how to get back into a routine after summer

The long, hot summer months always seem to take a toll on me, my mental health, and my bank account. I neglect my goals for fun times in the sun and fall out of touch with my ambition to do anything productive. Anyone else?

If so, here are some suggestions to get back into a routine and take back your power. September is always such a motivating month and is the perfect opportunity to crush your goals and be your best self.

  1. Get serious about what your goals are. Create a list of everything you want to achieve this month, big or small, easy or hard — it doesn’t matter. Currently, my every day list looks like this: go to the gym, drink 3 litres of water, read, make my bed, meditate, write, journal (which is different than writing for me), make money, practice gratitude, floss, and take my vitamins. I’m also doing an alcohol ban this month to curb some bad habits of mine.
  2. Create a system to keep track of these habits that works for you. I don’t know about you, but physically checking off or crossing out a task makes me feel way more productive. It’s also a visual reminder that I don’t want to let myself down. Below is the (poorly constructed) chart I made that shows my goals with thirty boxes for thirty days in September. I taped it to the wall right beside my bed, so it’s the first thing I look at in the morning. If I check off every box this month, I’ll reward myself with new workout clothes, or maybe some new vinyl or a trip to the bookstore. Incentive goes a long way. Write down rewards for your future self. It’s just as important as setting goals. How bad do you want it?
  3. Show up for yourself. I’m a big believer that you should be best friends with yourself. When you take yourself seriously, you can move mountains. In her book Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis puts into perspective how you don’t really want to hang with that one friend that always bails on you — so don’t be that friend to yourself. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. When you say you’ll be somewhere, be on time. You don’t want people to think you’re that friend that can’t keep their word, do you? How can you expect other people to rely on you, when you can’t rely on yourself? Try your best to stop breaking the promises you make to yourself.
  4. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Summer was fun, poor decisions were made, and a lot of money was spent on good times, like hangover brunches with friends. Cherish the good times and move on. It’s a new season, which is a new opportunity to push forward. This is something I keep reminding myself as I process my entire summer-long hangover. The goals that I hit in September will soon turn into habits that I can take with me through the rest of 2019, which will ensure I enter 2020 with a healthy mindset.
  5. Try new things, hit new goals. To keep things interesting, I’ll continue to add new goals to my list each month, alongside the ones I’m already working on. There’s always room for improvement in every aspect of my life. In October I might try to go vegan, or finally finish my book, or who knows… the possibilities are endless.

Most importantly, you must remember that life happens. You might not be able to check every box every day, and it’s completely okay if you don’t. We’re just human after all, and we’re doing the best we can. Any progress is good progress, no matter how slow the journey may feel.

All of this feels totally obtainable to me for the first time in my life, since I’m not returning to university in a few days. For all you students out there, I wish you luck with the new academic year, and remember to go easy on yourself. It’s tough trying to balance everything amidst a crazy school schedule. Deep breaths. You’ve got this.