Just when those last memories of New Year’s resolutions fade, September rolls around. One could argue that September feels like a transitional month, in many ways like January. There is a change in pace from the freedom that summer tends to bring. Routines become the focus again. Kids go back to school, the season shifts into fall. There is often renewed energy about getting back on track with healthy habits now that we’ve “had our fun” all summer. Did you make any promises to yourself back in January regarding your health that you plan to revisit?
In an article published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine titled, The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine by Katherine R. Arlinghaus, MS, RD and Craig A. Johnston, PhD, they state that “Routines take time to establish. Adding in too many changes to a day will likely be difficult for the patient to sustain and may result in “behavior relapse.” Research consistently demonstrates that “too much change, too fast” is likely to end without positive results. Health care providers can aim to add in one or two changes at a time, slowing building a routine for health that truly does keep the doctor away.” Perhaps this explains the lack of follow through on resolutions made back in January. Were you trying to change too much, too fast?
September could be the perfect time to slow down and evaluate your current habits and routines. Are you happy with them? Are you looking to improve upon any of them? Consider the quote above when setting new resolutions for yourself. One or two small changes can serve as the building blocks to a new healthy routine. Maybe you commit to eating two fists full of veggies with lunch and dinner. Maybe you decide to drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. Maybe you hit your local farmstand once a week to load up on local produce (as an aside, apple season is in September, not October. I can’t be the only one who makes that mistake every year!). Maybe you show up for your workout at least three times a week, no excuses.
The healthy habits you establish this fall should become routine eventually (in about 66 days, actually, which is the number of days cited in the article mentioned above when habits become automatic), and will follow you into the winter months, allowing you to navigate the holiday season in a more balanced way.
So, September – is it the new January? Will you make a new resolution to yourself this fall to move the needle on your health? Truthfully, there’s never a wrong time to start.
Prowess Fitness + Nutrition