I just finished reading Dan Pink’s latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which likely explains why I am focused on the meaning of January.  January 1, no surprise, is a temporal moment and Dan’s research supports this. We make resolutions on January 1, and for those of us who belong to a gym, we witness the end of those resolutions, sometime around Valentine’s Day.

Yet, for those amongst us who focus on both what and whenaccording to Dan, we are more likely to turn a “resolution” into a commitment.  I love the simple story Dan shares about Jerry Seinfeld’s writing habit. Jerry writes daily, he doesn’t judge the daily writing he just does it.  Jerry prints out the calendar for the entire year and each day, he puts a big X on the day to mark off the writing. And, after a time, he has so many X’s he is committed. Research says, 21 days is what it takes to create a habit. Jerry say’s it looking at all those X’s, the chain it creates, that inspires him.

Dan also tells us that midpoints matter. Today is about midway from resolution beginning to likely ending, close enough, to ask yourself these questions:

  • What did you promise yourself you would do for yourself this year?
  • Is this promise still top of mind?
  • If not, is it something you still want?
  • If these promises matter to you, what actions are you willing take to turn them from resolutions to habits that extend beyond Valentine’s Day?
  • What is your equivalent of Jerry’s writing habit that you are willing to monitor with a calendar of “X’s”?

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain

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