think about big goals, they usually involve a major change. If your goal centers on gaining in your career or switching careers entirely, a degree can help make it possible. With Strayer University operating on quarters, the fall is the perfect time to talk with a counselor, Student Services Coach or admissions officer. We can elp you draw up a plan that will fit school into your schedule, and then when the winter quarter begins in January, get you in the classroom learning all the skills and knowledge you need to accomplish your goals.