“A new year, a new you.”
I hate this catchphrase. It makes me want to drive my moderately priced Honda Civic off a cliff.
The problem with this cliche is it’s based on hope. There’s no concrete action, just nice ideas. The same applies to New Year’s Resolutions. They rarely lead anywhere because the motivation runs out.
Motivation is like the lottery. It might work but your chances are low.
Here are a few practical small habits that can make a difference and produce real, lasting change.
Read one book a month (with this addition)
Most reading is procrastination in disguise.
You may as well rub one out instead if all you’re gonna do is read self-help books and get horny off life advice.
A better approach is to aim to read only one book a month but to make sure you implement at least one action from each one. That way your reading leads to real improvement.
Set up a new tiny system (like this)
Goals are BS.
There, I said it. Yet most people start a new year focused on goals. It’s cliche advice we all get given, even in the workplace.
Goals are wishy-washy. They’re level 0.5 of self-improvement. If you want to fast-track beyond the lame results of goals then focus on systems.
Systems are the plumbing that makes goals flow.
Focus on one new system to implement in 2023. For example, I set up a tiny system to manage all my software with a tool called Zapier.
Once you have systems then you have automated results. As you refine the system the results compound further.
Systems generate hidden wealth that makes people go “they’re just lucky.”
Start an after hours project
Spank me daddy. I know you might hate this naughty inclusion.
The truth is what you do after hours determines what you can do during work hours for the rest of your life. So it’s pretty damn important.
I recommend internet projects as they have built in leverage. And if you build on top of big platforms you’ll access their network effects. Just don’t snooze on hobbies that could make you money any longer.
You’ve seen so many people do it. Why not you?
Make walking your smutty addiction
“Walking is overrated.”
That’s what I used to think. Then I saw this graphic.
The dude on the right has way more going on in his brain. What does that mean? Well, his brain is lit up like a neon sign out the front of a strip club.
The guy is gonna have ten times more creativity. That creativity will produce ten times better ideas. Those ideas will create hidden opportunities. Those opportunities will make him more money and get him closer to the version of himself he’ll be proud of.
All from walking, people.
Walk for at least 20 minutes a day in nature. Bonus points if you leave your phone at home.
Smash out daily tweets
I assume you’re smart if you made it to this site.
That means you believe in writing online. The fastest way to do it, too, or do it better, is to write daily tweets.
Low barrier to entry. Low friction. Free.
Just do it and see what happens. Then send me a message to tell me what this small habit did for you at the end of 2023. I’m waiting.
Make one new investment in a financial asset
You don’t get wealthy buying more software subscriptions or going to the local mall for a shopping spree that’ll guarantee you’re never free.
Financial assets store AND build wealth.
This year I’ll probably buy an Indian stock EFT to get exposed to a new market full of opportunities.
Do your own research and find your one opportunity to invest in.
Do a job interview with a competitor
Going to a job interview is one of the best life hacks in history.
It’s free learning. They tell you what the market thinks of your skills. They inform you of any perks you don’t already have.
And most of all … they help you recalibrate your salary in case your lazy ass employer hasn’t adjusted your pay for inflation, or hasn’t kept up with what competitors will offer.
Do it. DM recruiters/hiring managers. Apply for jobs for the hell of it.
Send a direct message to an old colleague
This week I got a beautiful message from an old work colleague.
Just wanted to say you are still missed here.
That one line made my day. Possibly even my year. The cool thing is each of us has the power to create the same feeling. All you have to do is acknowledge the people you used to work with.
I guarantee it’ll lead to more conversations and probably more opportunities. Don’t fake it either.
Just focus on those who deserve your praise.
Start the day in airplane mode
This is the most powerful feature of any modern phone.
And most haven’t discovered it. Tragic. Focus is the skill many people don’t have in this new attention economy. We’ve accidentally sold our attention for free to tech bros like Mark Suckerberg.
The way to win the day is to start with the hardest task. You already knew that. But to make it easier, when your phone is out of the way it’s easier to focus and not have red notifications ping your brain to death.
Experiment: 2 hours of deep work with no phone in the morning.
Unfollow drama queens
The end-of-America types. The lovers of politics … you know the ones. Constantly in a rage about everything.
There’s no need for all this negativity. It only drains your precious brain.
Experiment with waking up an hour earlier
The morning is sacred.
There’s no reason to wake up like 4 am and become a self-improvement zombie. But it’s worth seeing what waking up an hour earlier could do.
I used to wake up at 7 am and moved to 6 am. Made a big difference, yet the one-hour adjustment hardly took any effort to change.
Drink more water than you did last year
Most of us are chronically dehydrated.
It leads to all sorts of random health effects. The answer is to drink more water. How? Put a jug of water on your desk. Take sips of water between tasks to bookend different parts of the day.
Spend one more hour a week with family
This one has enormous ROI.
I’m a chronic over-worker. I wanted to slowly heal from this annoying version of me. So I added one hour a week of extra family time.
I spend it with my newborn daughter. We read picture books, make faces, and I give her tummy time. The smiles I get back are better than any payday I’ve ever had.
Family is powerful motivation for every other goal in life. Use it.
This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.