Autumn is the season of harvests, festivals, winter preparations and, of course, spectacular foliage. We are beginning to feel a crisp chill in the evening air, leaves are showing their bright colors, gardens are being harvested and you can begin to see the Canada geese in formation as they consider their migration.

What does autumn bring to your household? Are you preparing for the back-to-school organized chaos? Do you love and equally dislike (my mom won’t let me say hate) the chore of watering and caring for the flowers and garden now that you’ve done it for the last three months? Will we soon be heard complaining about the cold vs. the heat? Or, what projects are you now in a time crunch to finish before the snow flies?

Yep, that last one is me personally. Personally, my life is easier if I create a “to-do” list but sometimes actually creating the “to-do” list can be a bigger undertaking than accomplishing the actual project/task/chore. Professionally, the YMCA is closing in on the completion of the Sheridan Community Aquatic Center (no firm date yet but trust it is getting closer).

I’ve read several articles on how to assist staying on task and therefore make progress toward goals. Do any of them ring true for you?

Set short-term goals. Whether preparing for any of the above mentioned autumn challenges, short-term goals will assist you in feeling successful and give you the ability to stay on track. For me, I have often had to dial even the short-term goals down. I’m a dreamer and talker. That can be a frightful combination if you are the partner of a dreamer and talker. We are dreaming and talking through the actual project, which has a tendency to change throughout the dreaming and talking stage.

Back to that dreaded “to-do” list. Have you considered, while creating your list, how accomplished you may feel by actually putting a task on the list that has already been accomplished or is near completion? Is this cheating? Nah…it’s a real boost to checking things off your list and can inspire you to continue on to the next item.

How do we hold ourselves accountable? Share with others what your intentions are. We likely all have co-workers or family that would love to hold you truly accountable by your own invitation. YIKES! The positive side of that is that you can share your progress with these same individuals. I, also, truly like the personal reward system as long as your rewards are realistic — perhaps purchasing a new music CD rather than booking a cruise.

Ask for help if needed. Don’t feel afraid to reach out to others for help. I often have to remind myself that when asked for help we are more than willing and actually feel blessed to be confided in and considered. Therefore, I’m not sure why many of us struggle with the ask.

Let’s end with a quote that has often helped me as I move forward with my autumn projects. “Expect the best, plan for the worst and be prepared to be surprised.”


Sandy Sare is program director for Sheridan County YMCA.