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Forget New Year, why September is the best time to set new goals

As summer draws to a close and the school holidays are over, many people’s thoughts will be turning to going back to work. Across the nation we are joined in an emotional crash as our time off comes to an end – known as ‘post-holiday blues’.

A recent survey from Bupa found that 78% of people find returning to work stressful, with over a third feeling dread (37%) and anxiety (35%) the day before returning to work. While in theory a week in the sun should recharge the batteries ready for a productive return, only 13% of respondents felt relaxed or energetic before their first day back.

Barefoot Coaching Head of Creative Development, Adam Goodman-Smith, explores how you can use coaching practices to battle away the blues and use September as an opportunity to set out new goals to see you through to the festive period and beyond.

Why September?

The ninth month of the year (unironically) is the perfect time for a re-birth. As adults, there might not be a new school year to look forward to, but for many of us September still brings with it the chance of a reset and new beginnings. Whether it’s years of buying school supplies or the excitement of a crisp uniform, this shift in seasons means we often become more reflective.

Face your FAB

Before you go out setting new goals, you may find it helpful to look at what’s currently holding you back. As fabulous as you are, FAB in this context stands for Favourite Avoidance Behaviours, aka how you procrastinate.

The first step in addressing your FABs are to bring them into your awareness. To do this, take a moment to sit and reflect on what you do to avoid facing challenges; do you refuse to open your banking app? Or whack on a Netflix series the second you’re alone to drown out all conscious thought? These are all avoidant behaviours that could block you from achieving your new goals, so start off by writing them all down so you can identify, and face them, head on.

Autumnal achievements

Positive psychology encourages movement towards more fulfilling goals that provide meaning and pleasure, utilising our strengths to focus on having goals more than achieving them. For instance, a goal to eat healthier is an ongoing goal that will continue to benefit you – there is no end goal for a healthier diet. However, losing X amount of weight by Christmas could be an unachievable goal (leading to feelings of failure), that even if achieved would quickly leave you goalless and slipping into FABs.

Food for thought

So, as we move into the final quarter of 2023, ask yourself what changes you can make to set yourself up for the end of the year, and those slower, winter months.

If you’ve also got that ‘back-to-school’ mindset and are itching to make some changes, but don’t know where to start focus on these questions: What’s working well in my life? What am I avoiding in my life/business/career? What end-of-year goals am I still aiming for? How can I get there? By focusing on these points, you’ll be able to build healthy, beneficial and achievable goals to reinvigorate your mindset ready for the new season.

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Barefoot Coaching is an established, fast-growing coaching business with clients across the UK and the globe. It has more than 4,500 successful graduates of its programmes now sharing Barefoot Coaching knowledge and practices in society and workplaces. Founded by Kim Morgan over 25 years ago Barefoot has built up an enviable reputation and a robust and full-service coaching business, with a broad appeal from individual consumers to corporate audiences. Barefoot Coaching pioneered the development of ICF and University approved coach education in the UK and are as passionately committed to it today as they always have been. Their courses combine psychological depth, academic rigour and a highly practical focus to offer every delegate a memorable, relevant and highly respected learning experience. Barefoot has grown exponentially and been able to reach all corners of the world now that its business model is agile and online.

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