If you could be fit, happy, and in control of your life today, then why the heck would you wait? That’s why New Year’s resolutions can politely screw themselves.

Because we’re never technically going to be ready for the big changes we want to make. We’ll always have some doubt, some fear. And there’s never going to be a certain date that prepares us any more than the other 364 days in a year. That’s why we’ve got to take responsibility for our dreams to-day.

If you have some resolutions you’re putting off till January first, screw—that. That’s what everyone else is doing. And guess what? Everyone else is going to fail. (Studies show that 93% of them will at least.) That’s because everyone who resolves to be the best version of themselves on the first are indulging in a fantasy—which is that January first will magically help us have discipline and resolve.

“This year’s really going to be the year I get out of this shit relationship!”…

“This is the year I’ll catabolize my muffin top and get back into my favorite jeans!”…

“This is the year I’ll stop trashing all of my dreams and make something of myself!”

Yeah-freaking-right!!! Because that year is today. And if you’re not practicing new-you resolve today, and this week, and the rest of this last month, 2018 will slip away just as infuriatingly as last year.

So I’ve got an alternative resolution for you

Today—to-day—I want you to write down three habits you can no longer tolerate. Could be drinking. Could be limitless social media. Could be eating garbage food—whatever’s holding you back. Just pick three.

Then write out three habits you absolutely want to start—things that build up your confidence and self worth. Could be walking two miles a day. Could be learning about the career you want to begin. Could be writing or drawing or playing music every day—whatever is aligned with your purpose and increases your confidence.

Then every day, starting to-day, I want you to plan out those to-dos and not-to-dos on a blank journal with a big fat checkbox next to it. Include an even bigger and fatter checkbox at the very bottom of the page that says, “Do your best!” Super simple.

If you repeat this every morning, and follow through with your intentions, and applaud each of your efforts, and check off each of those boxes (to include the “Do your best!” box at the end), by January first you will be approximately a billion light years ahead of the rest of the dreamers. You will have all the confidence and purpose they lack because you practiced the better you and took responsibility for today.

And I’ll be your biggest fan. –Seriously, write to me. I cheer on all of my readers.

Why only three things?

I’m only suggesting three habits to pick up and three habits to drop because I want you to focus on the most important things that bring you the greatest return for your effort. This is the Pareto Principle: eighty percent of your results depend on twenty percent of your efforts. That boils down to about three major focuses for most people.

This is the antidote for people who get bogged down in minutia. We write out twenty plus things that they can’t possibly keep track of or commit to en masse. Thing is, most of the smaller things in life will resolve themselves once you put the bigger pieces in place. It’s just like a puzzle—which almost completes itself when you have the biggest pieces in order.

That was the way it was for me.

I was a fully dissipated millennial who’d never done anything worthwhile just five years ago. But I decided to start three habits: writing every day, journaling every day, and doing daily affirmations. I also committed to not doing the biggest things that held me back: relationships, unlimited social media, and TV.

When I planned for those things every day and followed through, my self-improvement jumped to hyper speed. My confidence grew ten fold every week. I became accomplished in just three months because I didn’t have the biggest weights holding me back anymore. And it was easy…

I only had six things to focus on! Well, seven if you include a best effort. Fast forward two years and I was published on the best websites in the world and getting paid more than my college-graduated peers—and I was doing the things I loved most! All I had to do was drop the magical thinking that a magical day or person or event would change my life for me.


The formula is simple: Do more of what you love and less of what holds you back. If you resolve to do that to-day, and if you adopt the habit of daily planning, 2018 will bring everything you want and more. If you don’t…and if you decide to wait for January first…God help you. Because you won’t be helping yourself.

Need accountability and expert guidance? Check out my coaching. And if you want a free download of the daily routine and planning template that I reserve exclusively for coaching clients, email me. My Christmas gift to you.


  • Daniel Dowling

    Performance Coach, Writer for Greatist, Fitbit.com, Mindbodygreen, and FastCompany.

    Dan Dowling, here. I was the poster child for lost millennials - couldn’t keep a job…addicted to relationships…constantly checking social media and email. But when I got hungry enough for success as a writer, I gave up my distracted lifestyle and adopted one daily goal that changed my life forever: Do. Your. Best. Today, five years later, I’m a productivity coach who’s published on the world’s biggest sites (including Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Mindbodygreen), and I’m transforming lives through the best-effort, zero-distraction lifestyle that worked so well for me. Come and and learn how to always give your best at Millennial Success!