Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

The Best New Year’s Resolutions Ever Made

If you didn’t get around to making any resolutions on New Year’s Day, don’t worry, you can always use the ones you made last year – or a decade ago.

The very best resolutions are evergreen. They don’t begin on January 1 and end on December 31. They bring positive, lasting change to your life.

Example: instead of resolving to lose 10 pounds (which you will likely regain once you’ve done it), how about resolving to make wellness a priority in your life. That’s a pledge that has no expiration date.

Or instead of budgeting 5 percent more for marketing this year, how about spending 5 minutes each day thinking of a different way to promote your business (make an interesting post on Facebook, take a valued referral source out to dinner).

Yesterday Once More

Rhonda Abrams is a business consultant, author of Six-Week Start-Up, and a columnist for USA Today. This year, she went back and reviewed her resolutions from 1999 – the year she started her business.

Twenty years ago, the business world was a different place. Google was brand-new, the iPhone didn’t exist, and we were all freaking out over Y2K. But Abrams found that the resolutions she made back then were still relevant today.

“Following these resolutions, embracing these attitudes and actions, helped me survive,” she writes in USA Today. “They can help you too. 

Two Decades Old, Haven’t Aged a Bit

Here is her list of resolutions from 1999, along with commentary (from the USA Today piece):

  • Keep learning. “Your business can’t grow if you don’t. Attend trade shows, read journals, take seminars, hire a consultant to teach you new skills. Your brain is your most important business asset – add to it.” 
  • Keep priorities straight. “It’s easy to keep busy being busy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. Make a list of those few items that make the difference between succeeding and failing, both in business and in life. Put your energies there. Don’t let unimportant squeaky wheels get all your attention.”
  • Stay in touch with former clients. “We all focus our attention on the projects at hand, but former customers are the best source of new business. Find an easy way to communicate with all your customers, past and present, at least two to three times a year.”
  • Use technology better. “I know that technology can improve my business. This year, I’m going to use technology to master my contact lists, move more paper to digital files, and keep better control of my finances. (2019 update: I use technology for virtually every aspect of my business.)”
  • Know when NOT to use technology. “Technology is not the answer for every problem. Be open to the right solution for each problem, whether it’s technology or paper and pen. (2019 update: Every day, find time to turn technology off and interact with other humans and get in touch with yourself.)”
  • Be more patient with employees. “I’ve gotten a lot better in understanding that the way to help employees grow is to let them make decisions, do things their way, and sometimes make mistakes.”
  • Help others. “Finally, let’s all find ways to have our businesses help others. Make 1999 (and 2019) a year in which we add to the wealth of the world, not just in monetary terms but in terms of kindness, sharing, lending a hand, and giving others opportunity.”


“We all focus on improving the bottom line,” she concludes. “But remember, the bottom line is just the bottom. This year, let’s all make a resolution to aim higher.”

About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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