I used to love covering notebooks with wrapping paper, trying out a new style of handwriting and having that fresh start where anything you did the year before was wiped clean.
Even as adults, September can be a really good month for having a sort out, setting new goals and getting organised for the next season. It's where we can rekindle our motivation and have a fresh start! In part one of the September fresh start I look at motivation and goal setting and later, in part two, look at organisation and action.
Part One: Motivation and goal setting with a 'Fresh Start' approach.
Here are five ways to get motivated that you can apply to getting where you want to be, whether it's with your fitness, your work and your personal life:
1. You can only motivate yourself as motivation is a product of your own desire to achieve something and the belief that you are capable of doing it. Motivation increases in direct relation to how strong you build your desire and how much you belief in yourself. In other words, the only person that can motivate you is you!
2. Think about the end result. Whether it's how you want to look, how much money you want to earn, or getting a better work life balance. Focus as hard as you can on how you will feel when you achieve it and intensify those feelings and thoughts. Anytime your motivation slumps, think about these and get back on track. A vision board is a powerful tool where you display images of your goals, dreams and desires. It's created by simply cutting out desired images from magazines or books and creating a motivational collage. It could be a picture of a nice car or house, places where you want to visit or even a model in a bikini.
3. Get a piece of paper and write down a list of things that will happen if you do something and next to it write a list of things that will happen if you don't. If your goal is to get a new job and you are having trouble motivating yourself to take those first steps, write all the positive things that will happen if you get a new job, i.e. more money, better car, doing something you enjoy, job satisfaction. Then next to it write all the things that happen if you don't; bored at work, not enough money, no summer holiday, long work hours. Positive motivation is more powerful than negative motivation, but using them together is the most powerful of all.
4. Reward yourself. To help you stick with achieving your goals, create mini goals along the way and reward yourself regularly. Whether a massage and facial at the end of a busy working week, a nice meal out after a month of consistent workouts, or a day of movies and duvets after getting one step closer to the promotion you want. Having little treats will not only keep you going, but also help you take a break from achieving your goals. It's important to get a balance so you don't burn out. Also don't be afraid to reassess your goals if something isn't working or something comes up. Moving the goal posts occasionally can actually help with motivation and long term achievement. If you underestimate the time or energy something takes, don't struggle and give up, but think about how you can achieve your goal in different ways or on a different timescale.
5. Surround yourself with inspirational people. You can't be motivated by anyone else, but you can be inspired. So spend more time with people who are positive and self motivated, or those who make you feel good and energise you and less time with people who bring you down, drain you of energy and are apathetic. Read inspirational books, watch feel good movies and open your mind to new ways of thinking and being.
For any of you that might be feeling bad because you haven't stuck to previous goals, stopped training this Summer, have become less focused at work, or have let that evening wine habit slip back in, check out this fantastic quote, its one of my favourites!
'You may have a fresh start at any moment you choose, for this thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down'