3 Steps to Have Your Best Year Ever (Without Disappointing Resolutions)

According to a study done by the University of Bristol, about 78% people who set New Year resolutions fail. So, ever since 2007 I haven't worried about committing to “new years resolutions”. And every year since then has been more fun and productive than the last.

In this post I'm going to lay out the 3 steps I use to make each year even better than the last…

Step 1 – Write Down Your “Top 10 Experiences” From This Year

Can you think of a few big things you did this year? Instead of starting the year by making big promises to yourself about changes you'll make, why not take a minute to reflect on the some fulfilling experiences you had over the past 12 months? After all, gratitude plays the biggest factor in someone's level of happiness.

Bhutan trek

Here's an example of my top 10 list for 2011:

  1. Trekked the Himalayals in Bhutan – My biggest physical challenge of 2o11 was a trek through the Himalayan Mountains with Outward Bound International. My first time above 16,000 feet was tough but very rewarding.
  2. Hosted a 7 day trading seminar – We had our first week long trading event in Austin, Texas for Emini Academy students.
  3. Hiked part of the Appellation Train with my Dad – This is my highlight of the year! There's nothing more rewarding than “surviving” and connecting with my Pops while disconnected in a beautiful part of the country.
  4. Launched a new Real Estate company – I partnered with one of the biggest real estate investors in Texas to take advantage of this depressed real estate market.
  5. Learned important lessons about hiring and firing – I like to consider myself a great vision planner, but not a great manager. I'll be posting about some of the top lessons I've learned when hiring and managing team members.
  6. Hosted 2 mastermind meetings for top trading companies – The New York and Las Vegas mastermind parties turned out to be great times and extremely productive.
  7. The birth of my nephew – My sister keeps popping out amazing kids. It's keeping my parents off my back, for the time being.
  8. Kicked-back in the U.S. Virgin Islands – My fiance and I took a pre-honeymoon on St. Thomas and some other Virgin Islands. It's definitely underrated!
  9. Wrestled tigers in Thailand – Before setting off into the Himalayas I got to jump into a pit with over a dozen full-sized tigers.
  10. Started 3 other projects with top-level entrepreneurs

Step 2 – Plan for Your “Top 10 Opportunities & Experiences for the Coming Year”

Forget setting meaning less goals. Achievement is great, but at the end of the day the most important thing is experiencing life! Making a million dollars doesn't mean much if you didn't enjoy the process.

So, instead of worrying so much about the end result, why not start by imagining what the experiences are going to be like?

Here's an example list from some of my possible opportunities and experiences for 2012:

  1. Implement the latest trading technology into our futures trading strategies and software
  2. Help create solutions for would-be home buyers that can't buy and desperate sellers who are upside down on their homes. Create a massive real estate portfolio and income stream in the meantime.
  3. Get married!
  4. Enjoy the process of increasing my trading skills and kicking off a trading journal to help other traders learn from my mistakes and breakthroughs.
  5. Take 3-4 months away from “producing” to experience new cultures, people, and food
  6. Learn to ski in Vail, Colorado with my new wife
  7. Continue to build my team of bad-ass key players by filling 3 key positions
  8. Publish and launch “project-x” for active traders
  9. Evaluate big opportunities each week and be flexible and open to ideas
  10. Start one new passion project that helps an emerging segment of entrepreneurs

Step 3 – Create a Plan for Hunting for Opportunities Every Day

Day traders are constantly hunting for “high profit potential trades”. In other words, they're constantly on the prowl for trades they know have a high probability of winning. The concept of “hunting for opportunities” can apply to any area of life for entrepreneurs, business owners, and anyone who wants to grow.

There are a million and one reasons why only 12% of people actually follow through on their New Years Resolutions. Overwhelm, lack of focus, and procrastination are among the biggest reasons. But I think most people just get bored with chasing meaningless or difficult tasks.

How much better would your life be if you stopped chasing and started living? I think the difference between frustration and freedom starts with the quality of your questions. For example, check out these questions that could turn your focus from goals to living:

  • What's the one thing I could do to make today a great experience?
  • What am I taking for granted or ignoring that could lead to huge growth?
  • Why am I spending time on this right now? Is it bringing me closer to my vision?

I hope you have the best year yet. And feel free to leave me a comment if there's anything else you like to do to prepare for a coming year.

About the Author

Chris Dunn is the founder of Skill Incubator. He is an active investor and entrepreneur with the mission of helping people learn Skills to thrive in today's economy. Chris spends his time testing and building multiple streams of income and investing the profits. Read more here.