I’ve just spent a week on the south coast. Well, I say ON the south coast. I lurked nearby in the misty shadows, sporting my cagoul which (luckily) said ‘100% waterproof’ on the label. It poured for five days out of seven. But, you don’t go to West Wittering expecting Barcelona, do you? A few days by myself, cruising from Graham Norton’s autobiography to Heat magazine, via long periods in cake shops on the laptop (eBay is dangerously addictive on a rainy day) was just what I hoped for and what I got. The annual wind-down is done and dusted and my batteries have been recharged. Not so for all of you though.

I’ve had some very down-hearted emails this week dreading the arrival of the 1st of the month for it not only heralds the end of your summer activity (whether it was walking the Pennine Way or necking cocktails in Ibiza) but it also marks a time for transition. And that doesn’t always sit easily.

A new school year, university, a new job, a change of house, a new routine… these things are thrown at us, sometimes by choice, often by fate. But change doesn’t have to mean something to be feared. With it, comes improvement, a bit of self-discovery, a few crossed fingers and occasionally a leap of faith. The dipping of a toe outside the comfort zone means denial of the familiar and that’s sometimes a hard pill to swallow.

Think of September as a great time to TRY something new and different. Give yourself a time frame, give it your best shot, then walk away if you are less than delighted. Making the effort to try,  is what deserves praise. Take for example, the learning of a new skill… let’s say Spanish (not that I’ve got hot sunshine on my mind at all…). You sign up for a 10 week evening course, surprise everyone with your command of the lingo and hey presto, the mojitos are on tap. Or you might hate it, but you’ll have tried.

Trying to make changes to habits that have become too entrenched takes a bit more courage. I’m in the business of health and exercise. One part of my company is devoted to encouraging people to take up a fitness activity for health (and enjoyment!) and combine it with a way of eating which will rid the body of fat stores. During this process (the fat loss programmes last for 21 days) they understand why it works (because, boy it does) and how. But of course what it really means is a change to our way of eating… FOREVER. That’s the hard, chewy bit which people find hard to swallow.

Change for the rest of your life is difficult to envisage, yet we do it all the time. We get married. We have children. We change career paths. That’s for life, isn’t it? (though possibly not always the marriage bit!). So let’s not dread that back to school-y feeling this September. Embrace it with the biggest hug you can muster. Choice, challenge, change. Go forth and peel off old layers.

Thank you for reading. Annie x

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