As we roll toward the end of August, the summer may be coming to an end, but a lot of other things are starting up. Right now families and students are in Back to School mode, either already in classes or about to begin. And there are a LOT of them.
Did you know that there are 56.6 million K-12 schoolchildren and 19.9 million college students in the United States? They may owe a little something to Noah Webster (1758-1843), best known for publishing An American Dictionary for the English Language (which became the modern Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Webster also published numerous “Blue-backed Speller” books used by five generations of students, all in his pursuit to provide an intellectual foundation for American society. It’s no wonder he is often recognized as the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.”
Born in West Hartford, Connecticut on October 16, 1758, Noah Webster is best known today for his magnum opus, An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).
It’s not just school season, as sports fans are preparing for the official start of the NFL season in early September and the NBA in October. And chances are that if you’ve set foot into a big-box store lately, you’ve seen the first Halloween decorations on sale, pointing to the “start” of the Holiday shopping season.
For many people, this time of year represents a time to “hunker down.” Whether that means hitting the books, playing sports, getting back to work, cheering on your favorite teams or getting ready for holiday guests, the idea is to do the familiar and finish out the year with your sanity intact.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m here to suggest something different. For many years, I have written a New Year’s message encouraging readers to take consistent and meaningful action on their resolutions. These resolutions are important not because they start on January 1, but because you have a personal interest in improving a specific area of your life. Why limit yourself to a single start date?
The Power of Today
I’m challenging you to forget about the Calendar and focus on ONE thing you should be working to improve. It can be ANYTHING, but it should be important. Here are some ideas:
- Start exercising regularly – Why wait for the chilly New Year to start walking, jogging, or hitting the weights? Or Yoga, cycling, hiking..you name it! The fall is a great time of year to start moving, with cooler temps and beautiful foliage in parts of the country. And starting now provides you with a habit that you can continue through the holidays to control weight gain. Wouldn’t you prefer to start the New Year on the right foot?
- Eat healthier meals – With the holidays around the corner, you can count on more festive meals, family get-togethers, dining out, and treats. If your regular diet can use some fine-tuning, adjustments today can help you manage your weight in the coming months. And better nutrition can also help you feel more energetic and build up your immune system. That’s a win-win situation.
- Learn something – Just because the kids are going back to school, doesn’t mean the adults can’t benefit from learning something new. It can be a fun skill, a new language, or even something that helps you do your job better. Even if you don’t feel like you have the time, isn’t it better to improve a little bit than not at all? Personal growth should never stop!
- Give back – Many people make a donation check in December just in time for the end-of-year cut-off date for tax purposes. And it’s awesome that you can do that! But I’ve also heard from a lot of people who wish they had done more, but just kept putting it off. If that sounds like you, why not check out the thousands of charities, volunteer and fund-raising opportunities that are active all year long? It can be volunteering at the local Food Pantry, participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, building a house with Habitat for Humanity, or signing up to help out at your Church. Your contribution matters more than you can imagine.
- Name your goal – It really is up to you. Complete an important home repair? Start a college fund for your children? De-clutter? Be more productive at work? Connect with family or friends more often? Book a dream trip?
Whose Permission Are You Waiting for?
We all set different timelines for what we want out of life. But that doesn’t mean “someday” is good enough. Whether your big dreams disappoint you because they feel far away, or just plain excite you, you’ve got all the motivation you need to make the necessary changes. Just. Do. It. You won’t regret making the effort.