I don’t know about you, but the minute August 1st arrives, my mind and focus automatically get pulled towards the many transitions that the month holds…
back to school/college preparation and anxiety
the natural conclusion to the relaxed vibe of summer
the countdown to the holidays (yes, crazy I know!)
the impending final quarter of the year and revisiting of my goals & intentions
We all feel it. The kids, me, and pretty much everyone I know.
New beginnings, whether a new school year, a new season, a new relationship, job or chapter are times that need your attention and intention.
Choosing not to give yourself and those that you love a strong foundation for moving through this month of “new”, will leave it open for overwhelm, anxiety and the inability to intentionally create and enjoy the beauty of navigating uncertainty.
So here are a few tips for setting the stage for a stress-free, momentum-filled journey into fall:
1. Get everyone onboard.
I have a son who is beginning his sophomore year of college, but is transferring to a new school so there is some nervous excitement around it. My other son is beginning his senior year of high school which has its own nervous excitement built in. My boyfriend (who moved home for the past six months) has just accepted a job back in Massachusetts so we will be doing the long distance thing again, and I am holding all of the energy of these transitions along with my own exciting, audacious plans for the coming year.
Knowing that we are all managing transition this month, I decided to have a family dinner so that we could each share what we are feeling around our own personal changes, and acknowledge that navigating the uncertainty was going to require a commitment to supporting each other along the way.
Of course, my coachy ways are sometimes a source of joking around my house, but during this dinner, everyone told me how appreciative they were to be able to talk about their stuff, share their own personal stress and understand that they are not alone in feeling that way.
Acknowledging that all of you are sharing similar feelings of uncertainty and anxiety will give each of you permission to come together and support one another.
2. Get clear on what you need.
You have the ability to set the foundation for transition success, which begins with planning for your own time of uncertainty.
I know that if I am not in control of my time, energy, focus and attention, then neither will anyone else around me. Especially during times of transition, I make time to be alone and quiet so that I can understand what I really need for the road ahead. Perhaps it is additional time to exercise, an earlier bedtime, less social commitments (or more of them!), time alone or more support from friends and family; taking time to identify what you do need is part of knowing what will allow you to approach this time with intention.
In addition to knowing what I need, I get really clear on how I want to feel. Rather than stressed out, tense, agitated and anxious, I want to feel relaxed, structured, calm and intentional. Knowing how I want to feel will help to create an environment much the same.
When you take time to identify and understand what you need and how you want to feel, you become able to create a plan for giving it to yourself.
3. Create a milestone map.
A milestone map is the best way to create certainty in a time of uncertainty. Creating a milestone map is nothing more than identifying specific actions and activities that need to happen in order for you to move forward through transition.
Included in my milestone map for the month of August are the move-in date and shopping/errands to prepare for my oldest going to college, all back-to-school tasks that my youngest son needs to take care of before school begins, deadlines for my business that will require me to set aside time to accomplish, and all of the commitments that I have made that include meetings, speaking engagements and other events.
Putting all of these milestones and commitments down on paper and on a calendar will allow you to allocate your most precious resources (time, money, energy and emotion) in a way that enables you to feel the way that you want and navigate the controlled chaos of transition.
4. Schedule a reward.
I always choose a reward for myself as a way to celebrate intentionally moving through times of uncertainty.
Because August is such a transitional month, I typically schedule a spa day or massage for early September when everyone is back to their normal routine. And this year is no different. I have booked a lovely facial and special day with my awesome cousin right after the school year begins. Not only will I have a great time, but it gives me something to look forward to when I know I will be slightly depleted from working hard over the next month.
Navigating uncertainty during transition is hard work and your commitment to moving through it with grace and intention is well worth a fun reward. Celebration is never something to put off!
I hope these tips help you prepare for your own new and next¦let me know how this month plays out for you!