I have mixed feelings about New Year’s Resolutions.

I don’t believe in waiting to make changes.

I think it makes more sense to try to grow everyday.

Create good new habits.  Erase the negative old ones.  Do it all the time.

However, I find that measurement is essential to sustainable, long-term improvement.

The beginning of the year is a strong reference point.

For me personally, it makes sense to assign importance to it.

Timely & Measurable

S.M.A.R.T. goals may not be the best framework for goal setting.

But I at least like the “M” (Measurable) and “T” (Timely).

I started tracking my life in 2017.  I become relentless about it in 2018.  I’ll only be going deeper in 2019.

I have different bullet journal spreads for the week and the month.  They help keep me sane.

But the longer-term goal setting exercises are crucial.  Without them, I hard to be sure my daily actions connect to a future I want to have.

I reset on a yearly basis to make sure my shorter timeframes are calibrated with my lifelong goals.

Plus, I set goals for my life decades out.

(I wasn’t kidding when I said lifelong.)

This process takes over 12 hours spread out over a week or more.

In fact, I’ve been plotting on my yearly goals since my birthday in the middle of November.

Yeah, you read all of that right.

I don’t make a simple list of “New Year’s Resolutions.”

I plan every aspect of my life over the next year.

From business to becoming a better person.

So what’s that look like?

Practicality First: Goals AND Habits

I don’t plan my yearly and life goals the same way.

On short timeframes, it’s much easier to be specific.

That’s probably one reason why New Year’s Resolutions are more popular than holistic life plans.

So here, I like to emphasize habits.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still lay out achievement-based goals.  But I emphasize the habits that will bring about those goals.  I try to focus my energy on executing these habits over quarterly, monthly, and weekly timeframes.

I’ve found that this is the best way to make major improvements to my life—via improving who I am on a day to day basis.

For the year, I go deeper than my ten topics for life.

I plan the year across any and every vertical that makes sense.  As such, the topics aren’t necessarily apples to apples.

Here are a few examples:

And some others I’m procrastinating on:


I have 16 of these and counting for 2019.  By the end of the month, the number will probably double my ten domains for life goals.

This will be my first year with this system.  Last year, I could have been more specific.

The results weren’t bad.  They were just uneven.

The changes I was most excited about happened easily.  It’s those that required more reminding that fell by the wayside.  This time around, I’m an entire year better at scheduling.  For someone who has only just started to respect the clock and calendar, that means a lot.

I expect to be about as productive this year as I have been the last two years combined.

And that’s not for lack of trying in 2017 and 2018.  I’ve been raising my standards since the day my first son was born.

The difference now:

I feel comfortable and confident.

I know I can make permanent changes to who I am.

Ultimately, that means I can make permanent changes in the quality of my life.

So my only New Years Resolution:

Just do it.