20 Things I Did To Change My Life (that Worked) This Year

I have been a notorious New Year’s resolution maker and by Spring Break, a New Year’s resolution breaker. This year, I’ve decide to go a different direction. Opposed to writing down what I want to accomplish, I’m writing down what I have accomplished. Interestingly, writing this list has helped me better understand what I should be doing more of (and if that can be considered a resolution, I’ll take it). My hope is that you’re able to learn from my mistakes (and wins) and make your 2014 (and beyond) incredible beyond belief!

Here are 20 things I did to change my life (that worked) in 2013:


1)  Stopped measuring myself by others’ yardsticks


The Joneses was killin’ a brother 🙂 Every time I opened Facebook, I saw this person buying a new exotic car, this other one traveling to a new exotic location, this other one showing off their new exotic house – making the comparisons was draining. The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. Now, I’ve committed to only compare myself to the best version of myself. 


2)  Stopped watching reality (and most) TV


13 months ago, on any given Sunday, you would catch me viewing not just one but several reality shows. Not any more! I recently did a self-evaluation and realized when I reflected upon activities that changed my life, not one was watching a “TV show.” However, there were several “content activities” like books, plays, and even podcasts that had set my life in better trajectory. That said, I started treating TV accordingly and it received a severe demotion in my life.


3) Started listening to Patt Flynn’s SPI podcast

30pat-blog480Not much I can say other than just go listen to any of his podcasts and you’ll hear why it’ll be a value add to your life (especially if you’re seeking support for the launch or management of your small business). Great content from someone who comes across as a good guy.


4) Said “no” a lot more often


My goal for 2012 was to say “yes” to as many things I could and therefore try to be everywhere. Guess where that got me? Spread too thin and burned out (with not as much to show for it). I changed strategy in the past year and focused on not just “going after” projects selectively, but also discriminately accepting opportunities. I tried to only take on initiatives that I valued and what I was truly interested in.


5) Stopped working on Sundays


My former work week never truly ended, but now I go cold turkey on Sunday. No emails, no projects, no “preparing for Monday.” I also try not to schedule any out of town trips on Mondays to curb late evening Sunday travel. Knowing that no matter what, I have at least one day to focus on me, my family, my spirituality, and my fun, has helped my spirits.


6) Got more serious about my worship


When you please God, it doesn’t matter who you don’t please. Knowing HIM and HIS word in greater detail this year has helped me more than I can describe.


7) Committed to a physical activity daily


This has been very hard to execute, but notice I wrote “committed” … lol! That said, I try my best at this one. If I can’t get to the gym, it could simply mean dropping down in my office and doing a few hundred pushups and sit-ups. I found that when I work out, I not only feel better, but I’m more creative and execute business better (my best ideas come to me when working out).


8) Starting taking action when I’m afraid

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Everyone is scared…everyone. It’s just the ones who make a change have determined they can’t live their life the same way any longer.


9) Had dinner with someone new frequently


Our connections, more specifically, our weak ties are where most of our opportunity in life comes from. The issue is that we don’t spend time nurturing those relationships. I’ve started trying my best to give my “weak tie” connections time and energy. It could be someone I haven’t seen since college or an old colleague from a job earlier in my career. Bottom line, whenever I can (especially during travel), I dedicate time to reconnect. This single strategy yielded a BIG project for me in 2014!


10) Started drinking a cup of coffee daily


I won’t debate the health pros and cons here, but what I will say is that, just one cup of good Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee with limited or no sugar and cream REALLY comes through for me (especially at 4:30pmish when I know I have an hour long conference call coming up). That added “kick” puts me back in the game 🙂


11) Thanked people in public more often


I’ve learned this year that the right recognition can be more important than money.


12) Started using Evernote (App)


My brother mentioned to me earlier in the year I should try this application and within the same week of him telling me, I heard Evernote mentioned positively by several others. Needless to say, I downloaded it and used it multiple times each day since!


13) Started using Buffer (App)


Finally an app that allows me to share content from my 2am readings. Buffer allows you to share your content at the best possible times throughout the day so that your followers and fans see your updates more often.


14) Subscribed to WSJ and Harvard Business Review


I read both of these in my days as an investment banker but over the years, other priorities crept in and these GREAT resources dropped off my list. At the start of this year, I decided to recommit and resubscribed. Best $423 I spent this year.


15) Focused on unselfishly helping others


This is something I have been dabbling in for a few years but in 2013, I made it a priority. I can’t attribute anything coming back to me in a tangible way but I can attest that there is no better feeling than someone I’ve supported messaging me about how their life has changed in part from my help.  Priceless!


16) Read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook


I literally just read this book a week ago, but the practicality of it is so high, I was able to begin implementing tactics from it and immediately saw a yield (I actually point to this book helping me grow my Facebook community to over 50,000). Do yourself a favor, and buy this book now.


17) Stopped responding to messages as they come in


Years ago, I read an article about how Bill Gates is super fast to respond to emails and thought I would mimic this for all incoming messages. A terrible habit then formed, with me literally keeping my email, Facebook, Skype, etc inboxes open all day and interrupting my other work to respond to these messages. This year, I ended that dreaded tactic and now only open my inbox at select times of the day. I then respond only to a message that requires less than 2 minutes of my time. If it’s going to require more than 120 seconds, I save it for response later.


18) Stopped engaging with Trolls


I developed this policy and it has helped me know who to respond to and who to ignore.


19) Experienced every moment for that very moment

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Staying in the present and not thinking about the future (goals and strategy) is a challenge I’ve historically had, but this year I’ve forced myself to remain in the now. After all, the only day we have power over is today.


20) Started using my network “smartly”


I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to ask for favors or help. Not this year, I started asking (and it paid off). What I surprisingly found is that people (who you’ve already given value to) not only want to support you right back but they’ll go over and beyond to ensure you’ve been helped.


For Discussion: What have you done over the last year that has helped change your life positively?


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About Paul C. Brunson
Mentor, Entrepreneur, & Television Host. My goal is to help you live your best life. I’m the world’s most influential matchmaker, founded and exited three businesses, host two television shows, spent nearly a decade working directly for a billionaire, and share my experiences by mentoring through Knowledge Share

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135 Comments on "20 Things I Did To Change My Life (that Worked) This Year"

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Robin Robinson


Gabrielle Nicole Allen
Gabrielle Nicole Allen


Peggy Wolman

Love this post. Happy New Year to a real mensch!


Great post! I’ve adopted several of the techniques you’ve mentioned in previous posts and they have definitely helped to push me forward, personally and professionally. Keep up the great “art”!

Amber D Clarke

Love this. I became open to “new” – new things, new people, new places, new experiences. The results have been PHENOMENAL!

Jack Kissir

Learned how to live life without my mom who passed 12/27/12

Misherald Brown

I held myself accountable for all my decisions and actions

Nina M. Nichélle

Great article Thank you!

Denise Marie

Moved my baby out the basement apartment.

Crystal Starkes

I have several things that have changed my life positively: 1) I started writing more frequently, 2) I introduced my PHREAdom Leaders project on my blog which caused me to interact and network with new people, 3) #MentorMonday & other social groups were very helpful and I gain a lot of information from them, 4) and mostly I started finding ways to balance my time more effectively! I loved this post!!

Felissa Semien Meeks

Six months ago, I decided to go back to school to get my Master degree in Health Care Informatics (IT). Best decision I could have made!

Ghalia Almarawi

Back to school.
Back to the gym.
But I can’t take action when I feel afraid.
Stop watching Tv

Stacy Sutherland

Great list, I will be using it as a guide.

Karen Bednarowski

I’ve gone back to college!

Medjine Dazulme


Deidra S. Roberts

Baptized June26,2013.i gave my life to Christ Jesus! And i learned how to forgive.

Michelle Sprague

I started working out and making healthier life style choices. I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds.

Tania King

Great post. I’m a selfless person & people pleaser often to my own detriment. I learned that being selfish isnt necessarily a bad thing sometimes putting myself first is more important. And I dont care who doesn’t like it.

Judeanne Armenti

I walked away from an unhealthy work environment and adopted 2 rescue dogs. Both decisions have lessened my stress and opened my heart in ways I never expected.

Marie Waqairatu


Iyesha Turner

I like this list a lot. One of the things I want to reduce is reading too many blogs.

Yolanda English

I stopped over-thinking and learned to live in the NOW!

Piya Michele


Tramona MonaLisa Smith
Tramona MonaLisa Smith

I’ve done thing(s): Pushing though fear was my biggest gain! I also learned how to fight depression and keep it moving. I’m finishing 2013 with learning to how to smile in the face of adversity. -Now let me get back to building my brand!

Kim Kelly

Learned how to truly be my own best friend: speaking kindly, showing patience, being even more loving & respectful, trusting my intuition and acting on it much more often. This enhanced relationship with myself has steered me away from people & things that do not work for my good.

Alicia Fleming

Started doing something for myself on a weekly/monthly basis, started the process of really shaking the haters of and stopped letting them have power over me, continued giving more of myself…but with balance

DeAnna Welch

Really recognized that failure is part of success. Given up the idea that I need to do things perfectly; I realized that I just need to always continue to move forward if/when I fall backwards.

Marta A. Sloane

Sill trying to figure that out, hoping to move before the place I am now either kills me or drives me nuts..yes its that bad..

Chereese Jorsling

Amen to #4….learned that the hard way, and #1 too!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

CallMia Yaardie

Learning to let go n let God. ..learning to truly forgive

Petra Ulrych

Asked for what I need from others more often and more overtly.

Antoinette Guevara

MOVE….Everydays an Adventure….Im on a Mission Paul….Ill let you know when I get there….tonii : )

Antoinette Guevara

I think if I moved it might change my Life…..

Michele Deleon-Allen

Awesome post!! Valuable advice that I will look into. For 2013 I have put into practice enriching my mind. Started listening to audio books and motivational speeches. Will continue in growing this aspect of my day.

Annette Butler-Bryant
Annette Butler-Bryant

I became a part of a very wonderful sisterhood and I am a business owner now.

Melody M. Miller

Paul, I finally realized that it is ok to be still sometime. Being a type A personality kept me constantly needing to be doing…I stopped in mid 2013 and spent more time just “being”. My JOY has increased tenfold! 🙂

Tess Martin-Fox

really inspirational list!

Intuitive Hopi

all the chicken heads be quiet……lol

Tritia Miller-Edwards
Tritia Miller-Edwards

Published my first book Reflections of Christ and started speaking on forgiving and healing to help others !!

Deanna Bradbury Ireland
Deanna Bradbury Ireland

too cute

Alicia Victoria

ty for sharing! I did #6,8,14 amongst others and want to check out #3 also for # 10 I like this if I want to hack my drink 🙂 http://www.bulletproofexec.com/coffee/

VJ Simpson

You were having too much fun down in JA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqkjnaIMz1E

Sunshine Faiser

I liked them. Some I want to do next year!!!

Kelly Tobias-St Onge

I have grown stronger in my faith and relied heavily on the people God has put in my path and I am thankful

Thank you for sharing your list, and thank you too for your inspirations and encouragement throughout 2013. My positive change in 2013 is this–I exercised more, and started distance running. I was a sprinter who competed nationally, so I never thought I’d be a distance runner…never say never. A few days after my 52nd birthday this year, I decided to take my time and run 3 miles continuously during my lunch break. I did it and I felt great. It’s been the most amazing adventure to challenge distance, time, and my endurance level. Lessons? 1) It’s never too late to… Read more »
Shakirah Hill

Awww Winsome! Congratulations on becoming a distance runner. I ran my first marathon this year and absolutely love distance running. Like you, I never thought I’d see the day. Never say never, indeed. Kudos to the lessons you’ve learned.

Have an amazing new year!

Paul Carrick Brunson

Very very very inspiring Winsome. Congrats!!!

JeNeika Smith Boone

Joined an amazing group of people who are committed to adding value to others through leadership.

Violet Lim

Awesome sharing! Happy New Year Paul Carrick Brunson! 🙂

Sufi Kavanac

Conquered my fear of Math an graduated from Nursing School.released my attachment to a relationship that was not serving a higher purpose for me.

Felicia Stepupyourlife Meadows
Felicia Stepupyourlife Meadows

Awesome! !!

Kim Brown

I think your right I need to work on my faith and everything else will fall into place. Recently just feeling lost. Job is ok but I know I’m missing that relationship with God!