The Handbook
The Handbook

We have been well and truly robbed of our 2020 spring and summer thanks to COVID-19, and now September is here and it’s all talk of new season, back to school and, we hate to use the C word, but Christmas coming. In short, we’ve gone from winter to winter and we’re expected to just get on with it.

Well, we’ve got no choice and quite frankly after the year the world has been through and the sheer devastation that has been caused, we’ve got to count ourselves lucky if all we’ve missed are a few beer garden Sunday sessions and the festival season.

So we’re embracing September’s back to school vibes and setting your own agendas and intentions for the year ahead, even though it’s still slightly uncertain. Now is the time to make resolutions, plan ahead or reform some of the bad habits you picked up in lockdown, as September trumps January in the best time for a fresh start.

Here’s how…

Make some resolutions

January may be the start of a new year but really it’s neither here nor there. It’s smack bang in the middle of a season; it’s cold, it’s dark and you’re probably less than flush in the finance department post-Christmas. It’s a wonder we can even think of resolutions to make, let alone stick to them. 

September is the beginning of a new season, the schools go back, the crisp freshness of autumn hangs in the air and you’ve had your summer, albeit probably a slower one this year, so it feels easier to make some resolutions and intentions for the month ahead. 

If getting fit is high on your priority list, September is a great time to get back on the wagon. Let’s face it, you’re more likely to get up at 6.30am for a morning run while it’s still light out there than in January when it’s dark, miserable and freezing.

If you’re intentions for the year ahead err more on the side of superficial, look to revamp your wardrobe – it’s a new season after all. January is rubbish when it comes to clothes as it’s smack bang in the middle of a season. 

And if taking your career seriously is a priority, September is a good time to work on your LinkedIn. Staff are returning to work post summer holidays, schools are back so you can introduce more routine and some companies may be bouncing back from the furlough scheme, meaning there might be more opportunities out there to take advantage of. 

Reform your lockdown bad habits

Use September to step back and reflect on some of your lockdown habits. Did your healthy eating go out the window? How much wine did you really drink during those first three months? We’re not here to preach and it’s totally understandable to have been less than virtuous during strange times, but if you’re looking to change or get back to your pre-lockdown habits, make it now. 

Whether that’s planning meals so you know exactly what you’re eating and spending each week or keeping your alcohol consumption to the weekends, make the changes you need in order to make you healthier and happier. They needn’t be big, it could quite literally be planning your lunches for the week and making them the night before – it’s amazing how small steps can make you feel far more in control and content. 

Find something you love

Only 8% of people stick to their new year’s resolutions so why not ditch ditching something in January and take something up in September instead?

Want to read more? Join an online book club. Book those piano lessons you’ve been banging on about or start to save for a house or a big trip. It’s amazing how much easier it is to stick to something you love and that makes you feel good than to quit something that you know you shouldn’t love but do. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. 

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

The pressure of turning over a new leaf in January is sometimes the very thing that stops you from doing so. September is far more chill and if you don’t stick to something, who cares, no one will know as you’re not expected to have made resolutions at this time of year. 

Make changes or set goals for yourself, don’t give yourself a time limit if you don’t want to and be realistic about whether or not you can achieve them. Plus, we’re living in times where things can change, pause or stop entirely without notice. Remember that and be proud that you can adapt during these uncomfortable times. 

Use this time to plan 

Take September’s back to school mood and use it to your advantage. Imagine this month as a new term and make a three month, six month or even year-ahead plan. If your travel plans were scuppered in 2020 (most likely) plan a trip for next year or even the year after that you’ve always dreamed of and use the extra time that might seem boring to save the money to do so.

Similarly, our social lives haven’t fully returned to normal so use the extra time at home to plan your work goals or a DIY project. Don’t think of this downtime as a negative but a chance to step back, assess and plan what you really want out of the next year.

Organise 

Spring is traditionally the time for a fresh start and a clean up or clear out but there’s no reason why September shouldn’t be either. It’s the beginning of a new season, it’s right before Christmas and it’s when other areas of your life return to some routine – children going back to school and the end of holiday season – so make it the time to get your life in order.