'4-Hour Work Week' author Tim Ferriss is convinced New Year's resolutions are a waste of time - so he does a simple annual ritual instead
- Bestselling author and star podcast host Tim Ferriss doesn't believe New Year's resolutions are effective.
- Instead, he does an annual review exercise that takes about a half hour.
- He determines what activities and people accounted for 80% of both his best and worst moments from the past year.
As someone who's made a career of analyzing the habits of routines of the world's most successful people, Tim Ferriss is convinced that New Year's resolutions are a waste of time.
The "4-Hour Workweek" and "Tribe of Mentors" author and podcast host thinks that the practice of setting an ambitious goal for a new year is too ethereal and prone to self-sabotage, but has found that an annual review exercise yields the more common habit's intended goals and more.Ferriss told Business Insider that at the end of the year, he goes through the entirety of the past year on his digital calendar, reminding himself of his daily schedules and major events.
As he goes through them, he makes two lists. "This is a straightforward 80-20 analysis but it applies to emotional states," he said, referring to the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes in any given situation.
In the first list, he'll compile the 20% of activities, relationships, people, and routines that account for 80% of his "peak positive emotional states." In the second list, he'll do the same for his peak negative emotional states.
The exercise is clarifying for both big and small aspects of his life.
"And I noticed, for instance, in a yearly review perhaps two years ago, that morning group exercise - whether that's a private exercise session or some type of class - had a high correlation to elevated well-being ... for that week," he said. "So that's something that I then doubled down on in the years following."
The point of the exercise isn't to get too introspective, but rather see what registers immediately."This would sound like it would take a long time, but it really only takes perhaps a half hour, which is time very, very well spent," Ferriss said.