It's Time to Dream:
Using Seasonal Alignment to Reach Your Goals
Do you ever wonder why we set New Year's Resolutions each January 1?
I think it has something to do with winter being the "Dream Season."
You see, the differences between seasons are more than precipitation or sunshine levels—they actually align with your energy and motivation, which in turn impact your productivity and creativity.
Holly Ostara, writer and book coach, joined me on a recent episode of the podcast. She shared her unique philosophy about seasonal alignment and how you can work with it to achieve your goals.
Here we'll look at what each season brings and how you can channel the energy of winter to boost creativity, productivity, and outcomes.
"If you allow yourself to work with [the seasons], then you put less resistance against yourself and that in turn just helps you do better performance wise and feel better."
- Holly on episode 48 of Determined AF podcast
Seasonal Alignment: Understanding the Growth Cycle
If you look around the natural world, you see how it changes with the seasons.
Trees shed their leaves in autumn, lay bare in winter, and re-grow each spring and summer. Bears hibernate through the winter months and emerge again in spring to find some food. Birds migrate south for the winter and return home months later.
In each case, there are seasons of activity and seasons of slowing down—an ebb and flow that allows each organism to do what it's designed to do.
But what do we humans do? Try to work non-stop, forget about taking breaks, and expect total productivity at all times. We get frustrated when we're sick and need to take time off, we work through our vacations, and don't understand why what was easy to get done during the summer feels harder once the weather changes in winter.
Simply put, we try to work against nature. We try to squeeze every drop of productivity out of our day and expect to be able to perform and always achieve favorable outcomes.
But in doing so, we ignore the natural rhythms of our bodies and our natural world. We forget about the ebbs and flows of life. Things are never constant—including your focus, creativity, or productivity. So instead of fighting things, it's better to embrace change and align with the seasons to achieve greater well-being.
Aligning your personal life and business or work life with the seasons allows you to:
- Get the physical and mental rest you need.
- Honor what your internal clock is telling you needs to happen.
- Be more sustainable in your life by not wasting time and energy.
- Find more peace and contentment in the present moment.
- Increases creativity and motivation.
- Better plan your business strategies.
Here are the main characteristics of each season:
Winter: Dream Season
We start with the winter season because it all starts with dreaming. Winter is a slow season, where things are more laid back and there's less pressure to get things done. Your schedule may be a little less busy and your body is craving some rest and relaxation.
From this place, you can start to dream. You can brainstorm ideas, projects, and initiatives that excite you, allowing your mind to wander and go down new rabbit holes to see where you end up. During winter, you can dream big and envision how you want the next year to look. It's a time to set goals and make resolutions, all to build a life you're excited to live.
*Example: You start dreaming about buying a new home. Perhaps you're recently divorced and are dreaming of a fresh start, or other life circumstances make you think "It's time." Your goal is to buy later this year—how exciting! You spend time creating vision boards, talking to friends and family about it, researching online, thinking about the best location, and visualizing your new home and life!
Spring: Magic Season
Spring is your "magic season" because it's when you get the initial burst of energy to get things going. During this time, you're planting seeds and watering them—using your momentum to lift ideas and projects off the ground, bringing them to life.
*Example: You start bringing your new home to life by getting all of your ducks in a row. This might look like getting pre-approved for a mortgage, talking to a financial advisor, and connecting with a real estate agent. If you are recently divorced (or contemplating or even in the middle of the process), you may want to utilize resources within the P.E.A.C.E of Mind Initiative to help get you started.
Summer: Growth Season
Summer is a busy time and there are often lots of other things to attend to in your life and schedule. This means you take a small step back from your projects and simply focus on nurturing them and keeping them alive through the season. You're not necessarily growing or starting new things, but making sure everything's progressing well.
*Example:Your real estate agent is working on finding your dream home! At this point, you've done all the preliminary planning work, so your actions are limited to keeping in touch with your agent and touring potential houses.
Fall: Flow Season
Your last push of the year comes in the fall, the "flow season" when you are focused on pushing things forward to completion. This is when you finish strong and complete the projects and initiatives you dreamt up back in winter.
Because you've experienced the other three seasons, you have the energy built up to make a final push toward your goals for the year.
*Example: It's go-time! You've found your ideal house, so it's time to do all the things: put in an offer, complete inspections, close on the house, pack, move in, decorate, and settle into your new home. Congratulations!
"In this season that our society is in of hustle culture mentality, I think it can become really easy for us to keep telling ourselves that we should be doing this, we should be doing that. At the end of the day, your goals are yours and how you perform and how you achieve those goals is completely up to you."
- Jamie on episode 48 of Determined AF podcast
It's Time to Dream: 5 Tips to Optimize Your Winter "Dream" Season
We're in the winter season right now. So, are you dreaming yet? This is an intentional time to reflect, learn, dream, plan, and get excited for everything that's coming up in the next year.
Think about it, a lot of us naturally do this with our New Year's Resolutions—new year, new me! We often feel a natural urge to set some goals and get things started for the next 12 months.
Lean into this feeling. Use your winter season to DREAM! Here are five ways to do it:
1. Let yourself daydream
It's good and healthy to allow your mind to wander, dream, and think new and creative thoughts.
This can be done by actively doing things that inspire you—long walks outside, painting or another art medium, listening to music. Whatever inspires you, do it. Give your mind some free space to dream up something creative.
2. Reflect on last year
Winter is a great season for reflection. Set aside some intentional time to look back at your last year and review what happened, what went well, areas you want to change, and what you want to duplicate. You can use this information to inform your future goals and ensure they are building on what you've done in the past. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- How much time did I give to reconnect with myself?
- What could I do differently to be more present?
- What could reduce the hours or mental energy I'm spending?
- Who could help me with my goals?
- What could I offload or reassign to someone else?
- What brought me joy? What drained me?
3. Write it down
As you're dreaming your dreams, make the point of recording them and fleshing them out into an action plan. Dreaming big and dreaming lofty is so good. But you also need to start putting those dreams into realistic plans if you ever want to see them come true.
4. Get outside
A lot of us dread winter (or at least those of us who live in places that are cold and dark!) and want to rush through it.
So one of the best things you can do to give yourself a burst of energy is to get outside. Try to get some sunlight each and every day... you need your Vitamin D! Even if it's just for a few minutes, it's so worth it. So, go for a walk, sit outside with your coffee, or do some errands outside during the day.
Perhaps hibernate-ish is a better term. You don't want to disappear in the winter, but you want to allow lots of room for mental rest and physical relaxation. This is done by actually taking time off, honoring your body's cues to rest, and not forcing full days of productivity.
Part of this is mindset work—being okay with doing less and not seeming "productive"—and part of it requires practical steps. You might need to set some boundaries around your time or organize your calendar in a way that allows you to rest. Whatever you need to do, lean into wintertime and hibernate a little. It might seem counterintuitive, but it's how you can actually cultivate creativity and dream up new goals!
If you fail to let winter be winter, you aren't honoring your own energy levels. If you push through and don't give yourself the rest you need, you miss out on all the beautiful dreaming and planning that you could be doing.
So, honor your body through the seasons. In doing so, you'll actually increase your creativity and productivity in the long run, which puts you in a better position to reach your personal and professional goals.
If you want to learn more about seasonal alignment, check out my full conversation with Holly Ostara on the podcast. You can also check out my guides and workbooks that are designed to help you create systems and grow in self-awareness to reach your goals.
To new pathways,
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