Forget January and the age old traditions of scribbling down temporary resolutions, Bridget Jones style, in the midst of dull and dreary winter. Here’s why more people than ever are using September to set new health goals, kick-start positive change and succeed in their fitness intentions
The arrival of September signals the start of a new season and for many, a ‘back to school’ mentality full of renewed motivation (regardless of how many years it’s been since you sat in a classroom or bought gleaming new folders for a fresh curriculum year). And whilst January has traditionally always worn the crown for being the month we set our latest intentions and fitness goals (usually after inhaling one too many mince pies for breakfast at Christmas) September is becoming a more popular time than ever for tackling new challenges with a clean slate - and what’s more, sticking to them too.
For one, there’s the weather. And if there’s anything that matters to the British population, it’s that. Autumn means crisp air, fresh sunshine without the heatstroke and lighter, brighter starts to the day. Prime conditions for getting outside for a morning walk or a jog - whereas the true dreariness of January’s pitchblack mornings makes setting an early alarm even more painful than pounding the pavements. And did we mention the mild chance of one’s ears falling off thanks to the freezing cold temperatures?
Exercising post-work means a blanket of darkness after 4pm and if you’ve signed up to a swanky gym… well, then January means you’ll be sweating it out with the equally-motivated masses and fighting over cardio machines. Although health has been proven to be the most popular resolution among Brits*, around a quarter of us will fail entirely in our quests - and it’s hardly surprising. Lighter meals seem far more appetising when you don’t require four clothing layers to eat them and it’s much easier to cook something healthy from scratch when you still feel motivated from the natural daylight and sunshine.
Why setting intentions is a positive thing
However daunting, many successful people swear by setting intentions for a new season. It’s much more than just a quick note in our phone or a notepad scribble - we empower ourselves. By creating an aim or a purpose, regardless of what that is, we actively take control and live our lives with subconscious determination - a small act that can lead to accomplishing incredible things.
It means taking an active role in how our day plays out, rather than being passive and simply hoping we’ll achieve something brilliant out of thin air. In doing so, setting these intentions and targets can be a powerful tool when it comes to achieving what we want in life because they provide a reminder of how to live out each day. And whilst the benefits of such a list can be highly successful, simply daydreaming about them isn’t enough. Here are some easy ways to give those goals some momentum this autumn.
Top tips for sticking it out
1 Write that down
Put pen to paper (or iPhone) and write a list of the things you want to achieve and by when. How will you reach them? Think about the steps you can take everyday to work towards each target. Remember, this is a marathon and not a sprint - so be realistic, set something achievable and make it happen.
2 Find a friend
There’s strength in numbers for a reason. Countless research proves that working out with a friend is more beneficial, motivating and effective than going it alone. There’s a reason group workout classes are more popular than ever - some of us simply perform better with a pack mentality. Find someone to sweat it out with, agree on an activity and get ready to go.
3 Take the pressure off
Setting goals in September means you can keep it under the radar - there’s none of the intense January pressure to wake up and reinvent your entire life before the leftover turkey gets eaten. Take it at your pace and keep going, these resolutions are yours and yours alone. After all, as the ancient philosopher Confucius once uttered: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
4 Seek something you love
Finally, there’s little point in doing something if you’re going to loathe every second along the way. The key to exercise success is finding something you actually enjoy - whether that’s running, yoga, dancing, HIIT, hula hooping or simply pulling on a pair of trainers and strolling around in the fresh air. If you’re trying to eat healthier, the same goes for your meals too. Try out new recipes until you hit a home run - and by the time you’ve established a new routine, there will be no looking back.
Fun ways to workout this September
Raring to go? Lastly, put your fitness resolutions to the test this autumn with three of our favourite ways to workout:
1 Parkrun: On your marks, get set, Parkrun. A collection of free 5-kilometre events taking place all over the UK on Saturday mornings at 9am sharp, these fun group events welcome sprinters, joggers and walkers alike. Plus, there’s even a spin-off 2 kilometer event on Sunday mornings for the little ones to have a go too.
Bring this: Shoe Carry Bag Medium - Ink/White, £45
2 Soho House White City: At Soho House White City in London, members can take on more than 40 classes a week across four studios, offering a little something for everyone with an indoor lap pool, plus a steam room, sauna and hammam too. Post-sweat session, head to the House Press Bar for much-needed sustenance - and if you’ve forgotten your gym bag, fear not - you can now find La Pochette stocked here and across all the other Soho House sites in London and beyond.
Bring this: Wet Bag Maxi - Cashmere Walnut, £90
3 Peloton Studios London: Take it for a ride! Peloton Studios London, Peloton’s new state-of-the-art European flagship location, is opening its doors this August in the heart of Covent Garden. Pay a visit to the 30,000 sq ft space for live Cycling, Tread and strength classes, with prices from £25 per session. Even better, the studio is open to both Peloton fanatics and non-members, with in-person classes hosted from Friday - Sunday.
Bring this: Sweat Bag - Midnight Neon Pink, £35
*According to a 2021 study conducted by Finder research
Words by Sophie Ritchie