Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Great February Reset

Scott D. Parker

Do you know the best thing about February is? No, not the holiday. Valentine’s Day is one of my least favorite holidays on the calendar. It has always felt manufactured, like if the folks who sold flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards all got together and invented a holiday to increase their bottom lines.

Actually, one of the best things about February is the chance to reset on any habits you might have already broken.

I suspect you’ve seen all the historical data that tell us many people stop doing their New Year’s Resolutions sometime around 14-19 January.  That's just two weeks. Typically we think of resolutions like going to the gym or talking a daily walk to help us exercise or stop eating a certain food or abstaining from alcohol.

Those are all well and good, but often, we creatives want to start a habit and, in some ways, that can be more difficult, especially if we’ve fallen by the wayside prior to New Year’s Day.

But here’s the thing: a New Year’s Resolution is not a one-and-done. It’s not like if you fall off the wagon sometime in mid January you have failed for the entire year. Let’s not judge an entire 365-day cycle by the actions of a 14 or so days.

I’m a firm believer that every new month is an opportunity to get back into a habit or reinforce one you started the previous month. I resolved to write a 1,000 words a day in 2022 (or reach 365,000 words for the year). I’m happy to say that my streak is intact, but boy, some of those days were a slog, especially with a day job.

In fact, I battled with myself over just how important a streak like this is. To remind myself of the power of streaks, I need only look at the small calendar on the fridge. I had fallen away from taking vitamins every day so I needed to start that back up again. I did the Jerry Seinfeld thing where I put an X on the calendar for each day I took my vitamins. Eight days into the new year, I forgot. Boom! Busted up my streak and my January has a hole in it. Irritation.

But my writing streak is alive. My writing resolution is alive. I hope your resolutions are alive, too.

If they’re not, dedicate the month of February to creating a new habit. It’s only 28 days long, an even four weeks. Chances are high if you maintain that new habit until 1 March, you’ll be good to go. But if not, then let March be your new start date. Heck, let each Sunday be a start date. Just start. Then continue. The rewards will flow to you.

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