Why September is the Best Month to Build Healthy Habits

If you’re thinking about making a change, and building a new health habit – there’s no better time than September. That’s right – now. 

Like many of you, after a yoyo year of lockdowns and freedom has meant I have found it more difficult than ever to stick to a consistent routine. September is the best time to take back control, reclaim your motivation and build healthy habits that you’ll actually stick to. 

I’m using September to focus on reigniting my daily exercise habit – that slipped through a busy summer. As I focus on moving more, I wanted to share a few tips that I have learned on why September is the best time to get going, and how to build a habit that sticks.

What is a habit

Our subconscious mind makes most of our decisions for us. Our habits are those automatic behaviours that our subconscious mind just… does. Things like turning on the kettle as soon as you get up, or flicking on the TV when we get home. More often than not, our subconscious mind is just looking for the quickest, easiest way to make us feel good – which might mean it chooses the sofa over a run, or crisps over a smoothie.

It’s not completely out of our control, though. As I said, our subconscious mind is just looking for ways to make us feel good. With a little help we can use this to reprogramme it to build better, healthier habits for life.

“Our subconscious is just looking for ways to make us feel good. We can use this to re-programme it to build better, healthier habits for life.”

Why September?

It’s not a resolution

Many of us see January as the time for kickstarting change, but we’re so used to letting New Years Resolutions slip, that we’ve normalised it. We set ourselves big targets without tangible steps to get there. We focus on the result, not the journey. We talk about ‘falling of the wagon’ and ‘breaking our resolution already’ so much that we give ourselves permission to fail. By setting off in September, you’re breaking this cycle – and giving yourself the space to succeed. 

Warmer & Lighter

While the days get noticeably shorter in September, at an average of 12 hours and 36 minutes, you can expect almost 50% more daylight than in January. Plus, the warmer drier weather makes it easier for you to get ‘up-and-at-em’ without interfering with your other commitments.

“To make our habits stick, we need to focus on and revel in the present. Try setting a timer for 15 minutes after your run and notice how amazing you feel.”

Building Healthy Habits

Focus on the Journey, Not the Goal

All too often our ambitions are goal oriented. We persuade ourselves everything will be better when we are 5kg lighter, £5,000 richer, living somewhere else. We’re comparing ourselves to some future self with the belief that we will feel better when we get there. Surely enough, our motivation wains, and our goals drift away into the distance and we repeat the cycle. 

Ambitions are healthy to keep us moving in the right general direction, but to make our habits stick, we need to focus on and revel in the present. Enjoy how amazing you feel after your run, congratulate yourself with the high you get after a workout or the energy boost you get from a healthy meal. Your body is primed to reward you with Endorphins and Serotonin – enjoy it, you earned it!

Make it the easiest option

Our unconscious minds make most of our decisions for us, and they’re lazy. They opt for the quickest, easiest way to feel good. By laying out your gym clothes before you go to bed, or removing the unhealthy snack options* you make it easier to make the positive choice. Keep your FOGAMATIC on the side, or in your bag, and have a stack of FOGA shakes handy to help you reach for something that’ll help you feel great now & tomorrow. 

*You still deserve brownies; but if you keep the ingredients in your cupboard rather than a pack of biccies, you eliminate the easy but unhealthy option. When you really want them, make them, know what’s in them, and love them. 

Plan ahead, to live in the present

A little structure while your habit is bedding in helps keep you on track. Schedule your workouts, commit to your daily shake, and keep track of how it made you feel. Write it down. You can also track times, weights and output if you’re so inclined, but your unconscious mind doesn’t care about that. It cares about making you feel good and your new healthy habit is competing with your old, negative habits. Every time you remind yourself how good you feel after doing something positive, you reprogram your unconscious mind a little at a time to prioritise that behaviour next time.