Why September is the new January

Back to the routine! I don't know about you but for me, September always has a fresh start to it. Maybe it's because school is back in session. Maybe it's knowing that the lazy days of summer are over and cooler weather may be on its way. In September, the gym seems to be packed! There are a lot of new faces working on getting healthy. There is a renewed interest in getting organized and planning everything.

woman in a field with grass and water

Seems like goal-setting fits right in, doesn't it? Instead of making New Year's Resolutions, why not create September Intentions? The great thing about September is it doesn't have the same stigma as January. The pressure in January is very intense to make a new goal and to stick with it. No wonder most people wind-up not abandoning their goals come February. It is difficult enough to make a decision to set a goal. But then feeling like a failure if you didn't achieve it 100% in one month is just too much for me.

While some people need a trigger, like a health event or an illness in the family to start thinking about creating healthy goals, sometimes a simple date like after Labor Day, is enough to get you thinking of getting healthy. Making a decision to work on a new goal can happen any time. But there are 3 key steps to goal setting that will help you stick to your goal and achieve it.

list of goal setting steps with images of computer walking and vegetable stand

1) Make it simple.

I can't tell you how many times I hear people make a goal that is so complex, they can't keep up with it. "I'm only going to eat meat on the weekends." "I am going to ride a bike on Monday, walk for 30 minutes on Tuesday, ride the rowing machine on Wednesday, take a Zumba class on Thursday and a yoga class on Friday." With that much detail and restrictions for a person who just decided to get healthy, those goals are way too complex and will not be achievable.

Instead, make it very simple. For example: I will have one meatless meal for dinner for the next 30 days. Isn't that a lot easier to achieve than only eating meat on the weekends? Once you get used to doing one meatless meal for 30 days, try to add a second one. Another example: I will do something to move my body for 30 minutes, 3 times per week for the next 30 days. That is a lot easier to achieve than planning an entire week of working out if you are just starting out.

2) Make it something that fits into your lifestyle.

There is nothing worse than deciding to work on a new goal and it doesn't fit within your lifestyle. Failure will be happen very quickly. For example, if you've decided you are going to eat more green veggies everyday for lunch. That is a great goal but you actually have to have the time to make the lunch. If you don't have time during the week, then you need to look at your weekend schedule to see if you can make the time to meal-prep.

Another solution is to look for short-cuts that help you achieve the goal. There are plenty of organic vegetables in the frozen section of the grocery store that can quickly be heated and then tossed organic pasta or rice or quinoa that may be leftover from a dinner during the week. If you try to make sure that your goal fits into your lifestyle, it is more likely that you will achieve it.

3) Make it achievable.

This is different than making the goal simple. Let's say you've decided to lose 15 pounds this September. So you start following a very restrictive diet, you become frustrated and angry about the foods you are avoiding. This leads you to binge eating and then feeling like a failure. So you abandon your goal. The goal of losing 15 lbs in one month was not achievable. A better goal would be to lose 1-2 lbs per week. A slow weight-loss plan is the only way to take off weight and keep it off.

I follow a very simple rule: only eat what I can burn off. That means if I was able to exercise during the day, great! I am more likely to burn off the foods I am consuming. If I wasn't able to work out one day, then I am more conscious of portion size and the types of foods I am eating. Plus, you have to allow for vacations, holidays and special events. There is nothing worse than working on a goal and not accommodating for those times of splurges. Splurges are good for you and can keep you on track.

If you are defining new goals for September, I hope the above helps you create goals that are achievable and something you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Ultimately, any goal you work on is going to help you become the best version of yourself. Let me know if any of the above helped you define your goals.

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