The Slacker’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions That Stick

My Unscientific 5-Step Recipe

Jake Knapp
Jan 1, 2017 · 4 min read

It worked!

Building a small daily habit was way easier than a big sometimes habit. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like magic. I fell off the wagon several times, but each time I managed to get back on. Since the goal was doable, if I missed a day or two, I didn’t have to break the ice when I resumed. It worked, and the habit stuck!

1. Dial it back

Don’t be too ambitious. Like, do you really want to run a marathon? I mean, you’ve seen people at the end of marathons, right? They look pretty tired.

2. Make it very specific

My “Exercise more” resolution is a prime example of way-too-vague. “Run every day” is better, “Run around the park in the morning” is better still. Best of all would be something like “Exercise every day, ideally running in the morning, but other forms of exercise and other times of day are also cool.” You get the idea.

3. Add the magic words “for at least ten minutes every day”

If you decide ten minutes a day is enough to count, you’ll find it way easier to do it every day. And if you do it every day, it’s way easier to keep the habit.

4. Do it every day for a month

Don’t think about all 365 days at once. If you make it through January (or any 30 consecutive days), there’s a pretty good chance the habit will stick for the year. If you don’t believe me, ask Jerry Seinfeld.

5. Be nice to yourself if you miss a day or two

Just start again. In fact, if you miss a day or two but get right back on it, you don’t even have to count it as breaking your 30-day streak. I hereby grant you permission!

Make Time

Helping you make time for what matters

Jake Knapp

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Writer, designer, person. Author of SPRINT and MAKE TIME. More at

Make Time

Make Time

Helping you make time for what matters