The Gifts of a Clean Slate

Labor Day Weekend has passed. No matter what the calendar says about when Fall starts, this is the end of summer.  And the start of the school year (although most school system that I know of have started already). No matter how many years I’ve been out of school, there’s something about September that feels like the beginning of the year. I always see it as a pre-January new year to look at my goals, the year that’s passed so far, and what can I do to make the rest of the year strong and successful. Spring may be nature’s rebirth, but Fall feels more like that to me.

It’s as though we get a fresh start – or a clean slate to keep with the school metaphor – for looking forward to and planning for the rest of the year. For me, it means the start of a new bullet journal, since I tend to fill up each one in about four months and given my crazy summer of writing, it also means looking at what really worked for the last several months and what didn’t and how I can make the coming months productive while keeping a more manageable schedule.

In Judaism, this is the time for the High Holidays, the most sacred days of the Jewish calendar. It’s a time for repenting and atoning for sins, but something I learned as an adult makes this more meaningful to me now. In Hebrew, the word for sin translates most directly to “missing the mark.” I like that idea –looking at the target and seeing where I hit or missed my goals whether professional or personal.

And there are definitely some arrows that didn’t make it to the center or even onto the target – with writing, my husband, my family. I’m taking a look at my goals in each of the areas of my life. Some are more easily actionable than others. Some I will only be able to take some small steps on rather than the large moves I’d hoped to back in January, or in December of last year, when I created them.

But what I’m finding is that because I worked to create goals that matter to me, my priorities and my career, I’m okay with taking only incremental actions. That’s a big change for me. Usually, I either throw up my hands in frustration and give up on the goal, even if it was something I wanted, or beat myself up for not doing more. This year, I’m better at noticing that I may have missed the mark, but I can return to the starting point and move forward from there.

Over the course of my posts this month I will be writing more about missing the mark –  and why I’ve found it to be a great way to hold yourself accountable without beating yourself up, something I’m sadly quite good at – along with creating a clean slate in your life by getting rid of the clutter and the importance of using desire as a planning tool. Because, you know, it always comes back to desire for me and I want desire to be a greater part of your life as well.

So… happy new (school/Hebrew) year. What plans are you making?


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