The new year brings opportunities for growth and change. Whether you want to pick up a new skill or get better with your money, New Year’s Day is your chance to get a head start on your 2018 resolution by making a resolutions list and sticking to it.
But if you don’t have any New Year’s resolution ideas — or can’t think of one — look to successful people for inspiration with this New Year’s resolution list. Here are popular New Year’s resolutions to help you succeed in 2018.
Master a New Skill
Mastering a new skill can fuel creativity and inspire you in other areas of your life. By remaining perpetual students, successful people open themselves up to ideas for serious innovation and opportunity.
In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, resolved to learn Chinese, run a mile a day and read a new book every other week. He even coded an AI assistant for his home.
If you want to master a new skill in 2018 but don’t know what, consider your interests. If you binge-watch cooking shows, pick up a cookbook and sharpen your knives. If you’re a history buff, pick up a book on an era you’re unfamiliar with.
Also consider skills that will help you move forward in your career — or just find out how another department at your company works. Look into local classes in your area or online with Coursera and Udemy. If you’re strapped for cash, look into free online courses from Ivy League schools.
Strike a Better Work-Life Balance
Even though successful people tend to have more responsibilities, they know it’s important to put down the phone every so often. Bill Gates and other top CEOs are known to take “think weeks,” where they disconnect from the bustle of everyday work life to relax and think about the future.
So, the next time you think about taking your work phone with you on vacation or over the weekend — don’t. Establish specific times throughout your week to hang back and relax. Be proactive in planning activities with friends and family. Even scheduling a walk around the block can clear your head before a big meeting.
If your current career doesn’t allow you to have a work-life balance, consider one of these jobs known for work-life balance.
Life is messy. Don’t make it worse by living in an untidy home or working surrounded by stacks of paper. You might not realize it, but clutter can hurt productivity and make it harder to focus. Similarly, if you’re not keeping a schedule handy, you’re wasting a lot of mental energy trying to remember where you’re supposed to be or what you’re supposed to be doing at any given time.
Resolve to get more organized this year, and start with your workstation. Get rid of old notes on your desk and clear out your computer desktop. If you have 10,000 emails staring you down, take a couple of hours to clear them out. Chances are, the vast majority of your emails don’t require your attention.
Set up folders in your email to keep your inbox tidy and keep a notepad open and a pen handy for ad-hoc tasks and ideas. If you’re notorious for having a messy desk, invest in a filing cabinet and designate specific drawers for different kinds of paperwork. In a few months, go through your drawer and see what you can dump. You’ll be surprised at how much junk accumulates.
Stop Caring About What Others Think
If there’s one thing successful people are great at, it’s filtering out the naysayers. Caring too much about what others think hinders your progress and holds you back from trying new things. Steve Siebold, author of “177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class” and “How Rich People Think,” said one key to success is to stop caring about how others judge your goals.
“Psychologists call it ‘approval addiction,’ and once you overcome it to any significant degree, you are free of the psychological chains that bind most people from ever experiencing world-class success,” he said.
But, how do you stop caring about what others have to say? You can start by building your self-confidence, using practices like daily affirmations. Then, identify people who support your creativity and can provide constructive criticism to help you more thoroughly plan out your projects.
Most importantly, realize that people who shoot down your ideas are trying to help you but don’t know how, or simply don’t understand how you’ll execute your ideas. Instead of taking their criticism at face value, ask them to explain their thought process or help you.
Manage Time Well
Highly-successful people know that managing time well is a crucial part of mastering their careers and personal lives. The key to this resolution is to maximize your productivity within specific blocks of time. Outside of those time frames, relax and enjoy personal hobbies.
“There is nothing worse for productivity than placing no limits on your time,” said John Vespasian, author of “When Everything Fails, Try This.” He suggested setting strict timelines and getting things done within those limits. Vespasian also urged people to use downtime — such as waiting on a client call — to catch up on emails or enjoy a book.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Nearly everyone wants to lose weight after the holidays. In 2016, actress Lea Michele of “Glee” fame said she was focusing on fitness and trying new things in her routine. Gina Rodriguez of “Jane the Virgin” vowed to eat better. Successful people know it’s not shedding pounds, but managing your health that’s the most important.
Rather than focusing on losing weight, make a lifestyle change like resolving to eat something healthy every day. Or, if your gym routine has dried up, try new exercises to pique your interest.
Create Your 2018 ‘Sinking Funds’
Not all savings accounts are created alike. You should have a general emergency savings account, and savings account for retirement. But you should also have a savings account for any big-ticket items you will purchase in the year.
“Your sinking funds are automatic savings accounts that are building for something you know you’re going to spend money on this year,” said Chris Peach, founder of Money Peach. “What will you spend on Christmas next year, what will you need for your vacation this summer, or how much will you have to save up for your sister’s wedding across the country in November? Divide the amount needed by the number of months remaining and create an automatic savings plan for when that day comes. Do this for each major expense coming up in 2018 and then rinse and repeat.”
Find a Mentor or Accountability Partner
One of the best things you can do to advance any area of your life that you care about and are dedicated to improving is to find a mentor. Whether your goal is to lose weight, grow your business, or strengthen your relationship, start by looking for people who have achieved what you would like to.
Then, simply ask them if you can meet for a coffee or lunch to discuss your aspirations, and learn from them how they achieved what you were hoping to. Be as personal as you can in your introductory email, sharing a bit about why their particular trajectory feels so inspiring to you, and why you want to connect with them, in particular.
If all goes well, you should be able to build a relationship out naturally from here. Don’t hound your mentors, but do keep them updated on your milestones and successes, ask for specific pieces of advice when you encounter roadblocks, and circle back in every few months to see if they are free for another coffee or lunch.
But if what you need isn’t so much guidance, but rather someone to check in regularly to keep you accountable on a major goal, make a resolution to find an accountability partner in the new year. An accountability partner can offer you encouragement or motivate you to take action, whether it’s working out, getting pages of your novel out or working on a business plan for your new venture.
Start One Thing You’ve Always Meant to Start
Almost everyone has that one dream or goal they have filed away in the “someday” category of their brains. Make 2018 the year that you resolve to start accomplishing that goal.
The rewards that come from working on a goal like this have the capacity to be so much greater than working on a goal that might be a good idea, but simply means less to you. Besides, anything that you have been meaning or wanting to do is likely weighing on your mind in some way. By starting to work on this goal, you’re clearing out valuable mental space that will give you more time and energy to address this goal — and any others you may be working on.
Be grateful for everything you have. This can make you happier and more confident in your relationship with the abundance of the world, helping you manifest what you desire more easily.
There are many ways to start practicing gratitude. But here’s an easy one: At the end of the day, identity three things you are grateful for and write them down in a special gratitude journal. As you start to develop a heightened awareness of all you have to be grateful for, you can expand the number of things you try to observe at the end of the day.
Increase Your Net Worth
You might be tempted to focus on increasing your income in 2018, but truly successful people know that a successful financial life isn’t about increasing your income — it’s about increasing your net worth.
“Focus on your net worth before focusing on your income,” said Peach. “No one ever talks about how much Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Oprah Winfrey makes — they report their net worth. The reason is the true measure of wealth is not your income, but rather your net worth. Once you have your net worth on paper, set a goal to increase your net worth. To do so, identify ways you can decrease the amount you owe and how you can add to what you own.
And if any of this seems daunting, remember that one of the best ways to achieve a big goal is to break it down into smaller pieces. “Start with the end in mind,” said Peach. “Determine where you will be one year from now and then reverse engineer your goal to determine what it actually looks like.”