September Is Your Second Chance at a “New Year”

Even when you’re no longer in school yourself or even have children enrolled in school, there is something ingrained in us that can make September feel every bit as much like the start of a new year as January. The winding down of vacations, cooling temps and even different clothing choices create a transition that makes fall a great time to hit reset and launch new goals and habits, or reenergize those you set a few months ago.
 
Best-selling author of The Happiness Project and 2021 WFF Leadership Conference speaker, Gretchen Rubin, calls September the “other January.” She says, “September, for many people, marks a fresh start and a new beginning, so it’s good to think about changes to make with this clean slate.”
 
Fresh starts
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that people are more likely to look at the big picture of their lives and think about how they want to be in the future if they have recently experienced a major milestone or transition. That could be a new job, marriage, relocation or baby. But it can also be far more ordinary changes like buying new furniture, returning from a vacation or even hauling out your winter coats at the change of season.
 
These events not only mark time in our lives, but give us a sense of before and after. Maybe the you who went on vacation in August didn’t make time to get to the gym or invest in professional development, but the you who returned in September will be doing Pilates at 7 a.m. and scheduling time to talk with your boss about next steps on your career path. The feeling of starting from a clean slate can stimulate new perspectives and provide a powerful catalyst for behavior change, Rubin says.
 
What the researchers called the “fresh start effect” may stem from a desire to see our future selves as more on top of things than who we’ve been in the past. It might also be that anything that shakes up our normal routine wakes us up in a sense and makes us more attune to the daily decisions we make and if and how they support our larger goals. Even something as simple as the start of a new month or even a new week can be catalyst enough to provide a sense of starting fresh with a world of new possibilities.
 
Tune in to tune up
The key to making the most of these especially rich opportunities for personal and professional development is being aware enough to identify them when they present themselves. They are easy to miss, Rubin cautions. She urges stepping back to explore even simple moments of transition (like September ushering out the summer and welcoming in the fall) to think intentionally about how you might use this time to develop and pursue new goals.
 
As the month that ushers in a solid ten weeks of focused time to get things done before the holiday season descends and we prepare for 2022, September has a real serious side. Even its astrological sign of Virgo is known for logic, practicality and a single-minded devotion to ongoing improvement. Go ahead and embrace the fresh start September brings and enjoy your second chance at a new year!
 
Make (or renew) your resolution to professional growth
A great way to refocus on career goals and level up your investment in yourself for the remainder of the year is to connect with inspiring peers and role models in WFF’s new Exchange Networks. These powerful virtual events include live moderated Q&A with a top industry leader followed by focused networking in small breakout groups that will enable you to connect, grow, and be inspired.
 
The Third Thursday Exchange Networks meet from 5-6:30 p.m. Central Time on Zoom followed by small group breakout sessions hosted via Mixtoz. REGISTER now to explore Work Life Balance September 16, 2021 with Industry Leader Julie Juvera, SVP of Crew Resources, Fry Cook & Cashier - Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers.
 
We look forward to seeing you then and ringing in the “second new year” together.

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