“I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. I believe in new day or new hour resolutions.”

― Robert Braathe, founder of Braathe Enterprises

It’s been two years since COVID-19 happened. And despite its existence, we learned to live and adapt to this new change surrounding us. As we prepare for a new year, many people want to make up in this coming year for what they were unable to do for this year. December and January are when many Australians start to prepare for their next New Year’s Resolutions.

According to Finder,  a new nationally representative Finder survey of 1,004 Australians has revealed that 83% of respondents – which would be equivalent to 16.1 million people – have set new year’s resolutions for 2021. How committed have they been to their resolutions?

New Edith Cowan University (ECU) research led by ECU Associate Professor Joanne Dickson, has found that despite having the best intentions, most Australians give up on their New Year resolutions within the first month.

The study also revealed that approximately half of the Australians surveyed had the same, or nearly the same, resolution as they had the previous year, and more than half of the resolutions listed focused on either diet or exercise.

So do new year’s resolutions work? Many successful business people like Bill Gates and Tim Ferriss amongst others think otherwise – and choose to ditch it. Rather than a New Year’s resolution, they create a different approach on how they prepare themselves for a successful and productive new year.

Photo Source: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/bill-gates-interview-climate-crisis

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft

Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, confessed that he doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions. Rather, what he does make a habit of is conducting his “end-of-year assessment.” He looks at the year that has passed and contemplates what he has achieved and where he could have done better. He reflects on

  • “What was I excited about?” and
  • “What could I have done better?”

He also asks himself other questions about his life such as

  • “Did I devote enough time to my family?”
  • “Did I learn enough new things?” and
  • “Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones?”

But concerning business, let’s amend these questions that may help you reflect on your business resolutions. As a business leader / owner, ask yourself

  • “Did I devote enough time to my business and employees?”
  • “Did I learn enough new things and apply it to my business?” and
  • “Did I develop new business partners and deepen the relationship with existing ones?”

When you try this assessment from Bill Gates, write down your answers in a journal or a personal notepad. I find that thinking on paper actually helps make it easier to reflect on what you have done in your business throughout the year and what you could have done better for the next year. It’s a simple assessment and very practical.

Photo: https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminphardy/2017/12/13/by-asking-himself-this-9-word-question-tim-ferriss-changed-his-life/

Tim Ferriss, creator of The Tim Ferriss Show

“The problem with New Year’s resolutions – and resolutions to ‘get better in shape’ in general, which are very amorphous – is that people try to adopt too many behavioural changes at once. It doesn’t work. I don’t care if you’re a world-class CEO – you’ll quit.”

— Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss, the creator of the Tim Ferriss Show podcast – a business podcast that often earns the #1 spot in the business podcast on many occasions, is also one of the businessmen who no longer sets their New Year resolutions. Instead, what he does is create “past year reviews” (PYR).

Tim Ferriss finds these “past year reviews” informative, valuable, and actionable than half-blinded New Year resolutions. It is an effective action plan and creating your very own PYR only takes 30-60 minutes. Here’s how you do it:

  • Grab a notepad and divide it into two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
  • With your calendar, go through from the past year and take note of any people, or activities, or commitments that triggered high positive or negative emotions for each week.
  • Place each activity in its respective columns.
  • Once you’ve gone through the past year, check your list and ask yourself “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
  • With your answers, change the label of the “Negative” column into “Not-to-do-list”. Keep this list where you can see them each morning to remind you of the people and of the things that make you miserable.
  • Next, review the items in the “Positive” column and schedule more of those events in the new year. Get them on the calendar and start booking events with business partners or clients or potential connections, and pre-paying for activities and commitments that you know will work.

“Get the positive things on the calendar ASAP,” Tim Ferris wrote on his blog, lest they get crowded out by noise and distraction. “It’s not real until it’s in the calendar.”

(Source: https://tim.blog/2018/12/28/past-year-review/)

Photo Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/siimonreynolds/2013/08/27/the-six-best-ways-to-save-time-at-work/?sh=3359946a4ba8

Siimon Reynolds, co-founder of Photon Group

Mentor to worldwide business owners and renowned Australian advertising entrepreneur, Siimon Reynolds, shares his different approach towards New Year’s resolutions. In his case, he does a short exercise for 10 minutes. Just ask yourself the following two questions:

1. What are the top 3 areas of my business where I most have to lift my standards?

2. In each area, what’s the one best way of doing it?

Unlike doing an overwhelming To-Do List for the year – which often never gets done – doing this short exercise helps to increase your clarity towards your business resolutions. You end up with a small handful of actions that can make a difference to your business success for the next year.

TIP: Since this exercise takes only 10 minutes, do this twice a year so you can review your progress as you move forward. By the end of the year, you can compare your answers and see if there has been any improvement. Allocating 20-30 minutes for this can positively change your outlook towards your business resolutions every year.

Photo Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2087-robert-herjavec-success.html

Robert Hervajec, CEO of Herjavec Group

“I live and die by my calendar.”

This was according to the CEO of the cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group, Robert Hervajec. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, Robert Hervajec sets an end-of-year ritual – organising his calendar for the next year.

By planning 12 months before, Herjavec said that this is a good practice to maximise your productivity. Following this practice helps improve your day-to-day efficiency and planning ahead of time helps you look forward to the activities you have set. But it doesn’t mean that everything you have written on the calendar needs to be followed, rather it gives you a reference on what you’ll do and how you maximise your time.

Robert Herjavec told Fortune in 2015 to “set aside time to do a full calendar review six months or a year out to make sure you are on track with your yearly goals as well.”

New Year resolutions are a great reminder that as long as we are alive, we are given a chance to have a fresh start, and to create a better change in our lifestyle, habits, appearance and even our career. It all goes down to your motivation and commitment. These successful businessmen knew that if they are starting a half-hearted New Year’s resolution, one way or another, they will stop in the middle. But that doesn’t stop them from innovating a different approach on how to prepare their business resolutions that would push them to follow and do them.

Without motivation and commitment, there’s no progress. So when you continuously follow these practices / exercises, this will naturally form a good habit. Prepare ahead to start ahead and you will be surprised at how productive it will turn out for you and your business.

“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

– Vern McLellan, author of Wise Words and Quotes






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