I have often thought of the beginning of the school year as my new year, versus the calendar year – January 1. I don’t know if it’s because I have a fall birthday, but since I was young, I always felt like the school year was a year to start fresh: I had a new teacher, and could really reinvent myself and start new.
So, it’s typically around this time of year that I start to think about what goals I want to accomplish for the upcoming year, where I want to be in the next year and reflect on the past year’s events. Starting new habits when the school year starts is actually a really good strategy when you want to start a good habit, like exercising, or even drop a bad habit, like going out for your morning coffee. Its easier to start a new habit in the fall because when the school year starts, we get into a new routine – especially if you have school aged children.
Schedules change when the school year starts, and because we haven’t settled into our school-year routines, we have the ability to create something new, and re-negotiate new responsibilities with our family members. One of the reasons that I think folks struggle so much with New Years resolutions is that our routines have been established by the time January rolls around, and its difficult to make those mental switches to the new habit we are trying to groom.
Having a forced change in schedule allows us to create new habits because everything is different, inertia can’t set in for the way things used to be.
Some examples of how to make changes:
- Take a new route to work that bypasses traffic and that breakfast taco stand that you can’t resist.
- On Sunday nights, when the kids are doing their homework, use that time to plan dinners for the week.
- Walk your kids to school instead of driving them.
- After dropping the kids off at school, go directly into your workout: whether it’s going to the gym or walking the dog. Do not go home; do not sit down.
It only takes 21 days to create a new habit. So, you still have time to conquer that 2012 New Years Resolution.