The Seasonal Cycles of Motivation

Oct 11 · 3 min read

Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Scott Fitzgerald


Fall is a time of new beginnings. Perhaps it goes back to the days of starting school, new supplies, new teachers, a new routine to settle into as the trees drop their leaves in preparation for rest.

In Judaism, Yom Kippur, or the Jewish New Year, is celebrated sometime in September or October, depending upon the Lunar calendar, and marks a time of reflection on the last year as we move into the next.

Some people find more motivation in the springtime, when the world comes back alive after her winter hibernation, and find the long sunny days of summer a good time for growth.

Personally, something about fall has always motivated me. As the air cools off, the leaves change, and the days become shorter, starting new projects and finding new, innovative ways to continue old ones seems to come naturally at this point in the year. When winter hits and it’s cold outside, it’s easy to stay inside and work on me or find inspiration through going outside into the peaceful midwestern winters.


Whether we are aware of it or not, we are intrinsically connected to the seasons. As humans, we come from the Earth, and as the moon cycles affect the rising and falling of the tides, our 85% water-based bodies are also affected by the moon and the seasonal changes that come with each cycle. The more in-tune we become with the natural world around us, the more we become aware of this deep, natural connection and can use it to help us grow through life.

Finding ways to reconnect with the cycles of the earth can help us become aware of the cycles within ourselves. When is a good time to start new projects? When is a good time to set goals? When is a good time for rest and reflection?

As fall may represent a new year, it’s also a good time for letting go. As the leaves are released from their branches, you too can find things to release that are no longer serving you. Ask yourself…

  • What were my goals this time last year? How far have I come? Are there any aspects of said goals that I can remap moving forward?
  • What in my life right now is no longer serving me? Self-criticism? A diet that isn’t working the way I wanted? An organization or group I may have joined that isn’t giving me the benefit I had hoped for?
  • How can I rearrange my daily/weekly/monthly schedule to make more time for myself? Are there any busy parts of my week that need to be simplified, and if so, how can I accomplish that?

Fall equinox, on September 22nd, is the time of the fall when the day and night are equal in length and is also the official beginning of the new season.

Astrologically, it is the day the sun crosses into the sign of Libra, one of four cardinal signs (signs that represent the changing of the seasons) and can bring about an active, ambitious, and enthusiastic energy. Cardinal energy often does represent change or a movement forward in some way, so that also contributes to why fall is a great time for new beginnings and forward-moving initiatives.

If you want to harness the celestial power of this beautiful change in seasons, along with reflecting on what you want to let go of, it’s also a good time to practice gratitude and reflect. As I mentioned before, the Jewish New Year is known as a time of reflection. This reflection is important so that one may find atonement for their wrongdoings and move into the next year with a clean slate.

Even if you don’t practice religion, the fall equinox is still a good time of year to reflect, give gratitude, and move forward. Good questions to reflect on or journal about this time of year can include…

  • What am I grateful for that came into my life this past year?
  • What am I most proud of myself for? What was my greatest accomplishment?
  • Was there anybody I wronged this past year? Have I taken the steps to make it right?
  • Who am I grateful for that is in my life right now? What was a hard decision I had to make this past year that I am proud of myself for making?
  • What am I grateful for that is still blossoming in life right now?
  • What was a hard lesson I had to learn this past year, and how am I a better person for it?

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” – Meister Eckhart

Me at Flour Lake, Gunflint Trail, northern Minnesota. October 2020. Peak of fall colors. Magic abounds.

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