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One of my favorite times of year is right now — September. I have always felt that “September is the new January,” given the fresh start of school, clearing out summertime energy, and moving into new rhythms. However, this year feels vastly different from past Septembers. The pandemic has pushed all of our routines and internal clocks off. Some days, I find myself wondering what day it is, let alone what month. With school starting online, gyms not open, and social connecting not favored, normal marks of time are completely different from years past. Come on … is back-to-school shopping on Amazon really the same?

Maybe this year, we need to simply reframe September as the new January. Here are three reasons to hit the reset button on September: 

1) Remember what you set out to do.  In January, you had vivacious and bold goals. Whatever they were, I guarantee they have changed given the current reality. With that said, it’s easy to throw the entire goal out the window. Instead, I encourage you to remind yourself what the goal was and why, and to continue to forge a path toward it, even if the path looks different. For example, perhaps you set a goal to get to the gym more often. Even if that’s not possible right now, maybe you’re walking while on conference calls or doing more meal planning because you’re not eating out as much. The real goal might be to get in better shape, in which case walking and healthier eating will help.

2. There’s still plenty of energy.  This is still a perfect time to reflect on the past eight months and decide what you’d like to see happen before 2020 comes to an end. January often brings an assault of “shoulds”: nonstop badgering to join a gym, stop smoking, raise sales numbers, get organized, and so on. Use September to concentrate on what you think is important, not what others think. 

3. Acceptance, Acceptance, Acceptance.  The ideas of online learning, outside dining, mask wearing, and event cancellations have thrown us into a place where the only thing we can do is make the best of it. Putting energy into acceptance gives us a platform to start from, so I encourage you all — talking mainly to myself here — to accept this moment. Reframe your goal-setting as you look toward the last part of this insane year. I hear many people saying that they want a “do-over year.” Remember, we get what we put our attention on. So let’s focus on making the rest of the year awesome.

Here’s an idea to try now: Take this upcoming weekend to commit to something new and different. It need not be something grand or with a lot of fanfare, and the commitment only has to last through December 31. Finish the book that’s been on your bedside table for months. Start meal planning. Get your email inbox cleaned up. Create a home workout goal that you’ll stick to. 

Come January, we hope to see a return to more normal rhythms within our culture. However, life doesn’t stop, so get out there and go after whatever you want to achieve.

Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase productivity. Her work has been featured in Working Women, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at

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