Don't make a resolution!

“We should not trust the masses who say only the free can be educated, but rather the lovers of wisdom who say that only the educated are free.”


When I was a kid my mother would gather us around the dinner table before our New Year’s Eve meal and have us write down our resolutions, fold them up, and seal them in an envelope until next year. When the following New Year’s Eve came around we would open them having completely forgotten what we wrote in the first place. As I got older I parted ways with that tradition because it stopped making sense to write down something I would never do in order to read it a year later. Instead, I look at time as more of a continuum and strive to be better each day.

I look to create an analog version of what Google calls “micro-moments” and those build into much larger changes over time. While we only get one chance here, I look at the larger game instead of the quick win. With that said, here are 5 things you can do to have a better year in 2017 that have nothing to do with a resolution.

1) Read.

Not read more, just start reading.

When you lose your curiosity and your willingness to learn new things that is when you start planning your own obsolescence and find yourself on the wrong side of cuts at your job. The new digital world we live in moves incredibly fast and if you aren’t reading anything longer than a tweet or a facebook post you are not only changing the way in which your brain interprets information, (read: making it worse) you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage when it comes to being successful. The good news is the average American reads a single book a year…so the bar starts pretty low.

2) Don’t be the smartest person in the room.

I have spent a lot of time in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, and in my younger years, swimming and you know how you get better in individual sports? You train with people who are better, faster and smarter than you are. If you are always the smartest person in your circle of friends or at the office — you need to find people outside those circles to challenge you.

We are meant to be pushed harder than we think we can be, for years the idea of the 4-minute mile seemed impossible, that is, until May 6th 1954 when Roger Bannister broke that barrier. That isn’t the incredible part, the incredible part is that once he broke it only took 46 days for someone beat his time and in that proceeding 12 months 14 people all broke the 4-minute mile because they understood it was possible. Find your Roger Bannister in order to change impossible to possible and push yourself further than you went in 2016.

3) Stop bitching.

If you spend most of your time with those people at work who say how “shitty” the place is or you get excited when people like your passive aggressive Facebook post that you put up just to get some attention, all those people are holding you back.

The truth is nobody cares about your petty problems, not one person, and the only people who do are those who thrive off of an environment where everyone is as miserable as they are. Ditch those people this year and spend more time being thankful, doing things for other people, and in general becoming more optimistic and you will see a lot of change in your life.

4) Make every minute count.

Do you plan your day? When?

If you plan your day when you get to work — it is too late. Jim Rohn once said, “You run the day or the day runs you,” I know I have written about this before but it bears repeating if you want to change how your life works you have to plan it. You have to create a morning routine that works for you and have your day mapped out — random acts of success are no way to change your lot in life. It takes preparation and the understanding that without a plan you are waiting for life to happen instead of making life happen.

5) Start

Stop waiting for a “magic” day for your life to change, start right now. New Year’s Eve and all that comes with it benefits champagne producers, gym memberships, nicotine gym companies, and the calendar industry but does very little to help you. However, if you look at the year as a series of opportunities to make yourself better incrementally instead of joining the near 85% of people who will fail their resolution before Groundhog’s Day, you will see a dramatic change in who you are today vs. who you will be this time next year.

Happy New Year.

Eric HultgrenComment