get back on track

Time For a U-Turn: How to Use Labor Day to Get Back on Track

Although we officially still have almost a whole month of summer left (fall season begins 9/21), the day after Labor Day can often feel like the end of summer, especially for those who are teachers, counselors, and others in academic careers.

If you have kids in college, they might be headed back to school as well.

Even if you work year round and/or don’t have a kid going back to school for the fall, I still think that using the day after Labor Day as a fresh start is smart if you’ve let yourself go a little (or a lot) over the summer.

If this sounds like you and you’d like to use the day after Labor Day to get back on track, to help you do this, I’m going to guide you through a series of questions broken up into two parts.

Let’s get started!

Note: You’ll see that I use examples below to get your thought-process going, however, they may or may not apply directly to you.

If this is the case, don’t write off the question or the example; instead, use the example I give to apply the concept to your own unique situation.

Now, take out your journal or a piece of paper and work through the following questions.

And please try not to rush. Take your time – this is important “Me Time”.

Part 1: Your Good Summer Habits

What good habits did you have over the summer? (List them all out)

  • For example:
  • Went for a walk every morning
  • Ate a leisurely and nutritious breakfast
  • Slept 7.5 hours most nights
  • Had some quiet time most days
  • And so on… (Remember, they don’t have to be big. The tiniest good habits count in my book!)

What contributed to you keeping these good habits going?

(i.e. Maybe you had more time, energy, a supportive friend, etc…)

Can you think of any ways you can keep any of those good habits going in the fall? If yes, how so? (Now’s the time to be creative!)

If not (because your time will be more limited, for example), in what way(s) can you tweak this habit in order to carry it over to the fall?

Here’s an example:

If you’re a teacher who was “off” for the summer, maybe the first thing you did in the morning was go for a walk.

Now that you’re back at work, you won’t have as much time in the morning.

Instead of letting this good habit go because you don’t have time in the morning, perhaps you just “tweak” it by either walking during work with a co-worker, after work around the school track, or after dinner.

Again, be creative. Even if you don’t use them all, come up with many different ideas – it’s good practice!

Part 2: Your Poor Summer Habits

What poor habits did you have over the summer? (List them all out)

  • For example:
  • Sporadic meals
  • Too many splurges
  • Too much alcohol
  • Not enough physical activity
  • And so on…

Not that you won’t break ALL of them at some point, pick just ONE of the poor habits you had over the summer that you DON’T want to carry into the fall.

Pick the one you “want” to change, not the one you “should” change. You’ll be more motivated this way. (And yes, just one! Remember, it’s too hard to make too many changes at once.)

Is there a way you can tweak your environment in order to break that poor habit?

Here’s an example:

If you didn’t have to get up so early in the morning over the summer, you may have found yourself staying up later to binge-watch your favorite shows (and maybe some late-night snacks were involved too).

Now that you have to get up earlier to go to work, you can’t stay up as late.

You might consider what time you need to get to bed in order to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep.

What’s more, you might also consider creating a new bedtime routine that begins 30 minutes before bedtime that allows your body and mind to prepare for a good night’s sleep.

Finally, you might also do some “fridge & pantry purging” this week to ensure that you’re not tempted by those “summer snacks.”

Next week, I’m going to share with you three things you NEED in order to make the change you want to make this fall, whether that’s building new habits or letting go of bad ones.

See you then!

It’s Your Turn to Take Care of You,




P.S. I know it can be hard to do all this alone and you don’t have to. Remember that I’m here to help you with all of this. Just schedule a time to talk with me during my Office Hours.


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