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Post-Holiday September Resolutions - Eight Small Steps to Become a Better Person and Help Change the World

10/09/2015 11:29 BST | Updated 09/09/2016 10:12 BST

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September's here and we're gradually returning from summer holidays refreshed and energised, with renewed motivation and enthusiasm for life! September is also traditionally a month for change, as the new academic year begins, as many people move city to start new jobs / degrees, and as the job market floods with new opportunities. All this fresh energy makes now the perfect time to set resolutions for the remaining four months of the year. Compared to New Year's Resolutions in January, when we're physically exhausted after December and in no fit state to attempt new long-term goals, September's post-summer buzz is perfect.

And unlike the self-interested nature of New Year's Resolutions, which typically focus on personal improvement, why not aim to give something back to others in your September Resolutions? Committing to take small actions is infinitely more achievable than one big overwhelming goal to save the planet. Here are 8 small September Resolutions that can help you become a better person, while contributing to changing the world too:

1. Sign up for an evening class on a subject or hobby you love, to enrich your mind and get your brain whirring! My personal favourite in London is City Lit as they offer tasters and classes on everything under the sun. If you're outside of London, try searching on Hot Courses.

2. Volunteer by giving careers talks in schools. Related to number 1, how can you give back what you've already learnt? Sign up with Inspiring the Future to give careers talks in schools, and contact your old school or university to see if they need volunteer speakers. I'm returning to both my school and university in November and I'm excited to help inspire young students as they take important career and study decisions.

3. Get fit by attempting a challenge and fundraising for charity. I'm currently training to run the Athens Marathon for the global children's charity Plan UK, and the donations I've received so far on my JustGiving page really keep me on track with my training plan, more than any workout schedule could back in January! If running isn't your thing, then how about a group walking or cycling challenge? Or pick a charity and see what events they organise. For example, here are the challenges that Plan UK suggest and can help you register for, including the Royal Parks Half Marathon and even a Zombie Evacuation 5km obstacle course on Halloween!

4. Get involved with a cause you're passionate about on an ongoing basis. One example is my involvement with the charity Plan UK, for whom I'm a Digital Ambassador. Having chosen one cause, I focus my efforts on helping support Plan UK and to ensure I maintain an ongoing relationship, I've committed to sponsor a 10-year-old girl in Honduras until she turns 18. Sponsoring a child with Plan UK involves choosing a gender, age range and a country in Asia/Africa/Latin America, paying a £15/month direct debit and maintaining a penpal-type dialogue with your sponsored child, allowing you to see the benefit of your donation.

5. Offset your carbon emissions for your travels this year. As a travel blogger, I'm guilty of racking up lots of international air miles each year, so I calculate my carbon footprint from flying and donate £30 annually to the Woodland Trust to plant the equivalent number of trees. The WWF also have a great carbon footprint calculator.

6. Keep a daily gratitude or good deed journal. On the 1st January I began writing down one thing I was grateful for each day. The impact on my overall happiness has been remarkable and I'm much more appreciative of life as a result of my gratitude journaling. Another angle is to record one 'good deed' you did each day, which has actively prompted me to be more altruistic and find small ways to help others every single day.

7. Avoid the stress of Christmas Day cooking by volunteering with homeless people instead. If you're based in or nearby London, Newcastle or Edinburgh, then sign up to volunteer with Crisis at Christmas this year and help feed and shelter homeless people. Registration opens in early October and they need 10,000 volunteers!

8. Re-purpose your existing New Year's Resolutions. Look back at your goals from January and identify some quick wins you can achieve between now and December. If some of the resolutions no longer feel relevant to your life, then cross them out and don't feel guilty! You'll thank yourself on New Year's Day when the time inevitably comes to reflect on the previous year and you'll find that yes, you did actually achieve your September Resolutions!

What do you think - do you feel energised by the arrival of September? And what other ideas would you add to this list of September Resolutions?

What do you think - do you feel energised by the arrival of September? And what other ideas would you add to this list of September Resolutions?

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