The best time to start New Year’s resolutions

The best time to start New Year’s resolutions
Prophsee Journals on Unsplash

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. The concept comes across as forced and is almost inevitably matched by the accompanying failure that follows.

That said I do believe in the power of habits. They’re not tied to a change in calendar, though such events do lend to a psychological clean start.

Over the past few years I’ve started new habits not on the first of January but in the preceding months.

January 2017 I set out to close the three rings on my Apple Watch. I did it but not before I’d started doing it in the weeks before in December 2016.

In 2018 I journaled every day using Day One. I did it—and still do it to this day—but I’d started with scraps of personal writing in the months prior to January 1st 2018.

This year I’ve been meditating every day with the Headspace app. I’m currently, on November 20th 2019, on a 446 day streak meaning I started this at the end of August 2018.

This year my Greek practice has taken a more consistent turn and my goal is to continue with it next year and long into the future too.

Earlier this year I read Atomic Habits by James Clear and it cemented a few things that I’d believed about habit formation but the most important was to create a streak. This is one of the foundational strategies I’ve used forming my own habits or New Year’s resolutions if you will.

The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.

I’ve seen many variations of this quote but its message is the same. Starting a habit sooner than later means it has the best chance to stick. Waiting until tomorrow, or the day after, or January 1st limits the potential for this habit or resolution to stick.