Let’s Make
Labor Day Resolutions

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Let’s Make Labor Day Resolutions

Why now is the time to make a few changes for the better

I’ve never really liked New Year’s resolutions. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the idea of bettering yourself. But the timing is terrible. We're still in the throes of the holiday season and all the indulgences that come with it. Who feels like starting a new fitness regimen or picking up a hobby when it's cold out and gets dark at 4:45 pm?

But Labor Day? The first Monday in September, when the breeze gets a bit cooler and school (in whatever form) is back in session? That's always felt like a more logical, natural start to a new year. And honestly, I don't think I've ever been more ready to kick off a fresh start. Because time has moved in strange ways during this period of self-isolation. If a resolution gives me a reset button, I'll hit it. Hard.

What's more, if we start now, by the time winter begins rearing its ugly head, we'll be a few months into these new habits. Which means it'll be a lot easier to stick to them when things inevitably slow down and out comes the bourbon, and Halloween candy and seasonal sadness to pull us away from our goals.

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After all, goals are essential to building the life you want to have. But they don't come easily or quickly. Warren Buffett—a guy who knows something about planning for the future—famously said: “Someone is sitting in shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” If we put in the work now, by new year's we'll be seeing some serious return on investment.

If you're considering a fitness resolution, you're in luck. There's no better time to get serious about working out. Fall's weather is much nicer than in the dead of summer when it comes to working out in the outdoors. And suddenly, there's plenty of helpful guidance to help you find a routine you can do effectively from home.

Of course, there are plenty of other worthy resolutions to make and beneficial habits to pursue. You could commit to reading an hour each day—not the news, but something that will take you out of your day-to-day thinking, be it an engrossing piece of nonfiction or a novel that'll transport you to another time and place. You might want to set aside time each workday to network. Now that many of us are working remotely, maintaining those professional contacts will be vital.

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Whatever you're hoping to check off your to-do list this fall, make sure it's something you want to do. Because if it feels like a chore, it's never going to be sustainable (especially once winter hits and the excuses start flowing). Carder Stout, PhD, a Los Angeles-based psychologist who focuses on the unconscious side of our psyche, reiterates that resolutions of any size need to be thought of as a long game. He says that setting a resolution without a plan sets you up for failure from the get-go.

If your goal is to argue less with your partner or spend less time on your phone, for example, he suggests choosing a day (or even just a morning) each week to simplify. Use your phone only as a phone and turn off wifi and any notifications. Or when it comes to your partner, only speak to answer someone's direct question and spend the rest of the time really listening to them. Both exercises challenge you to be more present and help you diffuse the background noise and distractions getting in the way. Dr. Stout says success often revolves around a willingness to lower our pulse rate and redefine our expectations. Not a bad way to kickstart a much-needed refresh, right?

FYI

First Labor Day parade in New York City

FYI

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday before President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September a national holiday.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor

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