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Why September is the New January

Jenene Armstrong, HealthFit Coach LLC, September 9, 2018

Do you ever feel like it’s time for a fresh start, or a kind of renewal when September rolls around? I always think I’m going to dread the end of summer when I have to trade my sandals and shorts for warmer things, but when September arrives I actually get excited about change. And for me that’s about a change in food and what I like to eat, opening windows for fresh air again, seeing the neighborhood kids walking off to school with their new backpacks, and even pulling out those cozy sweaters and boots that I thought I was dreading.

According to Victoria Plant, a consultant chartered psychologist, we should be harnessing this positive state of mind. "The excitement of the 'back to school' September feeling can result in an increased willingness to make changes, and greater productivity. Historically, autumn has also been a time of hard work and preparation for the winter months and there may well be a link between this and our ability to focus and tackle new challenges."

While January is typically the time of year when we’re supposed to set our resolutions, which usually involve eating better, exercising and losing weight, we all know that those resolutions tend to not last very long. It can be really hard to get excited about tackling those things when the holidays are gone, the festivities are over, the depths of winter start to settle in, and busy lives and schedules get in our way. Plus, we tend to just feel sluggish and bloated from all the fun food and drink we’ve consumed between Halloween and New Year’s Day. Sound familiar?

I’m a strong advocate of getting ready to tackle the holiday temptations by taking charge of your lifestyle habits before the holidays arrive. That way you’re in a much better place, both mentally and physically, to enjoy all the fun and festivities with more control and mindfulness, rather than adopting a “what the heck, I’ll just deal with it in the new year” attitude. And if you start focusing on your health and lifestyle habits now, you can actually make some lasting changes that will carry you right through the season and into the new year feeling really good about yourself. Plus, you can still really enjoy the holidays!

"Starting in September will help to build a solid groundwork for switching to more positive behaviors and thinking patterns, which will be easier to return to (and stick to!) in January," says Plant. "Many of us are happier in September. Sunshine, lighter days and potentially the effects of a summer holiday can result in our brains producing more serotonin, known as the 'happiness hormone. It has been clinically proven that a positive frame of mind is more conducive to enhancing focus, concentration and our ability to challenge our Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs), and so we are more likely to attain our goals and resolutions by starting them at this time of year."

If you need some guidance and accountability with getting healthier now, let’s talk!



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