Is September the New January?

Have you heard that September is the new January?

Why? It has to do with what behavioral economists call the “fresh start effect.” In short, the principle says that adopting new habits is easiest at a natural transition point (e.g., birthdays, 1st of the month, a new year, a landmark in life, or a change in the season).

Could you use a “fresh start”?

The New January

We grew up recognizing September not only as the start of the fall season but also the start of school – a season of new beginnings, new hopes, new friendships, a clean slate, and a chance to pursue life and dreams with renewed vigor. Like muscle memory, we strive for a fresh start at this season.

Does it come as any surprise then that gym memberships and online searches for career development spike in the fall?

Perhaps you are starting to feel it? If you feel renewed motivation, a desire to change, a desire to remove the old or bad and engage in new and better habits, you are not alone.

So instead of waiting until January 1st to set goals, develop, and progress – ride the current, seize the moment of motivation, and harness your energy and drive.

Where to Start

Start with some self-reflection. Ask yourself a few simple questions (if you like, write out your answers):


  • What’s working best in my business / professional life right now (keep doing this)?
  • What do I still want to achieve this year that I haven’t yet started (start doing this)?
  • Is there anything I need to remove from my life (stop doing, a detox of sorts)?
  • What should my focus be over the next few months?

A Harvard study shows that taking 15 minutes per day to reflect increases productivity by 22.8 percent. This is why Toyota asks each line employee to think of 2 ways to improve each day. To facilitate this, they give each employee 15 minutes to reflect on the day and recognize how they can improve.

So, take a moment to reflect, answer the above questions, and you’ll find clarity in your “fresh start.” If you’re able, write down your thoughts. The clarity will magnify. And, stay tuned – next week we’ll continue to ride this current and reignite the passion and purpose behind your personal vision. It is a season of renewal and “fresh starts” indeed!

“Reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success.” – Richard Carlson

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