If you don’t “do” New Year’s resolutions or they work for you or really for any other reason this doesn’t apply to you, please ignore it.

This year skip your New Year’s resolution and make a January 31-Day Resolution, you are much more likely to keep that resolution and positively impact your life. And make it a real resolution — something both measurable and achievable.

Cannot Measure vs Can Measure

You cannot measure success against “losing weight”, “eating healthier”, “drinking less”, “liking your job”, “being a better friend”, etc. You can measure “lose 5 pounds”, “don’t eat processed foods”, “no more than 3 drinks a week”, “apply to three jobs a week”, “call someone you haven’t talked to in 3 months each week” etc. If you cannot measure your goal you cannot know if you are achieving your goal — i.e., it will be just a crap shoot hoping for the outcome you desire.

Make your resolution realistic. If you haven’t been to the gym in a year then you shouldn’t commit to working out 5 days a week for an entire year — be realistic, commit to yourself 30 minutes twice a week. If you eat pizza three times a week don’t say you won’t eat pizza for an entire year — be realistic, pizza on Friday only. If you set unrealistic goals you are likely to either intimidate yourself into failure or become so overwhelmed in a short period of time that you quit.

Setting a measurable goal and then measuring your achievement of that goal is the only way to successfully improve yourself.

Commit for a Month

Now, forget the New Year’s Resolution and go with the January 31-Day Resolution. Same idea, but you are only committing — right now — to do something for the month of January. If it works, if it makes you happy…great, keep it up and move into a February Resolution and then to a March Resolution and on and on. Allow the start of each month to be an opportunity to reevaluate and reset your personal expectations.

By reigning in the New Year Resolution to be the January Resolution you’ll make it easier to stick with your resolution — when you are hating the lack of dairy in your diet next Friday you are only three weeks, instead of 51 weeks, away from having a chance to re-evaluate and set new goals.

Success is achieved one step at a time. Marathons are not run in a single step. Set yourself short realistic measurable goals. Execute against those goals. Measure your achievement of those goals. Look at the output of achieving those goals. And then start over.

If you haven’t been achieving what you want from your New Year’s Resolutions then don’t you think it is time to try something new? Try out the monthly resolution starting with a January 31-Day Resolution — see how it works for you and then you can decide if you want to continue.

Note: I’m republishing this now (Dec 31 2017), after having originally published this idea two years ago. I successfully used this strategy to eliminate both coffee and soda from my life, back at the start of 2016. Having committed to abstain for just January I discovered I kept it going month-after-month through the entire year. Although I’ve since allowed myself to enjoy both beverages, I’m now in complete control – as neither are part of my regular lifestyle.


Also published on Medium.