At the end of every season I feel like “turning over a new leaf,” so to speak. Click through to see how you can turn your carefree summer into a focused and determined fall.

Summer is over. Gone are the carefree days filled with sunlight and late nights. Gone are the summer weekends spent traveling here or there. The daylight hours are shorter, and I’m already starting to feel like wearing scarves and sweaters even though it is still 85 degrees out in New York.

Along with the start of September (and the yearning to buy back-to-school supplies!) comes the feeling of focus. Summer is always a time where I have high hopes of making memories with friends: going to concerts, brunching outside, going on picnics in the park or having weekend trips to the beach—no matter the activity, I think of myself feeling relaxed and carefree. The days are longer, schedules are less rigid, and hey, we all grew up with time blocked off for summer vacation. We’re almost conditioned to let loose in the warmer months.

Then, as summer winds down and fall rolls around, I start to think of what I want to accomplish. Summer is over, and it’s time to go back to school, back to work, and back into a routine, schedule, or your agenda. 

Perhaps it is the environment of change that fosters the need for me to switch gears, but at the end of every season I feel like “turning over a new leaf.”  It’s like the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic, where “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Something new can’t start until something else ends, and you can’t have fall without the end of summer. As you gear up for a new step, you have to say goodbye to the old.

This fall, I have a lot on my mind and I’m ready to make a list and cross things off. How do I transition from the relaxed summer feeling and kick it up a notch to drive and focus?

Well, for starters, I try to mentally shake out the cobwebs that have started in my mind and think about what changes I want to see with the new season. 

Then, I make lists. For some, it could be a Pinterest board, a dream board, and for me, I like to write out a list by hand, and then visualize what I need to do to get there. I make a plan, and then I try to remind myself to take all of the baby steps in between.

For example, the change I’ve been seeking has been one that would take me on a new career path, eventually. I’ve decided to look into grad school and this fall I’m going to buckle down and figure out what kind of programs are out there, where they are located, and what is needed to apply (and get in) to grad school.

To focus, I’ve started with my list and have been reaching out to my peers who have gone through this process before me. As I learn more about my options and the paths I can take, I can see a clearer direction on the horizon.

If are looking to make a change this fall, take a deep breath. Take a look around you and think about what you’re really interested in, what you’re truly needing, and let yourself take steps on your new journey.

Yes, I realized that sounds super cheesy, but part of making a change is letting yourself be ready for a change. The other part, is taking a leap into the right direction even if you don’t have everything 100 percent planned out.

Say goodbye to whimsical summer, take a deep breath, and jump right into fall.

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