September 15? Seems so random. What, is September 14 and 16 already taken?
Haha, smart alek. Think about it. Childhood conditions us to launch major life resets sometime early September with the start of a new school year. For upwards of 16+ years (including college) our body clocks become accustomed to ‘new beginnings’ occurring in the early Fall, and our psyche learns to anticipate ‘the new in Fall’ as a natural part of our life cycle.
Fast forward to adulthood. Considering how we are grooved for ‘new starts’ in the Fall, targeting January 1 as our reckoning day is a blatant affront to nature. No doubt, the first day of a new year is a clean and logical choice for embarkation but it goes against the cycle engrained during our formative years. Timing can be everything, and there doesn’t seem to be an upside to tilting nature! Call me crazy but I say we align to the universe rather than fight it. Annual reflection, assessment, taking stock and the resolution that follows – of course useful toward self-growth, just not January 1 for exercise with the often wholesale change in schedule modus operandi that results.
Still not convinced? Ok, here is the case against January 1 as ‘exercise reset’ day:
First, if you have school-aged kids, they are typically out of school for the holiday break that spans the first of the year. The kids being out of school trumps any sense of a normal schedule – It ISNT normal until school resumes. Beginning a new exercise program in early January that you know going in may have to be adjusted in mid-January creates a hesitant commitment. Add this to any lack of confidence about immersing into the new, well, it’s enough to knock the motive out of motivation even before the new schedule’s ink is dry!
Second, The Holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about The Holidays, even the stress, but the layers of expectation can be all-consuming. Sugar-fueled emotions tend to be on overdrive so the first few days of your exercise reset may be super-hyped, but then the sugar crashes and as excited as you were to begin, you are more repulsed to continue.
Third, related to the second point, January 1 evokes enough contemplation without the added pressure to change your lifestyle…NOW! Not to mention, if your routine is set you can count on it to calm the charge that the season stirs.
Fourth, many businesses slow down even shut down the end of December into the new year, and at the least, many of us ‘check out’ during this time even if we remain logged in. Any new that we add to what isn’t our normal schedule/routine risks getting trumped by what is normal once work resumes.
Fifth, winter weather. Ahh, the fresh crispness of a -10 degree day with -30 degree wind chill – right! Icy sidewalks. Boots or sneakers? How many layers? Getting used to the routine of your newly instituted daily power walk AND negotiating how to dress can be a lot to manage all at once. Not to imply you can’t figure it out, but, if you reset your routine in September, by the time January rolls around it will be engrained AND you will have ushered in the cold weather progressively.
Resetting your exercise in September is intuitive, resetting it in January means disturbing Mother Nature. Let that sleeping dog lie. If I were the manager of a gym I would create a membership push that targeted school carpool lines, and if I was the owner of a night spot I would plan a huge blow out party for September 14.
As for you, treat yourself to new sneakers when you take your kids to get theirs for back-to-school. Then, wear them out of the store and race them to the car.
I can’t end without plugging Iron Footprint Fitness as the approach to use for your reset. Use it to develop resilient motivation so it’s the last time you need to restart!