Tim Ferriss does an annual review instead of setting resolutions

Tim Ferriss has found that
spending 30 minutes on an annual review is far more effective
than working on New Year’s resolutions.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for

  • 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

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
” 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

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

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

“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.

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