Have you been wondering what ever happened to my monthly goal-setting series? I’ve been working hard to bring it back for the second half of 2022! If this is your first visit here, thanks for joining me! Back in 2019, I decided to start setting three goals for myself each month. My objective was to be more intentional in my day-to-day life. Last year, I found myself in need of a more gentle, grace-giving approach. One that offers me accountability, joy, and connection – but with much less pressure. I decided to shift this to a series of monthly intentions. Here are my September intentions for 2022.
“Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul… but I must confess that I love you only because you are a prelude to my beloved October.”
― Peggy Toney Horton
I’m not sure how the first of the month keeps sneaking up on me but here I am again, surprised to discover it’s already September! The weather here has been in the 90s every day. It’s humid as all get out so it feels hard to believe autumn is right around the corner. We spent our first week of August at the beach with my sister and her family. It was a perfect close to our busy vacation season. Then we worked hard at slowing down and savoring the final weeks of summer break. We do our best to squeeze the last bits of summer out of these final sweltering hot days. And then we slowly begin transitioning to fall.
September is usually a very inspiring month for me because it’s the doorway to autumn, which is my VERY favorite time of the year!
Cue – lighting my fav candles, eating a ton of apples, making our fall bucket list, thinking about our family Halloween costumes, and planning alllll the exciting camping trips. Things are a little different for us this year since Noah is officially in Kindergarten. We are going to have to be more strategic about planning trips that align with the school calendar. But we can’t wait to get to the mountains and enjoy our airstream travel camper some more this year! I just got all excited typing that out!!! The shift in seasons always leaves me feeling hopeful and eager for what’s ahead.
Back in August I chose three intentions for myself and I love taking a little bit of time in these posts to review!
My first August intention was to work on washing smaller loads of laundry more frequently. I’ve had a bad habit in the past of letting the laundry pile up until we are all sort of swimming in it. Then I would try to crank through several humongous loads and end up feeling completely overwhelmed. The back end of how much work that is needed to be done to fold and put it all away would absolutely defeat my motivation. Dirty laundry stays pretty well contained at our house (thank you clothes hampers and children that actually use them pretty well), but clean laundry is what is often cluttering up our spaces.
I would fold a huge basket full and then not put it away for days and we would have to pick through it to find the matching parts of pj sets (because lord knows the pjs have to match!).
Being intentional about washing smaller strategically sorted loads has proven to be a GAME CHANGER. By splitting the kids dirty clothes into piles of pjs separate from outfits, pool towels from bath towels, kids sheets from adults, I cut my load size down significantly. It also made the back end feel so much more manageable. I used to feel like I had to have a big chunk of uninterrupted time to crank through it all. Now I find that I can knock out the folding and putting away of a whole load in ten minutes while kids are in the bathtub! I was even able to involve them more easily with smaller loads because it felt less daunting for me to have them participate in the process. I am much more motivated to tackle this chore than I was a month ago.
My second intention was to eat breakfast more regularly. Simply adding “breakfast” to my to do list each day seemed to make a difference. I looove crossing things off my list and that was an easy one that I accomplished simply by being more mindful about it. Ate a lot of peach parfaits with the bags of peaches Paul kept bringing home from roadside fruit vendors. I also started boiling a whole dozen eggs every time I did a grocery haul. And found this made for a super simple option that the kids and Paul loved having on hand too! I’m hoping I can keep up this momentum as we head into the school season because it seemed to really help me start my day on the right foot.
Intention #3 was to slow down and savor the last weeks of summer.
Our version of slowing down looked more like leaning in to the last few weeks of summer vacation. While we didn’t exactly clear our schedules, we did make more time for more of our slower summer favorite activities. Swimming at the pool, hanging out at our neighborhood playground, playing soccer, spending time with friends and family, visiting our local children’s museum, lazing around in our pjs past noon most days. We also went bowling as a family for the first time. And went to see a movie in theater for the first time since February 2020. It felt like the perfect pace to wrap up our summer season.
My September Intentions 2022
1. Start and practice a daily evening ritual (including a set bedtime!)
I go to bed WAAY too late for how early I start each day. For the past several years I’ve been trying to stick with the habit of waking up earlier than my family. In theory, this holds space for a little “me time” before the demands of my day begin. But with the nature of parenting being is as unpredictable as it is, this proves to be easier said than done. I swear my youngest has psychic powers. Or at least an internal radar that signals him whenever I’m out of my bed (even from different rooms – his senses are fine tuned!). As a result, my morning “me time” rarely goes uninterrupted. There are so few moments of calm and quiet in our days. Missing this morning “me time” ultimately takes its toll on my patience and inner peace.
What I find myself doing is lingering longer and longer into the quiet hours of the night after kids have gone to sleep. Seeking a peace that comes in those moments of stillness.
After tidying up the kitchen and downstairs a bit in preparation for a new day, I typically still have about two hours before my ideal bedtime. Plenty of time for reading or catching up with friends! Maybe even for trying a new hobby! Certainly time enough for me to work on writing more than one blog a month! But do I end up doing any of those things? Nooo! More often than not, I stretch out on the couch to “relax and decompress” a bit and find myself reaching for my phone. This usually leads me straight down into one rabbit hole or another. Curse this device – I hate knowing how easily I too often succumb to the mindlessness scrolling of social media.
Why is this one of my August intentions?
Not only do I want to set better boundaries for myself with my phone, I am also acutely aware of the fact that screens before bed do not make for healthy sleep habits. Why sit around wasting my time spiraling down rabbit holes? I’d much rather be intentional with the quiet hours of my evening. A few things I keep saying I’d love to start doing regularly before bed include drinking a cup of hot tea, stretching, writing in my one-line-a-day journal, and reading some of the great books I’ve had stacked on my bedside table forever! And gosh and I’d really love to start an evening skincare routine!
One of my friends has a very extensive evening routine where she turns her bathroom into a mini-spa. She turns on mellow music, lights a candle, and uses fancy lotions and potions to pamper herself before bedtime. Every time she talks about it I think wow – that sounds amazing, maybe I should give it a try. Lately all I’ve been able to muster the energy for is to get my teeth brushed and flossed every night!
>> Action plan: I’m going to set an alarm to remind me to put the phone down for good for the night at least 30 min to an hour before bedtime. Try to pre-plan or at least brainstorm ideas of what I’d like to do in the evening in my down time. I try to map out the week in my calendar every Sunday so it would be fun to pencil in things I’d like to be more intentional about into that small block. Even if it’s just relaxing and watching a tv show!
The biggest thing I want to try and get in the habit of is getting upstairs to bed 30 minutes before bedtime. This will ensure I have plenty of time to do all the things. Wash my face, moisturize, floss, and brush my teeth at the bare minimum. I want to keep my bedside table set up for success with a pen and my journal, my reading light charged and ideally not use my books as nightstand coasters.
2. Spend More Time Practicing Photography
Taking photographs is a hobby I truly enjoy and yet never seem to make enough time for. I have always had a love affair with photographs. I’ve kept scrapbooks, photo collages, and boxes of photographs from my whole life. When my grandmother died several years ago, she left me her collection of family photos she had saved over a lifetime. This was a priceless gift for me. I have incredibly fond memories of pouring over those albums for hours as a child when I would visit her.
This month I decided I really want to prioritize learning to use my DLSR camera better and making a point to take more photographs. I think one major reason I’ve lost my spark lately is that I’ve struggled to capture the shots that I want to in manual mode due to my lack of basic understanding. I know part of mastering the skill is simply to practice (and then practice more!). Unfortunately I get frustrated when I feel like I can “see” a great shot but am not quick enough to decide what settings to use to catch it with the camera in time. So I decided I need to take a course to teach me some basics.
I enrolled in a virtual photography course with some amazing photographers I have followed on Instagram for quite a while now – Hobbs Photography. I’m getting super excited about it! I hope it will help me fine tune some knowledge and feel more confident when I’m shooting. It seems like time is flying by so fast these days, especially this summer. My boys are growing and changing and the moments feel so fleeting. I want to capture as much of the magic of these days I can!
Why is this one of my September intentions?
One of my favorite things is being able to pull a moment up to memory just by looking at a picture. I want to be intentional about capturing these days of our lives. To tell the story of us. I also want to be present IN the story (not just a hidden face behind the camera).
Action plan: Keep my camera on hand for easy access. Get as much out of my virtual course as I can. Make an effort to bring my nice camera along for simple every-day excursions and to snap shots of ordinary moments at home whenever possible. Post on instagram for some accountability (keep a look out and hold me to it!).
3. Create an Autumn Bucket List for our family & start checking things off this month
Autumn is BY FAR my favorite season of the year. There are so many things I love about it. I am so excited to sit down as a family and make a bucket list of everything we want to do together to embrace this time of year. Paul and I have been doing this together since before we even had kids! It has always been so much fun. With Noah being on a traditional school calendar we will have to be a little more strategic with our planning in the upcoming year. This means getting a head start on things like planning camping trips and/or heading to the mountains. Also, we can find ways to stretch the season out a little longer so we can all enjoy it even more this year!
Why is this one of my September intentions?
Fall is just on the horizon and I LOVE fall so so much (did I mention that already?!). We are less than 20 days out from the Autumn Equinox and I’m ready to get a jump on things to look forward to! Now that school has started and the most exciting days of summer are behind us, we want to start savoring this next season! I even bought a bag of candy corn at the store and we’ve eaten the whole thing already!
Action plan: Brainstorm all the fun ideas we can come up with as a family. Find a fun way to creatively display our ideas (maybe something like my friend Kelle Hampton does for her bucket lists). Plan several specific activities we can start checking off this month – backyard tent camping, first of autumn-inspired art project, eating dinner out back by the fire, etc. Start enjoying my FAVORITE SEASON OF ALL!