Kick Off Fall with September Self-Improvement Month
by Gail Goolsby
Goodbye to lazy days of summer and vacation leisure. Hello to set schedules for kids and adults. Time for school and daily routines. Fall is here.
Freshly sharpened pencils. New clothes and unscuffed shoes. Sports teams with unblemished records. Blank report cards ready to register best grades ever.
Fall presents new opportunities. Make the most of Self-Improvement September by focusing on areas of your life left unattended over the summer or needing a reboot. Here is a brief checklist to get you started.
- Take inventory. Identify dissatisfaction with your current life patterns and habits. Ask God what could be working better in your relationships. Physical and emotional health? Career activity? Home tasks? Spiritual growth?
- Recognize feelings but focus on actions. Feelings are important and you need to read the signals they send. But, in truth your actions impact your feelings and so behaviors should be assessed with sound reasoning. Feelings change easily and can form a trap and hindrance to life satisfaction. What actions need to be ramped up or altered to feel better about your life?
- Check self-talk. Do you constantly criticize or speak negatively to yourself? Do you cheer yourself through hard tasks or easily give up and then berate your poor performance? Taking on new challenges requires a positive attitude and ongoing encouragement. Remember past accomplishments more than recent failures.
- Set steps for reaching goals. Once a plan of action is formulated toward self-improvement, smaller, measurable steps are needed at regular intervals. This requires commitment and work, but gives motivation as advancement is documented and you inch closer to your goals.
- Utilize resources. Prayer and God’s Word offer powerful inspiration and reminders of Who is always working for your good (and His glory!). Friends, co-workers, life coaches, and family members can be earthly gifts of accountability and encouragement. Let them celebrate with you as they support your efforts (and maybe join you in their own self-improvement goals).
- Embrace hope. As you develop new activities, relationships, and daily disciplines, keep your head up and recognize each day signals possibility and hope for better. Look for God helping you in small and big ways. Tell yourself this truth, you can improve.
Kick yourself into gear and make September a trophy month of self-improvement!
About the Author:
Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 39 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well. Read more at www.gailgoolsby.com.
Growing up, I believed a lot of things.
- I was fat and lazy and of no worth to anyone
- I was meant to stay in the background and have little to no voice
- I would always be the smart one, good for an answer, but never the option for the opposite sex
After awhile, I shut down and used all my dreams for my characters. I wore the colors I was told I should adopt and the length of hair and style suggested for me.
Deep down, way deep down, I wanted to be the bold one.
- The girl with fire-engine red hair and spunk to match
- The one who could be counted on for a smart answer and a smart man by my side
- The one who could embrace color in everything about me
I’ve come a long way since then and God has really transformed me. My hair has the red and I definitely have a spunk about me. As I’ve watched the so-called pretty girls find man after man, marriage and then divorce, I’m closing in on twenty years with the same man. Something I never dared dream.
But more than that, God gave us a child that doesn’t have the fears I was shackled by. Even in the womb she had sass, moving everytime the doctor tried to get a heartbeat. Refusing to reveal herself until she was ready to debut her gender. At five days old she pushed me to a better position for nursing. She has her own drum, and she’s not afraid to use it.
She’s also had to fight for things I never had to. Like her very life. School isn’t easy for her. But even as I’m watching her evolve into a young lady where she’s paying more attention to her hair and overall appearance, she’s got that flair for boldness I wanted so much as a kid.
Like the earmuffs.
She wanted earmuffs over Christmas break when it was in the 50’s. She knew we were going to have a cold spell and she looked between Upstate NY, PA and Ohio in our travels for a pair. There weren’t any. We return home and she went to the local Justice store and there they were.
The boldest, most confident ear muffs I’ve ever seen.
They draw attention, let me tell you. And I’m watching those that see her with them on.
They aren’t smiling out of mockery.
They applaud her boldness and confidence.
And dare I assume, I think they want a pair, too.
Looking at those ear muffs, I realized how much she’s changed me. I now look for things that sparkle and have some pizazz. I too looked for ear muffs but came out with a little more mainstreamed look. But honestly?
I can feel it deep down, just like I did as a kid.
I want to wear her ear muffs.
See what it’s like to wear cat, furry ears in bold colors.
Do a little cat walk with bravado.
Probably, but most likely you’ll never see it.
But it will be my little victory, and I’m going to savor it.