Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, Make a “Life Workout” Plan

Fun Fact #1: As far as I can remember, I’ve never failed to keep a New Year’s resolution. Fun Fact #2: As far as I can remember, I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution. My irresolute New Year’s anti-strategy? Go into full relaxation mode for the holidays, then return to work or school and keep ... Read more


Fun Fact #1:

As far as I can remember, I’ve never failed to keep a New Year’s resolution.

Fun Fact #2:

As far as I can remember, I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution.

My irresolute New Year’s anti-strategy? Go into full relaxation mode for the holidays, then return to work or school and keep doing what I was doing before my break.

I did make one self-help-y New Year’s move, though, in 2020: I started the tradition of writing letters to my future self. That’s been super. But those letters have little to do with resolutions or goals. They’re more for preserving the past and gaining perspective.

All in all, my “nothing new” New Year’s approach has worked out pretty well for me. Thanks to some combination of lucky genes, lucky circumstances, and a bit of pluck, my life’s been about an 8.2 out of 10 so far. A B+!

So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?


If it ain’t broke, don’t get complacent.

At least, I think so. And maybe you might want to think about it, too.

Consider this…

No More Lollygagging

While an 82%-super life is nothing to complain about, I know I can do better:

  • More fun.
  • More challenging.
  • More fulfilling.
  • More memorable.
  • More transformative.
  • A better story.

I’ve never made it to December 31, looked back on the year that was, and thought, “Whew! I gave this past year my all. Way to go me!”

“Whew! I gave this past year my all. Way to go me!”

– Me, Never.

If you were to compare my average year to a workout, here’s how it would look:

  • Rock up to the gym (an outdoor gym, naturally).
  • Lazily warm up.
  • Haphazardly do some push-ups, pull-ups, or whatever I’m in the mood for.
  • Chat with a couple of buddies and acquaintances who happen to be around.
  • Do some more random exercises.
  • Stretch.
  • Shower.
  • Drink a smoothie.
  • Nap by the pool.

Then back at it again the next year.

To give my past self some credit, this type of “life workout” is better than vegging out on the couch while sucking the creamy middle out of Twinkies, then using the remaining tube to slurp buckets of soda. But it’s nowhere near the best I can do.

So, for the first time, I’m devising a “life workout plan” for 2023.

Time For a Life Workout Plan

As I shared with you in Don’t Leave Your Comfort Zone, Make It Sweat, I’ve broken the body of my life into six areas:

Life areas diagram for planning perfect day.

For a great year, I need a “life workout plan” that challenges me to get stronger in every area.

But I need to be careful. I don’t want challenges so extreme I risk injuring myself or burning out.

I want a life workout that leaves me:

  • more energized than exhausted;
  • with a “fitter” all-round life than before; and
  • pumped for bigger, better challenges the next year.

So I’ve taken what I’ve learned from my years of experience and research to devise a five-step “life workout” program:

  1. Take some measurements: How do I currently measure up in each area of my life?
  2. Review my past performance: What were my biggest gains and setbacks from 2022? What can I learn from that for planning 2023?
  3. Dream un-deludedly: What would a great workout of a year entail? And what would a perpetually 100% super life look like?
  4. Plan some exercises: What actions can I start with that aren’t too intense but enough to get me warmed up and moving the way I want? And what one-off challenges or adventures do I want to take at some point during the year?
  5. Train in intervals: Log my performance every week and catch my breath every month or two to assess: What’s working and not working? And how can I adjust my life workout plan accordingly?

Rather than set specific goals (make $1M, grow to 100k subscribers, lose/gain 10lb, read 50 books, etc.), I just want to be making progress and having a great time doing so.

But if, for some strange reason, you were to force me to translate my “life workout plan” into a New Year’s resolution, here’s what I’d say:

My resolution is to look back on 2023 and think, “Nice work, Chrissy Boy. You made solid gainz in all areas of your life. It was such a good experience that we’re going to plan another ‘life workout’ for 2024!”

What’s Your Plan for the New Year?

What do you think of this “life workout plan” approach?

Do you think it might be worth breaking from the complacency of your current New Year’s resolution approach (or lack thereof) to try devising a life workout plan, too?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please comment below.

Want Help With Your Life Workout Planning?

Check out The 7-Step Self-Improvement Plan That Works (If You Do) for more detail.

And click this button for information on a FREE email series with step-by-step guidance.

Thought Starters

  • ⚙️ What’s your system? “We don’t rise to the level of our goals; we fall to the level of our systems” – James Clear. (More on systems versus goals.)
  • 🐈 Watch out for “fat cat syndrome.” The best time to innovate is when things are going well because that’s when you have the time, energy, and ability to take some risks. – h/t this Adam Grant Podcast
  • 🥵 Futile exercises? Cornell researchers find that our most enduring regrets stem from our failure to live up to our ideal selves because we’re too caught up with working on our ought selves—our duties, obligations, and responsibilities. With that in mind, it’s worth asking yourself, Where are your oughts inconsistent with your ideals?
  • 🦄 Perfect routine. What would be your perpetually perfect day (or week or month)? I mean a day that you enjoy in the present and that sets you up for an even better future, so that every day is better than the last.

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About the author

I'm Chris. Grinding for conventional super success was exhausting, so I zagged. Now, my life's getting better and better—and part of that involves pushing you to work toward the same.


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