Start Your Year in February

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“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I read an article on Stepcase Lifehack on Why You Should Start Your New Year in February.

The main idea is to use January to recover from the holidays and make February your focus for getting down to business.

Use February as Your Real Starting Point

So, if you didn’t get the start you wanted in January, then don’t sweat it.  Instead, get ready to make things happen in February.   Use January as your time to plan things out, decompress from the holidays, and get clear on what you want out of the year.

I like this idea on multiple levels.   For one thing, it’s a forward-looking mental model.  Instead of trying to play catch up or worry about how you missed your great start in January, plan your great start for February.

Feel On Top of Things

Rather than feel behind on things, you can feel on top of things.  It’s along the lines of, “If you miss the train, catch the next one.”, or, “I’m not late for today, I’m early for tomorrow.”

It’s this forward looking view on life that helps you rise above the noise, and take advantage of windows of opportunity.

To make the most of my months, I use 30 Day Improvement Sprints, a practice from Agile Results.  I pick a theme for the month, and I do a little something each day towards the goal.  It’s a simple way to keep taking action, a day at a time, and achieve big things.

I’ve used 30 Day Improvement Sprints to change habits, tackle tough challenges at work, work on personal projects, explore new interests, and learn new things.

If you’re looking for a way to make this year different, consider 30 Days of Getting Results.   It’s a timeless collection of little lessons you can use to get a fresh start and bring out your best.

Photo by Jack Bachelor.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. JD,
    I applied your 30 day improvement sprint to weight management. Generally I wanted to test if no carbs after 7pm would gain me results, namely shed some weight. I am into day 21 now and it does not work, hey – now I know! Next sprint is 30 day no carbs after 1pm

  2. I really like the idea of starting the year in February. I started the year with my goals, then ended up spending most of January laying the ground work for projects. I’m finally ready to take some “massive” action so the 30 day challenge sounds like a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. @ Alik — Way to experiment and test. Interestingly, Tony Robbins used to say that a great way to start the day is juice through the morning. I don’t know if you explored The Zone, but it’s got good science and key points on effective ratios and food combining.

    @ Marquita — I like when I hear massive action. Few challenges resist massive action. I too plan on some massive action, and I’ve been doing a lot of laying foundation this month. I know it will pay off, and that helps me stay focused.

  4. Well they say nothing is new under the sun…The weather and craziness and so much to do has truly got me off on the slow start or second train into the new year…

    I also had one plan for 2012 and now that is not possible…still not marketing my work well enough even with another class under my belt…

    Doing that 60 year old thing of re-evaluating my life…

    Rather in a free fall – This probably means I should pull out my Agile Results and get ready to sprint…:)

    If great minds think alike, maybe this too is a hopeful sign I have a great mind?

  5. Oh yeah! True enough! This is so new to me. I’ll start everything this February then. You just don’t how thankful I am. I’ll check the 30 Days of Getting Results too.

  6. Hi JD .. I like Alik’s idea .. he’s continuing, testing and trying and that 21 day habit and 30 day Agile Results I know will work. My metabolism doesn’t like food til the evening – so I’ve always eaten fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch .. give me a proper lunch and I’m asleep the rest of the day!

    I am going forward and I guess that’s better than nothing – and honing my ideas – opportunities are opening up … 2012 will be interesting.

    Cheers Hilary

  7. @ Patricia — Yes, all paths lead to the same town.

    It’s actually very difficult to market with skill. A book that’s very eye-opening is “Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes.”

    @ Kalyn — It’s a shame Feb is only 28 days, but then again it’s really a metaphor. The idea is to have a “monthly theme” or “Focus for the month.”

    @ Hilary — Alik is great at turning insight into action and testing his way through the jungle.

    It’s always inspiring what’s possible if you commit to action … even little steps each day add up fast.

    @ Farouk — Best wishes on a great jump start!

  8. I love this idea of starting your year in February. Which is when the year does start in some cultures! I find lots of people are still recovering in January, so this makes sense on so many levels.

    I’m very curious about the 30 day improvement sprints. I’ve been doing a monthly review and this has helped me tremendously. But I look the idea of looking forward instead of just looking backwards!

  9. That’s a good point. I think for a lot of us if we don’t get the start we were hoping for in January then we kind of grow compalacent.

    Using January as a month to plan and February as the month to start executing our plan makes a lot of sense.

    I’m going to do the same. February will the the month we launch our first service to the general public on our site.

    Excited to see how it goes.

  10. @ Sandra — It’s a great way to start ahead, instead of feel behind, and I think that right there makes all the difference in the world.

    I think the 30 Day Improvement Sprints help answer the question, “What do you want your month to be about?” A lot happens in a month, and it’s nice if we can add a little story to it, and a theme that drives focus.

    @ Bryce — I ended up using January for planning and testing the path. I also used it to trim my “to-do” tree down to size, and get on top of a few things that were getting out from under me. It set me up well to make the most of February.

    Good luck on your launch!

  11. Hi JD,

    Yep, we can start any day and any month, not only January or February. Giving ourselves 30 days to do something or create a habit is that has many benefits. I’ve tried it in many areas of my life and I was able to change some new positive habits. Thanks for sharing JD

  12. @ Dia — A little focus goes a long way.

    At the end of the month, I like to ask myself, out of 30 times at bat, how many times did I really “step up to the plate?” It’s a metaphor that inspires me to put more into my effort, regardless of whether I strike out, or knock the ball out of the park.

  13. JD,

    I can see where this would come in handy. I’ve used this sort of thing in the past where I started the week of on Tuesday. It let me recover from the weekend and get the first day of work over with.

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