How to Improve in Your New Year

First of all, I would like to say Happy New Year 2015 to readers who have been kind enough to visit this space again after I have been slacking off for the past few months. I am committing myself to writing again on a regular basis.


In the past few weeks I have been getting a plethora of emails and posts in social media with similar set of ideas. Yes, it’s approaching new year and a lot of bloggers, authors and content writers are getting busy writing and sending emails to their audiences, or blog readers on how to make their new year a better year. Or, how to make it their best year ever! Or how to have a more productive year. As I read through their blog posts, skimmed through their email newsletter, listened to their podcast and watched their vodcast, I have learned that there are a lot of people who wanted to make their new year, at least, better than the last. Most struggled because they either didn’t know how or they thought they knew how, but when their methods fail, they turn to others for better options for improvement.

Balancing Act

One of the most common approach for people trying to improve is by setting up new year’s resolutions. A week, or perhaps days before 1st of January rolled around, they sat down and began to create a list of resolutions that they thought they wanted to achieve in the new year. Some may list down 1, or 3, or 5, or 10. Those resolutions may include health related things like, losing some weight, or exercising more, or running more. Some might include the spiritual side of things like praying more, reading the Bible more, or sharing the gospel more. It may also include the financial goals like selling more, saving more, or even reducing debts. I have been an advocate myself of creating new year’s resolutions. I used to tell people that I mentor that they should be trying to do more, do better, be more productive. That is where the problem comes though.

I came to realise that as I looked at my list over the years, a trend appeared that I consider unhealthy. Each year, I keep on adding to the list of things I wanted to do or wanted to have done and when I failed on one of the resolutions, I carry it over to the next year hoping that I could finally cross it off my annual to do list. That is probably fine, if I keep the list concise and realistic. More often than not, however, I chose a vague resolution like saying “I’ll lose some weight”, or that “I’ll pray more.”, or “I’ll save more money.” Some well-intentioned people may tell me that the items in my list needs to be refined to be, say, more specific. I agree with them, except that it doesn’t help me that instead of committing to lose “some” weight, I’m losing “10 kg” instead. What is more important is that, I need to be more balanced with my life.

I came to this conclusion when I was watching the video sent by one of a well-respected blogger and author, Jeff Walker. In his video below, he told his viewers that he doesn’t believe in resolutions, and instead he challenged himself each year to lead a balanced life and a more intentional life. Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not mean to say that any of the methods or systems that was being taught by authors like Michael Hyatt is ineffective or is not usable. There are thousands of people who took his course and have had an amazing year as a result of it. I just happen to believe that not everyone will fit with the method that works Michael and his thousand subscribers. What works for me, may not work for you. But I strongly believe that everyone needs to lead a balanced life.

As I thought about what he had said, I realised that due to perhaps our own self-consciousness, or perhaps what we have been programmed to do, we focus on adding more to do list each time we come up with a new year’s resolution list. I must admit, even though I may have the best intention for my own life and for the people I lead by coming up with more items in my to do list or their to do list, I may have done more harm than help. That’s because the more things I try to do, I consequently have less time to do things I am already doing. Often, I’d try to do things that I thought was good, only to realise that I may have taken away from myself the opportunity to do better things. Things that I do best. An old saying summed it best, “


With that in mind, I began to look at my past new year’s resolutions and began an exercise to reduce things that I often do, but not really necessary. And where possible, eliminate things that I do but didn’t bring enough added value to merit being included in my daily routine. I am still sorting through my list (shows you how much clutter I have in my life).


I’m not trying to tell you what or which is the best way to come up with a new year’s resolution. Some people call it goal-setting, or vision casting, or simply completing more parts of the bucket list. As I said above, I don’t think there’s a one-size fits all method that will be suitable for everyone anyway. One method may work with one while it may bring chaos instead of order with the other. I recently came up with my own list of things I try to do every day for the next 365 days rather than having just another list of things to do. Whichever method that you choose to adopt eventually, I believe that the result of these methods, they all deserve to go through the “reduce clutter” filtering system which helps one to eventually lead a more balanced life.


I urge you to watch the video if you haven’t already done so and begin to think about what “not to do” instead of what “else to do”.

Question: Please tell me in the comments, what you have decided to reduce, or to eliminate, if any, from your annual to-do list. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.