How to Pick Synergistic New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Success

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The New Year is almost here and many of you are probably thinking about making resolutions. I want to give you a few ideas on how to pick synergistic resolutions, to increase your motivation, and chances of following through with your resolutions, along with bumping up your overall success and efficiency.


In business people are always talking about leveraging. Leveraging their money, their work, their contacts, their platform. What about our normal lives?

New Year’s Resolutions:

Most people don’t make one resolution, but rather maybe 2 to 5 (and only an 8% success rate). What can we do to improve New Year’s resolutions success rate?

This post was inspired by a post put out last year at this time at ribbonfarm. Venkatesh Rao proposed the idea of using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for leveraging your resolutions.

My related take on this idea is that you want to seek synergistic resolutions. Instead of picking 3, 4 or 5 non-related resolutions such as lose weight, and travel to Paris, you need to think how a series of resolutions could link together to form a synergism: the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Taking physiology, at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, is a good place to start. You can think of your health resolutions in general at this level: eating right, exercising, not consuming excessive amount of alcohol. But we might first need to take a look at the common resolutions before we can figure out how we can combine them for synergistic purpose.

Top New Year’s Resolutions:

Here are some of the top 10 resolutions for 2012 (via 43things): lose weight (#1: makes sense since more than 50% of North Americans are overweight), read at least one book a month (#2), … get enough sleep (#5), take charge of financial life (#6), to mention a few.

At we can see that the top 10 list includes: eat healthy food, get fit, lose weight, manage debt, save money.

Breaking New Year’s resolutions to percentages:

  • 34% set resolutions related to money
  • 38% set resolutions related to weight
  • 47% set resolutions related to self-improvement or education
  • 31% set resolutions related to relationships

So let us take a fairly typical example of a person who want to lose 20 pounds, and find the time and energy to start their own after work business so they can both get out of debt and save money – and hopefully turning the part time business into a full time venture.

Losing Weight and getting Fit

The best way to lose weight is to combine exercise with eating a healthier diet. But to start a new business, or improve the one you already have, you need to find a fair chunk of time, and exercise is going to take up time. Additionally, to start a business you probably need to digest a fair bit on information: how to use social media to grow your business, how to outsource, etc.

Synergy # 1, Multi-task: Learning via audio while you exercise.

We all know the importance of constantly learning, and reading a book a month was one of the leading resolutions people are making. So why not listen to either a good podcast that is teaching you valuable information, or to an audiobook while you exercise. This accomplishes two things at the same time.

You are making a set time and situation where you will be learning new material (or listening to a good book), and getting your exercise done. In fact I find I really look forward to my exercise session because I get to continue with an audio book that I am really interested in, and I feel the same when a new podcasts comes out. Therefore, you might find by combining listening to a book or podcast with exercise that it might increase your motivation to exercise.

Tip: Shoot for 30 to 45 minutes of exercise. Anymore and for most people it might not be time efficient, as not only does the exercising take up more time, but you are likely going to take a longer time to recover.

Synergy # 2: Additional Benefits of an Exercise Routine – Better Sleep.

Beyond the exercise, with the free time bonus of learning something new at the same time, there are additional benefits to your exercise time. By exercising you will likely  get a better night sleep, which is something many people struggle with. There is plenty of research out there that demonstrate that exercise will increase the quality of your sleep – and hence you will wake up with more energy that will help you through out the rest of the day.

Eating healthy:

If you can manage to eat a healthier diet you can also increase your productivity. The majority of people suffer from an afternoon lag period where their productivity level drops significantly as they feel sleepy and lethargic. By reducing the amount of fast carbs and eating a healthier lunch you can avoid this loss of productivity and increase your health. So again we are getting a 2 for 1 gain on our resolutions here, as there is heavy synergism between a healthy diet and better productivity.

Paleo diet option:

Another eating option is to try a paleo diet. Now this is really a case of different responses depending on the individual but for some switching to a paleodiet, or mostly paleo diet can completely eliminate the afternoon dip.

Measure and Modify

No matter what health diet choices you make, the general thinking at startup you is to test and measure your individual results. Learn from the outcomes and modify things when required. You want to measure everything you can: what and how much you eat, how much exercise you are doing, and combine this with recording the quality and amount of sleep, your weight, and your general productivity. Test out various options and see which works best for you as an individual.

Running your own business

Not only will exercise help with your sleep but it will also give you more stamina (if you don’t over do it). And with more stamina and energy you can take on new projects and give you the opportunity of making more money and fulfilling various dreams you have. By eating healthier you are likely to notice increased productivity, from not having the afternoon dip, which will further help toward your financial goals. With all the extra energy and productivity you could finally start your business, or dedicate more time to the one you already have.


I have only offered you a few examples above, but the general idea is you want to leverage your resolutions – find synergies between resolutions – so the sum is greater than its part.

Increasing your general health, by doing a small amount of exercise and eating a healthier diet, not only can you lose weight, but you will get a better quality of sleep, which will increase your general day time energy, but you can also be learning the material you need while exercising, and also have increased stamina and energy to be able to start your part time business in your off work hours.

Give it a try, what to you got to lose – other than a few pounds and some debt?

Come back in the next couple days as I will be discussing another resolution issue: to share publicly or keep your resolutions private – which one produces the best results?

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