My New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

The best thing to do every New Year’s is not to drink wine from a rooftop bar while watching fireworks above the PETRONAS Twin Towers; it’s to do Mark Manson’s life purpose guide.

In his fourth year of doing it (by my calculation, he’s into his sixth year now), he was already living the life of his dreams.

I started doing it three years ago, and now I feel I’m on the cusp of living my dreams too.

If you’re not happy with your life right now, I recommend you try it. It might be the best hour you’ll spend this year-start.

Anyway, part of the “life purpose” exercise is to list down goals followed by concrete steps on how to reach them. And since I’m a shameless blogger, I thought I’d share my goals for 2016 with you — and my system for reaching them.

I guess you can call them my New Year’s Resolutions.


1. Fitness — Pull-ups

The Goal: Do ten dead hang pull-ups in a row.

The Deadline: December 31st 2016.

How to get there (The System):

  • Exercise three times a week (likely a combination of basketball, badminton and gym sessions).
  • Do pull-ups three times a week.
  • Sleep at least seven hours every night.
  • Continue intermittent fasting and carbohydrate cycling.

If you’ve ever met me in person, you’ll realize I have skinny arms. And I don’t like skinny arms.

Somewhere on the Internet, I’ve read that anyone who can do ten pull-ups in a row will have “jacked arms.” Currently I can comfortably do five. But my obsession with pull-ups isn’t just to make my arms bigger. Pull-ups are commonly described as the “ultimate upper body workout”, and the “best measure of strength-to-weight ratio.”

So my very simple target for this year is to do ten pull-ups in a row. We’ll see how my arms look then.

I used to have a lot more challenging goals for fitness every year. But after consistently failing to reach them (despite making a lot of progress), I want to focus on just one simple goal for this year.

In the meantime, if you want to do the ultimate upper body exercise too, here’s a video on how to start:


2. Life Optimization — Tracking

The Goal: Document critical aspects of my life for one year.

The Deadline: December 31st 2016.

How to get there (The System):

  • Money: Use an Android app to track my daily spending and monthly budgeting. (After trying a few, my current favorite free one is Monefy).
  • Time: Use a Memento Mori chart to track the number of weeks I have every year. And to remind myself how little time I have left.
  • Ideas: Immediately write down good ideas (e.g. on writing, business and optimization) whenever I get them.

For someone who talks so much about money, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t tracked my expenses in detail before. Before this, I just used old-school Excel sheets to budget. It got the job done, but also required lots of mental energy to remember transactions, and lots of time to manually key them in. I’m hoping to save a lot of time and energy by using an app this year. I’m also taking a huge pay cut, so I need to really manage my money.

The idea to do a Memento Mori chart comes from my friend Anthony Yeung. It provides a visual representation of how many weeks you have in a year, and how many total years you (expect to) have. Looking at your expected death date may seem morbid, but it’s a reminder that our time on earth is limited — so you’d better do something meaningful with it!

Memento Mori Chart at 32Life in weeks and years (chart courtesy of Nate Green)


Finally, one of my favorite authors, James Altucher gave me the idea to start writing down ideas every day. He actually recommends bringing a pen and waiter’s pad everywhere — and quickly write down ideas as soon as they form. Don’t do it, and you’ll lose it. Ideas are important — because they can change our lives and the lives of others.

Why am I so interested to track things this year? It goes back to the basics of optimization — before you can optimize something, you need to measure it. And this year I really want to optimize my life to the next level.


3. Writing — mr-stingy’s Audience

The Goal: Reach 40,000 views/month

The Deadline: December 31st 2016.

How to get there (The System):

  • Write for an hour every day.
  • Build relationships with people online for an hour every day (be active on social media, connect with interesting people online, and answer questions).
  • Post one article every week.

If I could make only one resolution this year — this would be it. Too often, I get distracted by social media, emails, and Thug Life videos. Instead, I need to focus on my “core business” — to write as much as possible, and as well as possible.

So this year I plan to be disciplined — write every day and see what happens. I’ll do my hour of writing first — even if I have 50 unread emails, 100 WhatsApp messages and 7 missed calls. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach even more people, and help them with their lives.

And if you like my stuff, I hope you’ll Like me on Facebook, and share it with your friends too.

But enough about me…

Because this blog is really about you.

What are your goals this year, and how do you plan to achieve them?



Pic at Unsplash

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  • Thank you for sharing your 1 year resolution. Your writings inspires me to make better plans everyday in life… Many lessons learn but the best part is to keep the idea from disappearing is.. bringing pen and writing pads everywhere!

  • Bro great blog. One tip on the pull up if you don’t know already. Try to visualize as tho you’re squeezing an object between your shoulder blades when doing the exercise. It helps to target to right muscles and add at least two reps to the set 🙂 hope u’ll get there in no time.

  • You have a good resolution! I want to pull ups too one day. I can do 15 times since many many years ago. Now one time also cannot, because body is too heavy. Slowly…

    Just read this post, you’re definitely a better writer than I do. Keep it up!

    • Thanks man!

      Appreciate your kind words. No worries — just start slow and hope you’re back to doing pull-ups soon!

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