Wellbeing: How to embrace the opportunities autumn brings
In his new regular column no nonsense lifestyle coach Karl Williams – who helps clients to build better habits and break bad ones – urges us to see the opportunity in change
Look around. Maybe you notice the leaves on the trees changing colour, that Starbucks have their Pumpkin Spiced Latte on the menu, Christmas decorations fill the shops, or that people are wearing more clothes.
Hate it or love it, autumn is here, and change is in the air. Dealing with change can be hard, but it can also be a good thing. It all starts with your mindset.
We are wired to be more sensitive to the negative than the positive. Back in the day, it paid to be more aware of the lion creeping up on you than the berries on the bush you just passed.
But what once helped us survive can prevent us from thriving in today’s much safer world.
Overcoming this bias requires conscious effort, but it’s work worth doing. With change, there is often loss, but there is also opportunity. For example, longer, darker nights are a great opportunity to work on improving your sleep, the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Colder days may make it easier to be in the gym rather than a beer garden or beach. Seasonal fruit and vegetables offer different dishes and healthy comfort food. The shorter days may make it more appealing to get outside and go for a walk to get some sun and fresh air on your lunch break.
I am not asking you to believe that one season is better than another. What I am asking you to practice is acceptance. Denying that we are heading into winter won’t stop it from happening, but it will make you feel worse about it. ‘It is what it is’, is an excellent attitude to adopt here.
Once you've accepted it, you can look for positives and opportunities ahead of you. One of the biggest being a fresh start. We love fresh starts. New Years, Birthdays, Mondays, new months.
A chance to pin all the failures on the past you and start again; a clean slate.
Why not use nature’s new season to usher in your own?
It can be tempting to think about next year and write off the last three months, but that’s a mistake.
Change takes time and the best time to start is today. There are two ways I would approach this.
First, you can assess whether your current goals are still important and, if not, change them.
Quitting is not failing if it stops you from investing more time and energy on something that no longer serves you.
If you want to change how you look and feel for next summer, winter is the time to do the work, free from the pressure and the allure of quick fixes because you left it too late.
But what if your goal is the same?
Well, this ties back into what I said earlier about opportunity. You can still aim for the same outcome while changing the methods you use to get there; your habits.
We can get so attached to one way of doing things that we forget there are others.
And when we can’t do things the way we want, we get stressed or quit. Instead, we need to pivot to a different way of doing things that provides a similar reward.
As the proverb says: ‘Methods are many. Principles are few. Methods always change. Principles never do’. The question isn't ‘what do I do if I can’t?’ It's ‘How do I do given the current situation?’
One last thing; ever wonder why movies put so much effort into the ending? It’s because we remember them more so than we do any other parts. What you do over the next three months can shape how you remember this year.
The trees lose their leaves to ensure their survival over winter.
What can you change to keep your dreams alive and start 2024 in the best way possible?
Find out more about Karl at karlwilliams.co
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