I think what I love so much about a new school year is the idea of a clean slate.

Transitioning into a new school year means saying goodbye to challenges and hardships from the previous year. It’s a time of shrugging off, wiping away, and leaving behind. For some of us, that can feel like a relief, a weight-lifted, and a sense of freedom.

As some have said, September is the new January.

We write in empty grade books, unwrap new office supplies, crack open new textbooks, and revel in the energy that we stored up over the summer.

September is the perfect time to look forward to new goals, ideas, and projects. The new school year brings hope.

Gretchin Rubin (one of my favorite writers and podcasters) has a theory about habit building. She says that a clean slate is the prefect time to start a new habit.

This works for starting a new job, starting a new school year, moving to a new place, or any other transition time when one thing is ending and another is beginning.

It’s the perfect time to let something go or start something fresh.

I published a podcast episode this past week about preparing oneself for a new season. In that episode, I encouraged listeners to answer some reflective questions about the upcoming final months of 2017.

I realized that these questions can also help us prepare for harnessing the clean slate of the upcoming school year.

As you ease into September, take a moment to reflect on the following:

  1. How did your previous school year go? What were some things that went well?
  2. What are the things that you didn’t get to, or weren’t able to prioritize, in the previous school year? What do you feel regretful about?
  3. What are you most looking forward to about this new school year?
  4. Is there anything coming up in this next school year that you’re really nervous about?
  5. How can you help prepare yourself for this upcoming school year? Both for the good things that are happening and for the things that you’re nervous about?

I’ll be taking some time this week to think through these questions — I hope you’ll join me.

To think on:

  • What new habits do you want to prioritize this school year?
  • What habits do you want to leave behind?

(If one of your goals this school year is upping your academic writing and publication game, I hope you’ll consider the how to: academia webinar series. This year, I’m hosting conversations about nine different topics on writing and publishing. Learn more and register for upcoming webinars at howtoacademia.com. And don’t forget to use code tac20 for a special discount.)