As we head toward the end of a year, we tend to live as if we're in the "finale" of a season. It's time to wrap up our goals for the year, pull together all the elements of our celebration plans, and then let things unfold until it's time to start over on January 1. At this point, making new changes would be like switching things up in the final round of a game, wouldn't it? That depends on how you look at it. If you think that disrupting the status quo will cloud your holiday season or distract you from getting through it, then you probably don't want to "rock the boat." Well, let me tell you a few reasons why I think fall is actually the best time of year for resolutions.
Nature affects our mindsets.
"Fall, leaves, fall" - The poem by Emily Brontë was one of my favorites in my high school English class. It speaks to the death of old things and the darkness of winter. The sight of fall leaves gives me a greater sense of new life than the blossoms of spring. And there's something about the impending dreariness of winter that motivates me to do something new, rather than sitting and waiting. That's not to say that I don't love those days where I tuck myself into a blanket with hot cocoa, but those moments lack bliss when I'm restless. The change of seasons can affect us physically and mentally, so it helps to break out of the mundane and give ourselves reasons to stay encouraged.
You don't have to love pumpkin spice or leaf-peeping to let the transformation of fall enter your life. Just go for a hike or a drive and think about who you want to be. Maybe there's a new habit that you know will encourage you, or maybe there's a major life change that you're afraid to make. What is holding you back? You might not think the weather impacts your life on a deep level, but the way God speaks through His creation has meaning. When you feel a fresh breeze or see vibrant autumn colors, you might just find a shift in your attitude.
Start before the race begins.
Most of us see the beginning of a year as a sort of restart. Even if we go back to the same routines, we tell ourselves that we'll chase new goals and do things differently. But suddenly, spring is upon us, and we compare ourselves to the progress we see in others. Then we start to let our resolutions slide because we think we're too far behind. What if we took ourselves out of this self-created timeline? If we start new things before the hectic end-of-year stretch, we’ll head into the new year with the freedom of having our new habits and outlooks in place.
There are a lot of practical reasons not to change things up, like, "It's the middle of the semester." or "It's hard to join a group when they'll only meet for a few more weeks." But all of our excuses have solutions. There are always ways to take action in the areas that matter. Take a few minutes to ask God for clarity on the things in your life that need a reset or switch-up. Then follow where He leads. When we take the initiative and get creative, we can forge paths to growth, no matter where we are or what our schedules look like. That doesn't only mean we need to do something new; sometimes, we need to let something go, like a falling leaf. I know; I couldn't resist the poetic opportunity there.
God tells us there is "a season for every activity under the heavens," and we can see how He illustrates that through the literal seasons on Earth. The "seasons" in our lives are unique for each of us, and we rely on God's guidance to move us forward. The Bible consistently makes it clear that change is an ongoing vital part of our purpose. It's up to us to listen to our Creator and pursue the new opportunities He has in store for us.
Here are some prompts to get you started on your fall renewal:
- This year, which "seeds" in your life have grown and which have held you back?
- What are some passions or convictions you have ignored?
- What do you want to change before next fall, and how can you work on it daily?
- What are some ways you can sow positivity into the lives of others?
- What are you most thankful for right now? What habits support what you are grateful for and which habits jeopardize those things?
- What will help you connect to God more? What distracts you from His guidance? How can you give yourself boundaries that inspire you?
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.