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September is the new January: catch your perfect motivation wave this autumn

Extensive sunny vacations, long and hot summer nights, sweet, icy cocktails and delicious wine knocked down by the pool or at the seaside followed by endless BBQ plates loaded with mouth- watering divine food and ice-cream night after night…(khmm) are you missing these already as well?

Before we know it, it is that time of the year again – the pencils sharpened, the books organized, the rucksack packed, checked and ready to go. No matter how old we get, the memory of the start of the school year stays with us and as parents we re-living it again and again with our children. We only notice how the summer can bring all sorts of disruption to our regular schedule when it hits school time again. Whether we like it or not, sooner or later everyone needs to get back on track and pick up the right routine again.

But what if we adults used September as the opportunity for a reset? Most of the New Year’s resolutions are as predictable as the sunshine in the Netherlands: it comes and goes, but rarely sticks around long enough. Instead of waiting until January to start with a new healthy routine, set positive and good behaviour patterns now, while the weather is still nice and daylight hours are longer.

Get on the right wave and treat September as the new January! It can be a perfect time for a refresh, so take the best out of it. Here are some useful tips on how to get your motivation back after the long summer break and get on the right path for the rest of the year:

Go for a realistic goal

There is nothing much worse than not knowing why we are doing what we are doing. Building our motivation starts with identifying what is that great goal (or goals) we are aiming for and getting it right from the beginning. When you really want something then it simply becomes easier to push through any inner resistance you feel.
Do you want to be fit and healthy, have a better job or more money, be a better partner or an even better parent? Maybe all of these things? It is important to figure out what is most important and realistic for you to achieve in the time frame you set for yourself before you begin.

Set a list of benefits and downsides

Write down all the benefits you will get from achieving any goals you set for yourself, like for example getting into better shape or making more money. Save it and then pull that list out of the drawer whenever your motivation is lacking again and review it. Or put it somewhere where you will see it every day until you reach your goal(s).
Similarly, you could list all the possible negative consequences and picture them as vividly as you can in your mind in case you are NOT taking any actions. You could try and ask yourself:

  • How will my life look in 2 years if I continue to stay on the same path as I am now?
  • How will life likely become worse in case I am not taking any action for me and maybe even for the people around me?

Combining these two lists could be powerful way to reconnect with your motivation and positive reasons for taking action.

Work out

Can you remember how many times you cancelled your (kick-boxing, yoga, fitness or insert any sport activities here) because of a work meeting or work tasks? Now, do it the other way around. Can you list all the occasions on how many times you cancelled a work meeting or (insert any work related tasks here) because of a sport class? Exactly. I am writing this as much to myself by the way as much as to anybody else who struggles with this: its time to treat your work outs like a work meeting that simply cannot be missed! Perhaps a good way to start is to find a workout program what you really really love, enjoy and it gives you energy. Then book out your diary in advance to make sure you create space for it in your daily schedule. It could be also helpful to make yourself accountable by getting some other people to join with you, so you can keep up the motivation levels for each other time to time. For example, we have a WhatsApp group with our neighbours who go the same gym as us, stylishly called the “We Are No Wimps”- so every time one of us is going to the gym will post to the group to ask who is up for the challenge. This gentle peer pressure is especially helpful to boost motivation when it’s dark, cold and rainy outside and the last thing you can think of is hitting the gym.

Build your positive network

It’s important to have a supporting and positive network of people around us, especially when we are having a hard time to find the motivation from the inside to keep up the strong spirits. Spend more of your time with the people in your life that are enthusiastic, motivated or optimistic and give you positive energy instead of draining your energy. It can be a tough call sometimes, but try to choose the social events that you will attend more mindfully and do not feel obliged to show up everywhere you get invited to just for the sake of it. Try and let motivation from all over the world into your daily life by spending more time with people that truly matter to you and you equally benefit from the quality time spent in each other’s company. Choose to do activities which are recharging your batteries and making you happy.

Celebrate all your successes

When was the last time you tapped yourself in the shoulder and said “well done”, that was a great accomplishment? Often when we lose our motivation, then it is easy to get stuck in looking at our failures and so we get stuck in that negative mindset. So instead, try and sit down for three minutes and just remember all your successes. Not only the big ones but try and be happy and grateful about the smaller ones as well. Let them wash over you and refuel your inspiration and motivation.

Remember to have FUN

When we set our mind to achieve something and get really focused on our goal, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the seriousness of a tasks and the stress and tension of completing it. So remember to give yourself permission to enjoy yourself and that you are allowed to have fun when you are working on it. When you can, create fun in a task. Compete with yourself to finish it even faster or better than you did the last time. You are in charge in achieving your own goals and possibly there is no rule that says you have to be all serious about it all the time, is there?

So, don’t just sit there. Start today, don’t wait until January!