Why September should be the new January: Go ‘Back to School’ with yourself now

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Mahnaaz Dattu

The summer, it seems, zoomed by in a flash. Kind of like a sugar daddy at the wheel of a Maserati, ripping through post-TIFF’ers in Yorkville. Luckily, I still have criss-cross sandal marks on my feet and a slightly caramel-licious tone to my skin.  However, the big, fat, fact of the matter is Fall is a week away. Yellow school buses are everywhere. Just like Citytv. Everywherrrrrre! (Big ups to the grand daddy of my broadcast journo years, Mark Dailey)

As kids go back to school to learn, question, challenge, and explore what the world and they are about, adults should do the same. I am not talking about recess or going frantic every time you hear the sound of a bell. Actually, that’s your alarm clock waking you up for work. Listen to it and go frantic if the snooze button is your thing.

Going ‘Back to School’ with yourself…..

What I am talking about is going back to school with whatever you gotta go back to school with. Maybe you gotta go back to school with your fitness and nutrition, maybe you gotta go back to school with a relationship, or maybe you gotta go back to school with yourself. Going back to school with yourself = Engineering a beautiful, 2.0, holistic you.

Ok, but why now?

Whatever it is you gotta go back to school with, do it now. Not in January when you’re ringing in the new year 2 shots of vodka, 3 shots of tequilla, and 2 glasses of wine later, followed by guilty pizza eating the next day. Chances are you will make a NYE resolution in a drunken state of over compensation and stupid ridiculous-ness.

For those of you who don’t drink or give your NYE resolution some pre-January 1st thought, is it actionable right now? Ringing in the new year should be about celebrating your past year’s success and looking forward to possibilities. I’m not saying don’t set goals. Possibilities can be goals just as much as they can be positive results.

I’m saying consider doing the do-able NOW. Set objectives with a defined path for success. Put yourself in motion on the yellow brick road. And just like Dorothy, keep those whom you care about and dig as experts close by.

The here and now is the to-do list that road maps your bright future turn-by-turn. At least that’s the message I’ve downloaded from my gurus Tony Robbins and Danielle Laporte. Stephen Covey, Napoleon Hill, Maxwell Maltz, and a host of mavens who teach success online, we are all gonna make out mentally, on paper, and on my laptop.

Walk my talk…..

So, the question begs – or at least you should of me – what am I doing now? Below are my areas of seed, plant, grow, and rise to the sunshine of life done great. This is all to-do before NYE. Chances are I’ll be guilty pizza eating the afternoon of January 1, 2015 on a friend’s sofa, asking myself why I didn’t remove my mascara the night before. So, the here is NOW and the NOW is here. I’m shutting up with the now, NOW.

1) Personal: See the silver lining in EVERYTHING, even when something is a big, black, furry, ugly, crazy and with 8 legs mess. Case in point: I have 7 months left on an apartment lease someone (normal and with enough rent $) needs to take over. I have promoted my apartment like Prozac and Viagara lollypop covered in cinnamon. Everywhere and to no avail, attracting only scammers, sketch bombs, and flake tarts.


Tinsel-shiny-silver-lining oh where are you? I have goat cheese in the fridge, but I’m nearly out of that too Mr. Stamm. I love goat cheese. I also love doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in my empty living room. Someone will eventually move in and do what’s meant to be done in this living room: Watch TV and eat dinner with or without goat cheese.


Yes, this and some other shit-tastic stuff that happened sucks sweet and sour chicken balls, BUT……

I recently fell on tough times, tough times did not fall on me. That’s my Buddha-esque, parting of the waves, shift in perspective. You are what you think and your state is a collection of your beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. Tony Robbins et. al. Circa let’s make it a lifetime.

2) Professional: Work, work, work it girl. Digital marketing, SEO, Adobe, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and CSS Olympics Gladiator-style. *Sigh* again for the latter. This is learning for competitive edge so I can karate chop projects frisbee’ed my way. I am Thomas the Train. I think I can. I know I am. I AM. I start tomorrow, send me your brain waves!

3) Financial: Tony Robbins says NOT to rely on someone else for your financial growth. Sure, talk to advisors, but do not leave it  entirely up to them to do your saving. Arm yourself with knowledge on how to increase your $ so you can make informed decisions. And as Nike says, [shit] “Just Do It!”

Turn your habit into a fortune…..

So every day starting – you guessed it  NOW – I am depositing $3.69 into my savings account. That’s roughly the cost of a latte, which equals $25.83 a week, which equals $103.32 a month, which equals $1,239.84 a year. Times that by 31 years and that’s $38,435.04. That’s nothing to retire on, but a heck of a lot of unconsumed lattes to put me in a better place at 65. That place looks like Fiji in my head. Me in Fiji. At 65. I see wrinkles. Ouch.

Manchester Press

4) Spiritual:  I’m thinking some form of meditation, such as focusing on my breathing two minutes a day. In my car and especially when someone cuts me off, performs an idiot maneuver, or a truck tailgates me. If the Yogi in you has suggestions, please comment below.

5) Physical: Keep up with HIIT, but change routines for more challenge. I’d like to say kettle bell training with a professional, but I can’t invest in that right now. I have to pay rent and put lattes into my bank account.

6) Emotional: Raise the bar and chin up to SUPER-eme. Good is good enough, but great is remarkable. And remarkable is hot chocolate sauce on my lips. Make it drip. Taste perfection? Good, now go bake it…..or as Tony Robbins would say: “What is it going to cost you to not achieve what you want?”

Hint: Think about all the pain and loss you’ll experience by not acting on what you can and should achieve, solve or overcome…..now.

My project: Be a pro at being pro-active in all of the above, below, and more that comes my way.


When all is said and done, it’s time to have some fun…..

7) Fun: Once I have my apartment leased and paid $ owed to mom and dad,  I am taking a contemporary dance class near you. Ever since I saw Sia’s “Chandelier” music video, I have wanted to twist, turn, jump and do the splits in leg warmers. With a blonde wig and nude coloured bathing suit on. There’s something so graceful and painfully honest about contemporary dance. Watch the video below to FEEL what I mean. Goosebumps, hey?

So, what does your ‘Back to School’ list look like? 

Get your personal/motivational/sexy-sational you GROOVE on with these reads and listens. Then, make your list and call me post-NYE. I want to know what toppings are on your pizza. Did you get creamy garlic or marinara dipping sauce? Also, did ‘Back to School’ work for you? Or should I say did YOU WORK for it?

The Fire Starter Sessions: A soulful and practical guide to creating success on your own terms: Creatively written with spunk and practical how-to exercises that will kickstart the motivational flame in you. Coffee book style with every sentence proving its burning message in the weight of heart and gold. No Harold the jewellery seller “Cash for Gold” stuff here. Oh yeaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!


Personal Power II: Tony Robbins is manic. Sometimes motivational-manic-do-it-now-in-baritone-voice is the kick in the pants you need. Ouch. But good ouch. Every audio session ends with an easy-to-follow exercise completed in your ‘Success Journal’. It takes the hokey-pokey out of goals swimming around in your head and gets them on paper. Your goals in the works. Documented AND real AVEC deadlines. Gotta love deadlines.


Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience: I am not in love with this book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s not an engaging read. Scientifically insightful, perhaps. Dated in examples, uh-huh. However, there are tips on how to achieve enjoyment and creativity in what you do everyday. Love it or hate it; you can find ‘Flow’ in it.

Big hugs and big ups: I heart these people…..

Special thanks to my friend Sohail Ahmed  for turning me into a Tony Robbins cheerleader and being mine all the time. Pom-poms are not just for girls that wanna have fun. They are for ninja iOS app developers too :-) Your advice and entrepreneurial drive are my motivation. Bless you to Mars, around the ring of Saturn, and back.

Mahshad Aryafar – aka Psychotherapist extraordinaire – thank you for telling me about the invaluable Fire Starter Sessions book. If there is a revolution erupting in me right now, it’s due to your thoughtful recommendation…..or maybe I just gotta go to the washroom. I’m kidding :-) I welcome this (good) volcanic mess that’s about to take place. You (hot lava) rock!




1 Response

These are the current comments for "Why September should be the new January: Go ‘Back to School’ with yourself now"

Excellent read, very motivational, making me inspired to actually make a to do list, which I will eventually.

10/05/14 @ 6:35 am

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