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Instead of New Year’s resolutions, try this

It’s that time of year where we pause, ponder, and promise ourselves to improve.

But instead of making New Year’s resolutions, try this: Past Year Reviews.

Got this idea from Tim Ferriss of “Four-Hour Workweek” fame. I tried this last year and I found this process to be more valuable and actionable than trying to adhere to broader resolutions.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
  2. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
  3. For each week, jot down on the pad any people or activities or commitments that triggered positive or negative emotions and put them in their respective columns.
  4. Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your list and ask, “What people and activities produced the peaks of your positive experiences?”
  5. Based on the answers, take your “positive peaks” and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now.
  6. Book things with friends and prepay for activities/events/commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar.
  7. Then take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of the new year. These are the people and things that make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, fear-of-missing-out, or other nonsense.

That’s it. Spend more time with family, colleagues and clients that make you feel good. Participate in the experiences that make you feel healthy and happy.

And spend less time with anyone or any group that makes you feel the opposite.

Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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