Make the New Year a Good One

What To Do in the New Year

It’s January third. Christmas trees are at the curb. School’s back in. Gyms are crowded. Blog posts about starting new habits or claiming wild predictions for the coming year are all the rage.

But let’s take a slightly different tack this time around. In this age of data is everything, here’s an idea that is simple, practical and impactful for your 2019.

We know that businesses lean heavily on data in this tech-centric era. And for good reason. Data from past customer experiences provide a valuable set of information for moving a business forward. For this exercise, we’ll take a page from the Big Data playbook and look at some personal history that we can use to focus our decisions for the coming year.

Despite the comparison to Big Data, this exercise can (and should) be done right now, with things you already have on your desk. It is simple and is refreshingly low-tech.

Start with a review of last year

Set your New Year’s resolutions aside for a moment and let’s embark on a Past Year Review. This technique is something I learned from Tim Ferriss. Credit for this goes 100% to him, but I found it exciting and wanted to share it with you.

The gist, which you probably gathered from the name, is to comb back through the past year and pull some data points. Specifically, we are going to look at your experiences and activities from the past year and categorize them.

What we will end up with is concrete information that we can leverage to make 2019 amazing.

The way this works is this:

Data Collection

  1. Using your favorite note-taking apparatus (bonus points for using actual paper) make two columns and label them POSITIVE and NEGATIVE respectively.
  2. Pull out/up your 2018 calendar. Starting at the beginning, look at each week in sequence.
  3. Make a note, in the appropriate column, of any person, activity or thing you committed to that caused you strong positive or negative emotion.
  4. Once you’ve finished going through all of the weeks, look at the two lists of things you’ve written down.
  5. Highlight the strongest 20% in each column-those that caused the most intense positive or negative feelings.


You have your data! Now let’s put it to use. Start with the highlighted items in your positive list. Schedule more of those people, activities, events, and commitments for this year. Seriously, do it right now. We’ll wait. Book your trips. Schedule time with friends/co-workers/family. Buy tickets. Do it now or this year will blaze past and these opportunities will be missed. Fill up the calendar with these things you know are good. Get them on there. Don’t delay.

And for those highlighted items in the negative column. We’re not doing those. Keep your list handy as a reminder to not get sucked into those again in 2019. Whatever those things are for you, do not get drawn into doing them again. Those things make you miserable and are to be avoided.

You Did It. Congratulations.

Corralling this data in an visible, tangible way equips us to make informed, intentional decisions about how to spend the upcoming year.

If you found this useful or have suggestions for making it even better, let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading and we wish you the best in 2019.

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