Happy New Year! September is the New January!
Oh, didn’t you hear? September is the new January and it’s the perfect time to kick-start positive changes in your life! For me, it goes back to my school days and the excitement and wonder of starting a new school year (and all the new school supplies, which I still have a thing for!).
But, it’s more than a “back to school” feeling. September is a clean slate. As you open that clean, new notebook, you’re also making other swaps with the start of a new season. You’re switching out sandals for sweaters, clean and cool for comfy and cozy. And, this positive mindset creates an increased willingness to change. There’s a renewed sense of motivation.
“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.”
Psychologist, Victoria Plant
The “Fresh Start Effect”
The “fresh start effect” principle suggests it’s easiest to change and adopt new habits at natural transition points. A birthday, the start of a new week or month or, in September’s case, the start of a new season, gives us the freedom to become a new, better version of ourselves. Here’s how to harness the power of the “fresh start” effect and start making progress toward your goals:
A little self-reflection
Spend a bit of time thinking about what’s working in your life, and what’s not. Decide what projects or actions you want to focus on in the remaining months of the year. What do you still want to achieve? Put these plans in motion by getting out your journal or planner and scheduling these activities.
Set better boundaries
The slow down of summer may have allowed you to find and maintain a better balance between home and work. Try to keep this balance by setting better boundaries around your work hours and/or the extra “face time” that comes with poorly managed time.
Fall is my favorite time of year to get organized. It feels like the best time to declutter and I like to put routines in place that will support and motivate me through the holiday season and the cold winter months.
At home, clean out your closets, reduce or eliminate duplicates, make minor fixes and repairs around the house, and pull out some oldie-but-goodie recipes you and your family enjoy as the weather gets cooler.
At work, purge paperwork and old files (this includes your electronic storage!), clear your workspace of unnecessary items and clutter, and pull out your calendar and start planning for those projects with year-end deadlines.
Create a little hygge
Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ or ‘hue-gah), is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. As the leaves fall and the cooler weather moves in, I’m always motivated to make my home my sanctuary. I crave the calm, simple, and serene aesthetic. Here are a few things that I think are essential to the hygge philosophy:
Lighting – Mood lighting to be specific. No harsh overhead lighting, please! Create the mood with lamps, dimmer switches, a flickering fire in the fireplace, or candles. Soft lighting is just kinder and more conducive to relaxing and socializing. Candles get bonus points for adding luxurious scents – I enjoy soft, woodsy scents like birch, sandalwood, or cedar.
Nature – Nature is relaxing. Open the windows and blinds to let in the natural light, cool air, and scents of Fall. Enjoy the greenery as it turns to all the beautiful autumnal colors. Pick the last blooms of summer and gather beautiful branches to decorate your space.
Prepare to snuggle – Soft, warm rugs, blankets, throws, and pillows are a hygge must for your home. As are cozy socks or your favorite oversized cardigan. Pull these items from storage and create your comfortable haven.
And, don’t neglect your bedroom and bathroom! Your bed is the perfect place to create layers of coziness and an indulgent place to relax. And, there’s nothing more rejuvenating than a soak in a spa-style bath.
Friends and family – One of the most important concepts of hygge is getting together with close friends or family in this relaxed environment. A chat over a good bottle of wine; a simple, comforting dinner; or a homemade sweet treat brings people together in a way that a formal, sit down dinner can’t accomplish. Hygge also champions simple activities with friends and family, like game night, complete with hot chocolate and snacks.
So, here’s to a Happy New Year! ‘Til next time…