Making the most of that September feeling

by Carla Moss

September has come around… again. 

Despite the unusual year we’re having, the day length continues to change, the days are becoming slightly cooler, the seed heads are popping up all over the place… For many of us, September heralds a new academic year and regardless of whether we’ve a connection with academia or not, we are ingrained with that ‘September’ feeling. 

For some this could create a sense of foreboding – the onset of long winter nights, for others it’s invigorating, a chance to reinvent, rethink, reimagine. Regardless of what you think about September, it can, like any other day, be a chance for a fresh start and a new beginning. 


Here are some tools to help getting started again that can be applied to any project.


5Ws, 1H (tool) - What? Why? Where? When? Who? How? 

What is it you’re starting this September?

Why are you doing it?

Where will you be doing it?


Who will be involved?

How will you do it? 


100 Whys (tool)

Use the 100 whys tool to ask yourself: Why you want to do what you want to do? E.g if you’re doing the Diploma – can you think of 100 reasons why you’re doing it? You may not make 100 so at the point you think you can’t give anymore try and find 3 more.


Create a SMARTER goal (tool)

Focus on your most motivating why(s) and turn it into a SMARTER goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound, Extending, Rewarding – there are other acronyms for the smarter goal, but this is my favourite.)

Moving targets are harder to hit, so pinning down a time (and a place) as part of the goal makes them easier to achieve. 


Rocks and Pebbles (tool)

List the tasks you will need to do to achieve that goal – which are rocks (the big things) and which are pebbles (the little things). Can any of the rocks be broken up into pebbles? If they are all going to be put into a jar (ie your timeframe) the rocks must be put in first as the pebbles can be slotted in and around them. 


Now / soon / later (tool)

Organise those rocks and pebbles into Now / Soon or Later. 


Stay on track with the 4 questions (tool)

The 4 questions are: what’s going well? What’s not going well? What’s the big picture? What are the next achievable steps?

Or use some similar questions to check progress on your objective. Ask yourself the questions and diarize when you’ll do it. Find a buddy and get them to ask you the questions and hear their responses. It’s not just about reflecting on your own journey, hearing other people’s can also be motivating.


Share your successes 

Write a blog post. If you’re in a design guild, share with them what you’ve achieved. 

Celebrate the success of completing your goal and of achieving milestones along the way.


Have a brilliant autumn progressing your dreams. And remember ‘everything gardens’ so whether you do anything or don’t, change will happen! 


Carla Moss is an artist, life coach and permaculture tutor. She runs a Design Forum for Diploma apprentices. For more information and to contact her, visit