The Blue Monday Myth

Blue MondayEvery year at this time, the media declares the third Monday of the month to be Blue Monday. The Most Depressing Day of the Year. This past Monday was it for 2017. It kinda makes sense, since the holidays are over, the credit card bills are in, and the weather sucks.

But it’s actually a total pantload.

The Blue Monday Origin Story

The guy who coined this term in 2005, Dr. Cliff Arnall  from Cardiff University, came up with a mathematical formula to measure this:

(W)Weather plus the difference between your debts (D) and your (d) salary, multiplied by the time since Christmas (T) times how long ago you already quit on your New Year’s resolution (Q). All this over your low Motivation  level (M) multiplied by your need to take action (Na).

Cliff’s work was quickly debunked as a paid journalism piece used to promote a travel company. Mathematicians abused Cliff for his “theory.” They called it “farcical” with equations that “fail even to make mathematical sense on their own terms.”

His university rushed to distance themselves with this smackdown: “Cardiff University has asked us to point out that Cliff Arnall… was a former part-time tutor at the university but left in February.”

So we have bogus research by a part-time tutor paid for by a travel company to promote vacation spending. Yet this Blue Monday crap is still making the rounds in the media a dozen years after it’s been debunked.

Why This Bugs Me

This piece of nonsense discourages people from making changes in their lives. The equation assumes we’ll all quit our resolutions before we succeed. Then media outlets pile on with statistics on how quickly people fail their New Year’s Resolutions.

Now it’s popular to mock these folks on television talk shows and drive-time radio. So much that I think fewer people actually make an effort to improve themselves. Folks seem afraid to make resolutions because of this negative attention.

So every January the media trots out this tired canard to weaken your resolve. Even though they know it’s crap.

The Sad Truth

It’s true that a lot of people fail at this. Statistic Brain, a website full of statistics, claims that a quarter of all people who make New Year’s resolutions fail within a week. A third fail within two weeks. Barely half hang on past the first month, and less than a tenth of all people who make resolutions achieve them.

That’s a pantload of crappy results right there.

But they also state that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t. And here’s where we come in.

The Way Manic Impressives Do It

Manic Impressives are all about going down swinging. Our optimism and belief in ourselves doesn’t stop because other people can’t quit smoking or lose 20 pounds.

We know we can better ourselves. Because we frame our past efforts the way Thomas Edison did when he couldn’t get that lightbulb right.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

So we look at “failure” a bit differently. If anything, the more we struggle, the more resolved we become.  And it’s through trial and error that we figure out how to  stick with our resolutions.

From our experience with the ways that don’t work, we’ve learned to manage activities, not results. If you make sure you perform the right behaviors each day, the results will take care of themselves. So  we break down our goals into the behaviors we need to perform to achieve them.

Then we measure how we perform on those behaviors every day. And we get help from like-minded folks who help us hold ourselves accountable. You can pretty much guarantee your success if you approach your resolutions this way.

So Forget This Blue Monday Nonsense

And let me know if you need some help with your goals. My little Resolution Invitational group will embrace and encourage you to trial and error your way to resolution success.

All of us will be part of the 9.2 percent of people who accomplish their resolutions this year. Because we are resolved…

5 thoughts on “The Blue Monday Myth”

  1. Yes, thanks for helping me with tracking my behaviors Aram. It really works. This is the most focused I have ever been in my life. Everything is better. I’m taking care of business and letting the static fall away.

  2. I loved it when I heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson on NPR. He got a question wrong in a trivia quiz and commented that if he had gotten all the questions right, he wouldn’t have learned anything that day!

  3. I’ve been so focused on goals that I missed all the Blue Monday hype, and so glad I did since it’s a “pantload”. Thanks for debunking the myth. So glad to be around your table of focused action takers.

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