Screw resolutions…try creating habits instead

I get it. The last thing you want to think about at the end of December is getting more things done. I personally have focused this week on accomplishing as little as humanly possible. Lots of sleeping in, spending time with family, and catching up on television. I have a ton of white space on my calendar with zero guilt!

All of that having been said, the one thing I do prioritize during the holidays is reflecting on what I’ve accomplished during the year, and what I hope to accomplish next year. But unlike most people, I no longer create “resolutions” because resolutions simply don’t work. Instead, I focus on building new habits.

Habits are the cornerstone of success, no matter what you intend to accomplish.

Want to lose weight? Stop focusing on the scale and start focusing on building a daily habit of moving more and eating less.

Want to learn a new skill or start a big project? Stop focusing on the end result and start focusing on building the daily practice of learning for 60 minutes a day, or writing, or editing, or whatever.

Want to make a major career transition or get a promotion? Stop focusing on thinking you need to get “lucky” and instead focus on building the weekly habit of sending out a thoughtful outreach email to create new relationships.

Your success is simply the sum total of your habits.

My success as an editor & producer, a father, an entrepreneur, and now an American Ninja Warrior, simply comes from the combination of habits I have introduced into my life.

And the best thing about creating new habits is that you can start small and still get tremendous results. This is where James Clear’s bestselling book Atomic Habits has the potential to completely change the game for you as it has for hundreds of students who learn all about this concept in my Optimizer coaching & mentorship program.

Which brings me to the fourth of this month’s 5-part series with my Top 5 interviews to help you set goals, make a plan, and take action in 2022.

This Month’s ‘Top 5’ Countdown – #4

James Clear episode 55

James Clear is an author and speaker who specializes in habits, decision making, and continuous improvement. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Time, and on CBS This Morning, just to name a few. In addition, his website receives millions of visitors each month, and he has hundreds of thousands of subscribers to his popular email newsletter which you can find at On top of all of his writing, James is also an accomplished speaker having spoken regularly for Fortune 500 companies, and much of his work is used by teams in the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

In short…James is one of the world’s foremost experts on habits and the impact of small behaviors on your health & well-being.

In this interview from the archives we do a deep dive into James’ bestselling book Atomic Habits. We talk about how good and bad habits form in the first place, and how to break down seemingly impossible goals (losing weight, breaking bad habits, moving forwards in your career, etc) so you can make small but continuous improvements every single day.

If you’re ever wanted to make any kind of positive change in your life but you weren’t sure where to start, or even worse you just can’t make yourself give up bad habits, James is THE guy to get you where you want to be.

Ready to Make a Change in 2022?

As 2021 winds down and we approach the New Year, it’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season and write off the end of the year as a loss, putting our goals and intentions aside and telling ourselves “We’’ll start fresh again in January.” But then inevitably when the new year hits and we create resolutions, life still gets in the way which leads to over 92% of New Year’s resolutions failing. (Don’t worry…I’m just as guilty as anyone else.)

If you intend to make things happen for you next year, you don’t need resolutions → you need a plan. 

That’s why for the last 5 weeks of this year I’m sharing with you my top 5 interviews on designing a more fulfilling life, setting goals, building habits, and taking actions that get you long term results.

Imagine if instead of crawling to the finish line the next five weeks in a haze of holiday indulgence you instead took the time to identify your true values, prioritize your life down to only the essential, learn to set habits that you’ll stick to, and ultimately focus on doing important work that matters to you? How much further ahead of the game would you be?

I’m not saying you have to start exercising 5 days a week, stop eating sugar and carbs, wake up and meditate at 5am every morning, or add 20 new activities to your daily routine during the most stressful month of the year…but wouldn’t it be awesome starting 2022 with a clear plan and the motivation to get started?

If this sounds like a better alternative, then stick with me for the next five weeks as I and five of the world’s foremost experts on setting goals and getting things done help you design a plan so 2022 can be the year that everything finally came together for you.

In the final part of this five part series I’m sharing another of my favorite interviews of all time with bestselling author Cal Newport, author of the bestselling book Deep Work to discuss how to get more happiness and fulfillment out of your creative work by eliminating distractions and training your focus like a skill.

Until then, have a great holiday!

Be well.
Zack Arnold
Creator, Optimize Yourself

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”