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I’m not sure that ‘back to school’ feeling ever leaves you. I can still vividly remember the long summer nights drawing to a close, and mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension, bubbling in anticipation of the start of the new school year. This year would be better. All homework would be done on time.  I’d start revising earlier for my tests instead of the usual late night cramming sessions. New term; new school year; new me.

And a recent chat in the nutrition office confirmed my vague suspicions - we all had those same familiar ‘back to school’ feelings. We are still hardwired for ‘new beginnings’ at the start of September, even though our school days are long gone. Summer holidays are coming to a close and it’s time to start afresh.

The reality is that you can start afresh anytime you choose. The best time to start is always now. But there’s added benefits if you channel your energies into making positive changes at a time when you naturally feel ready for it. Build on those bubbles of anticipation, simmering away in readiness for new challenges ahead.

So you’re ready to make some positive changes.  Where to begin?

When I’m looking for inspiration I often turn to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Following an epiphany moment, the New York Times bestselling author decided that time was passing and she wasn’t focusing enough on the things that really matter. In that moment, she decided to dedicate a whole year to a happiness project, and every month focused on improving a different area of her life. The book chronicles her year-long journey.

I opened the book and flicked forward to September, where her chosen area of focus for the month was to ‘Pursue a Passion’. She explains,

“Not everyone shares my particular passion, of course; instead of books, it might be college football, or community theatre, or politics, or garage sales. But whatever your passion might be, happiness research predicts that making time for a passion and treating it as a real priority instead of an ‘extra’ to be fitted in at a free moment (which many people practically never have) will bring a tremendous happiness boost.”

Finding time to pursue a passion

Instinctively I had been poised and ready to clear out my office, set some new lofty goals or shake up my weekly exercise routine. Instead, her wise words struck a chord with me and I decided to follow suit and pursue a passion. It was easy to identify one. I’ve been wanting to have a go at a crafty project like upholstery for ages; but have never found the time. This September I’ve made a commitment to find the time and have a go.

What will you choose to do?

What I’ve chosen is completely personal to me. You could choose to pursue a passion. Or choose to do something entirely different. Perhaps your health needs some attention, your family life or career. Zoom in on a singular aspect of your life that you’d like to improve and decide to take one specific action.

Open the windows and welcome in the refreshing air of new beginnings that breezes through September.

Have a great month.

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

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