More than half of Americans make resolutions every January. The New Year marks the time for people to commit to new habits and kick old ones to the curb. But what if you didn’t have to wait until January?  If you are looking to change your leadership habits, you are in luck because September is the new January.

Habits guru Gretchen Rubin gives two reasons why September is a great time to focus on habit formation. The first is that often you need a prompt to start a new habit. Without a prompt, you can get stuck in thinking that you will start “tomorrow.” Finding an excuse to delay a change like getting up earlier or being more organized is easy. “Well, tomorrow I will have more time to write in my planner so I’ll start organizing my schedule then.” However, heading back to school can be a prompt to start today and avoid putting it off until tomorrow.

The second reason is that September offers you a clean slate: the start of a new school year. We are given a clean slate anytime we experience a major change in our lives such as a new job or a new relationship. Research shows that habit change is easiest when people undergo a life transition so September is a great time to capitalize on your back to school transition (or your children going back to school) to change your habits. Clean slates aren’t a frequent occurrence so take advantage when you can!

Developing healthy and productive habits can impact your happiness and effectiveness as a leader. In the words of Gretchen, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile.” Feeling motivated to head into the new school year with some better habits? Check out our blog post on a quiz developed by Gretchen Rubin that will help you identify your habit tendencies.