The New New Year: Why September Is Better Than January For Making Positive Changes
There's much less pressure in September to kick off your resolutions...
January may technically be the start of a new year but Megan Roantree reckons there’s no better time to kickstart any plans, big or small, than September
We’re Already Programmed Into Thinking Of September As A New Beginning
Whether it’s from getting new pencils in for primary school or settling into new digs for college, we’re well used to kickstarting a new cycle in September, reorganising things, checking things off our list, so it’s not a totally random time to get into a new routine or try sometime new, or quit a bad habit.
When you think of January, you might think of dark evenings and cold nights, and plenty of rain. It can be incredibly hard to get motivated to do anything during the depths of winter and arguably the most bleak month of the year. September isn’t guaranteed sunshine and heatwaves, but you’re much more likely to get out and about when it’s not blustery rain and pitch-dark at 4.30pm. Autumn can be a really pretty, and calm weather-wise so there’s more motivation to go and do what you had planned whether it’s going for a run or just leaving the house for that class you signed up for.
It’s Not Directly After Christmas
Christmas can be a period of indulgence. From spending to eating and drinking, we tend to overdo it when it comes to all aspects of our life – it is called the silly season after all. When September hits, there hasn’t been a crazy busy period of stress and parties – not to the same extent anyway. And instead of going from one extreme to the other, like we are expected to from December to January, we can gradually make small practical changes that aren’t such a shock to the system. It’s much easier to become a little healthier when you haven’t just inhaled a whole turkey only a week previous. It’s much easier to start saving money when there hasn’t been such a huge financially-draining occasion, you get the idea…
It’s Not A Million Years Long
January is known as the longest month of the year, so it seems pretty silly to take up something challenging or make difficult changes when they days just drag on and it seems to somehow be mid-January for seven weeks already. September isn’t quite as dragging and so taking up something new won’t seem so tough and before you know it it’ll be Halloween and you’ll be delighted with your progress, whatever the resolution.
It’s Less Busy
If it’s joining a gym, going to a new class or setting up savings account – it can be hard to get a spot in January. Everyone is in the same boat and on the same motivation so it’s likely getting an appointment with your bank, or a go on the treadmill might be more stressful than it needs to me. But September won’t have such a huge influx of people vowing to make such huge changes at the same time.
Fewer Ads, Less Marketing, And Less Pressure
The New Year can be a really difficult time for those that struggle with self-worth and confidence because we are bombarded with ads and marketing about everything that is wrong with us, and our self-identified flaws are suddenly under a microscope. Everywhere you turn there are billboards and bus ads as well as tv and radio chat about all the terrible things about ourselves that we need to change. This means that there is more of a feeling of shame if we don’t do well, and we feel guilty when everyone’s conversations revolve around who’s lost the most weight, who’s discovered a new low-cal recipe or who’s learning loads at their new book club. In January the question of ‘what’s your new year’s resolution?’ constantly comes up in the form of small talk and otherwise. This means that some people who had no plans to make changes feel pressured into doing something. September isn’t known as the official new beginnings season so it takes the pressure off for anyone trying to make small but effective changes in their own time.
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