There’s a hint of autumn in the air here in the UK. As I walked to a meeting this morning, I noticed that leaves are starting to turn yellow, hedgerows are laden with blackberries and tiny children swamped in new school uniform were on their way to their first day at school.
Despite not having any children and the fact that my academic years are long gone, September always feels like a fresh start to me and that change is in the air. It seems I’m not alone – only last week, a coaching client said to me ‘well, September is the new January, after all.’ Google that phrase and you’ll get about 1,160,000,000 results so this clearly isn’t a new phenomenon. (Question: what’s the Southern Hemisphere equivalent? Is March a second January?)
For me, there are definitely a couple of advantages to setting new goals and taking on new challenges in September:
1 Start now and it gets 2019 off to a flying start
Working on new goals and acquiring positive habits now means we are already gearing up for the New Year. Nail those challenges now and on 1 January, you’ll be ahead of the game. It can also help you stay on track if you have any time off over the Christmas period – no need to resort to ‘I’ll look for a new job/sign up for a 10k run/put the house on the market/enrol on a marketing diploma course in January’ as you watch the next episode of your favourite box set whilst still in your PJs at 3.30pm in the days between Christmas and New Year.
2 Shorter time span than January’s New Year Resolutions
We’re two-thirds of the way through 2018. We don’t have a blank twelve month wall planner staring down at us. That shorter timeframe can seem more manageable than a twelve month commitment.
Gretchen Rubin talks about the strategy of the clean slate – a time where a change frees us up to make other changes. In The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald writes, ‘Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall‘ and I think this makes September, with its ‘new term’ feeling, the perfect time for a clean slate.
But wait! It’s now 7 September – the month is already a week over. Yes, it is, but there’s another thing I really like about September: on 22 September, there are one hundred days left until the end of the year. A couple of years ago, I proposed to my clients that they take the One Hundred Day Challenge: pick a goal and commit to work on it over the next one hundred days. For some, it was a work-related challenge; others chose a personal challenge, some even roping their families in too. By the end of the year, I’d seen an array of results from the acquisition of new jobs and new skills to improved fitness and more regular family dinners. If you start planning now, you have just over two weeks to create your action plan so that you’re ready to go on 22 September.
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: are you ready to make some changes? Will you commit to the One Hundred Day Challenge?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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