But there’s one thing we all get wrong when it comes to writing new year’s resolutions: When we decide to write them.
Of course we write new year’s resolutions on New Year’s Eve. It’s as traditional as staying up past midnight, watching the ball drop and popping a bottle of champagne.
But just because everyone does it on Dec 31 or during the first week of January doesn’t mean it’s the best time to do it.
So we’re inspired to write every morning, to go for that run, to eat healthier and turn in earlier at night. We think, “why haven’t I done this all my life?”
It also sounds like a sugar rush. January is the high—and February is the brutal crash.
By Groundhog Day, you let yourself slip a day or three. Before you know it, you’re shoving potato chips in your mouth while binge watching that 90s TV show. You spend weeks mourning the loss of The New You and the goals you were so certain you could achieve this year.
When March rolls around, you already forgot that you even wrote a new year’s resolution.
Why do we put ourselves through this vicious cycle?
Because we think that January is the only month to create a goal for ourselves. If we didn’t make time to write an annual goal by the second week of January, we tell ourselves that we just have to wait until next year.
But you didn’t miss the boat. To be blunt, there’s no figurative resolution ferry that leaves the dock precisely on January 2.
What we really need to make is time to craft the right goal for this year.
January should be the month you tie up loose ends. After all, December was a busy month of holiday parties and present shopping. That’s like running a marathon after running a marathon.
Instead, spend the month of January getting your life in order and collecting your thoughts. What would you really like to achieve this year? What are your values? What would bring happiness to your life?
Next, look at your calendar. When is the best time to get started? How much time can you give to your goal each day, each week, each month? Plot out your strategy on a calendar so that you can visually commit to the goal.
So what if you write your new year’s resolution in March or May? What matters is that you write it at all—and that you truly follow through on it.
The purpose of writing a new year’s resolution isn’t to create a flashy goal that wows your peers. It’s to create a life change that you genuinely want for yourself.
Don’t make a January new year’s resolution. Make a whatever-month-is-right goal. Because writing a new year’s resolution shouldn’t be treated like a fad but a life commitment.