IP#34 How to make 2024 the best year of your life – 26th December

How to make 2024 the best year of your life

Reading time: 6 minutes 50 seconds

It was just after 8am. David had just arrived in the door after his night shift as a pest control exterminator. The twenty-four-year-old flicked on the television and moved his 300lbs frame into the shower. The rest of his chocolate milkshake and mini donuts lay waiting for him to finish. As he showered, he listened to the TV and heard a documentary that had just begun. It was about Navy Seals. When he got out of the shower he stared, transfixed at the screen.

His life contrasted starkly with these larger-than-life heroes. As he recounts:

“I got sick of being haunted by being nobody. I didn’t want to sit back and continually watch these shows about great people doing amazing things. I wanted that feeling in my head that I believed that they had: of true accomplishment.”

David went on to lose 106 lbs over the next three months. (Obviously, I’m not recommending that as a healthy approach to losing weight.) He soon became a Navy Seal and over the next twenty-five years, he competed in more than 60 ultra-endurance races, held a world record in the amount of pull-ups done within 24 hours (4030 pull-ups), and wrote a New York Times bestselling book ‘Can’t Hurt Me’. He’s been described as the toughest man alive and his resume backs it up. His name is David Goggins.


It’s easy to see people like David Goggins as an outlier. We could never change our lives like that. He was built like this. It’s so easy to instantly find all the reasons why we can’t as opposed to why we can. While there may only be one David Goggins, we can learn a lot from his approach and attitude to making changes happen.

As we move closer to a new year, most of us have plans to turn over a new leaf. But to make next year as incredible as you desire you need to do two things:

1. Get your mindset ready.

2. Plan properly.

This will allow you to make next year the best year of your life.

Let’s explore how.


To make big changes in our lives, it is useful to look at examples of real transformation like David.

What drove him? The TV show about Navy Seals was no doubt a trigger but it was based on a yearning he had for change.

David’s childhood wasn’t easy. He dealt with poverty, racism, and domestic abuse. One of the greatest fuels is the pain we experience in life.

When we look at it correctly, it can drive us to overcome incredible amounts of adversity in pursuit of something we desire.

Jim Rohn talks about four emotions that can drive us to change.

First, we get to a point of disgust with our current circumstances.

Second, we decide to make the change.

Third, we are driven by our desire to succeed.

Last, resolve makes us determined to succeed.

We can see each of these evident in David’s journey too. Disgust at his current circumstances. The decision to take action. The desire to become a Navy Seal. The resolve to see it through.


Multiple psychological studies suggest that there is one strategy, developed by Dr. Gabriele Oettingen, a professor of psychology at New York University, that is more likely to lead you to successfully achieving your goals compared to most other approaches such as positive thinking or traditional goal-setting methods. This is known as Mental Contrasting.

The technique involves juxtaposing visions of desired future outcomes with the current obstacles or hindrances that prevent one from achieving those outcomes. In many ways, this is what David did as he watched the documentary. And, he continued to do it as he made progress and reached goal after goal.

Mental Contrasting involves three steps:

1) Imagine achieving what you want.

2) Reflect on the present moment and what obstacles are between you and the goal.

3) Decide on a plan that considers how to overcome those obstacles and succeed.

We see a pattern here. Change requires a drive that incorporates both pain and pleasure. We are moving away from what we don’t want while we move towards what we do.

Most importantly, you don’t need to have some huge event rattle your world for you to change.

You can rattle your world. And once it is rattled, the next step is to move in the new direction.

The power is not in the decision but in our execution of that decision.

Too often we are told to focus on the positive goal we want, with no thought whatsoever to the pain that drives us in the first place. But inside of this pain lies an immense power.

The mindset we need to have to make next year amazing goes like this:

Think of everything you hate about where you are in life.

Think of everything you would love to have and do and experience next year.

Think of what you need to accomplish to transform your life.

Keep cycling between these thought processes and find yourself propelled toward the greatest year.

Now, you need a plan.


Effective planning for next year comes down to thinking differently about the year than you might otherwise.

Normally, we sit down and make New Year’s resolutions. We half-heartedly tell others and almost wait until we fail. There is an alternative strategy. It involves six plans.

Six plans that you need to make

1. Plan your calendar properly

Start with holidays, vacations, and any events that you are looking forward to. This could be birthdays, anniversaries, sporting occasions, music concerts… anything that you are excited about. Lock them into your calendar first. Then figure out what other responsibilities or work you need to put in.

2. Plan your targets

Annual targets

Decide what you want to achieve in the next year. Brainstorm everything first and then wheel it back and identify what is reasonable and try to write down whatever you feel you have an 80% chance of achieving. It should challenge you. This can be for both your personal and professional life.

Quarterly and monthly targets

Take the annual targets and break these down into quarterly targets. Where do you need to be on each by April 1st, July 1st, October 1st? Take the quarterly targets and break them down into monthly targets. Where do you need to be at the start of each month?

Weekly targets and routines

For each month, identify what you need to do and achieve weekly to succeed. Plan time in each month to adapt these targets accordingly. What routines do you need to build into your week to succeed?

3. Plan your daily habits and routines

Decide what new habits you want to implement this year and make a permanent part of your lifestyle. Decide what daily routines you will begin to ensure that you are on track to accomplish the weekly goals. Plan time each week to go through your daily targets. (which will likely change)

4. Plan the priorities

Go through your plans, targets, routines, and habits, and decide your core priorities this year. What must you absolutely do this year? What will you do to make sure this happens?


5. Plan your mental, physical, and relationship health practices

Decide what you are going to do regularly to ensure that your mental and physical health will be as good as possible. Prioritize these actions. Here are some examples:

Sleep better, exercise better, eat better, rest more, get outside more, spend time with pets, spend time with people you love, laugh more, get out into nature, meditate, engage in Yoga or NSDR (Non-Sleep Deep Rest), use NLP strategies, CBT strategies, or practice Stoicism or Mindfulness.

Do a relationship audit and spend more time around people who give you energy and less time with people who drain your energy. This includes online.

Audit your time on social media and spend more time engaging with whatever makes you feel good and whatever educates you.

6. Plan for your challenges and skills

Along the way, identify any challenges that could get in your way and plan how you are going to be ready for them.

For the year, target the most important skills you want to work on and get better at.

By making these plans, you are putting yourself in the driving seat as you move into the future.


While trying to stay sane in a world that often seems mad, focusing on what you can influence often seems the only chance of finding some form of peace. While you can’t tell what is around the corner in 2024, you can decide how you are going to approach it.

You can continuously drive towards what you want and contrast it to where you are. You can allow the disgust you have for what you don’t want anymore to drive you to decide to pursue your desire and find the resolve to make it happen. You can make the plans so that you are all set to conquer the next twelve months.

Along the way, obstacles will try and push you back. Some of them you will have considered and some of them will be surprises. Regardless, the key is to keep moving forward relentlessly and decide that come what may, you will make this your best year ever.

And in the words of the great David Goggins always remember to ‘Stay hard’.





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