September 1st is the first day of the new year. I will accept nothing else.
It's the month of new stationery. New school shoes. New weather. It's a month of cinnamon oats, coats and Keynotes. September is the only time I feel like this: it's a good time for change.
I never liked the other New Years. January 1st came with such unfulfilled expectations; everything you planned or wanted to do faded under the hangover of Christmas. You were always left lying on your back in a potato coma. Browsing Reddit. Burping occasionally.
It's a bad way to start the year.
September is a time for new starts. I set my goals accordingly.
September Last Year: A Snapshot
First, a rewind to a year ago today. I had just graduated.
I would ask for a brief interlude so I can vomit - a whole year has passed?! But it would be infuriating to hear a twenty-something whinge about time, so let's move on.
I found myself in a position unlike most of my peers when I graduated. I worked as a freelance writer throughout university so when I left, I simply went full-time.
In many respects, I felt lucky. But it did mean I didn't have the Serious Life Change many of my fellow graduates had when they landed jobs in other cities. They moved on and I stood still.
Freelance work is great. But it can be static. Only I didn't know that yet.
A Lesson In Adulting
I waited for opportunities to appear, trips to be planned and Masters degrees just pop up in my inbox.
It didn't happen.
It took the passing of a few months to realise that I hadn't moved very much at all since graduating. Adulthood was not attached to the same fast-track rails education had been and time passes more quickly when nothing is new.
Perhaps I am serving myself some injustice. I did pick up some great copywriting clients and I was more involved with coaching rhythmic gymnastics that I had been in years.
But I wasn't moving forward. And that bothered me.
The first change
When the rhythmic gymnastics club came to and end, the structure of my week unravelled and I, for the first time since the age of 4, was no longer regularly going to gymnastics.
I thought about what I wanted to prioritise. Three things came up.
- Social life
My focus switched to these areas; I had success with all three.
Around the time of this focus-reshuffle, I landed my job with Relay. It was a turning point in my career, and with my new role for a podcast network, I began thinking more about the ways I could improve my systems and processes.
Self-employment means you're never far from a brownie. Luckily, my Apple Watch acted as a catalyst for a more active lifestyle. I joined the gym, started playing tennis and began bouldering at the weekend. It was more movement than my couch-potato-student-self could have beared.
3. Social Life
What helped here (funnily enough) was again my Apple Watch. If I needed those extra steps, I was far more likely to walk to the pub and see friends. If I hadn't hit my exercise goal, I'd suggest a gym trip with Cass. It pulled me away from being a Netflix cookie-monster and put me into the outside world with *shudders* other people. Something that is easy to avoid when you work remotely.
why this time was different
While focussing on the above areas, I noted substantial changes in my habits.
This, undoubtedly, was due to my utilisation of technology. If I had to wear my Apple watch every day, I knew I'd be more likely to workout. If I spent time looking for the best apps and software, I knew I could be better in my work life.
Once I realised this, I began thinking about all the things I'd like to improve - and wondering what apps and tools would be out there to help.
Technology, to improve
So, that brings us to today. September 1st. The real new year.
My focus is now a broader one - how can I use technology to improve my day to day life?
I have ideas and plans for all kinds of projects, all related to being better. I figured a blog would be the best place to document what I find.
September 1st felt like the right day to start.