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Ah, September – the time when everything comes together. People get back to their routines and order is established and maintained – right? I wish!

In the September series, Set the Tone, we’ve been talking about tying your beliefs, emotions, speech and actions together. Everyone wants to have high minded beliefs. We all want to be in control of our emotions and speech. But does that mean our day-to-day-actions automatically align?

After relocating last year, Dan and his wife decided they were going to eagerly welcome every invitation and see where the dust settled. It sounded good on paper, but by the end of the school year, they were overwhelmed and overscheduled.

They took the Summer to regroup. Every “Yes!” got a second look. Their break produced some fascinating insights.

Yes to the most popular soccer league meant they had games on Saturday and Sunday. Without a break in their week, everyone was cranky by Sunday night. Their sons are playing athletics this Fall, but they’ve opted in for a neighborhood team. It’s been the perfect compromise. The kids are having fun, Dan and Christy don’t have to drive all over town, and the league only lasts 8 weeks. They’ll get the holidays off and be ready to sign up for another sport in January. They had to max out to recognize their subconscious belief: the family needs time off and time alone every week.

Christy had said a polite and sometimes reluctant yes to several PTA events, even though she was often exasperated by the other parents. This school year she’s decided to enthusiastically accept the activities she loved and say “maybe another time” to everything else. She shook her head and said, “I was trying to make everyone happy, but it didn’t work. I didn’t really want to be there, so I just went through the motions or cancelled at the last minute. I tell the boys that your word has to mean something. That starts with telling the truth. We’ve said, “If you can’t really commit, don’t.” I guess that goes for grown-ups, too.”

Creativity author Julia Cameron has a powerful mantra: “Start with what makes you excited.” Her straightforward advice works whether you’re setting business priorities or juggling a lot of activities as the school year starts. Dan and Christy found it easy to take action. It took them awhile to understand that every action wasn’t necessarily in step with their beliefs, emotions and speech. In retrospect, they were getting clues all along about what was working well. Running in a million different directions definitely was not.

Does September already feel like a blur? This is the week to reset so you can spend the rest of the year taking action with joy and excitement. Perhaps you’re making simple decisions like reorganizing your calendar, or you could be coping with something deeper. Either way, pull off the “More, more, more” superhighway when you see the exit sign in small print marked “Less.” It may be the road magically guiding you to your heart’s desire.