2016 is quickly coming to an end. This year for me was all about taking risks and reassessing where I put my energies. I participated in Seth Godin’s altMBA program this fall, an intensive 4-week program designed for people who are ready to level up and make major changes in their professional lives. It’s helped me to refocus my mindset and recommit to what’s important.

The course inspired these key lessons that I intend to use to leap forward in the new year, and that might inspire you as well. Instead of adding more to your to-do list in the form of resolutions you are only 8% likely to fulfill, try changing your mindset and follow these 7 “do nots” instead.

1. Do not look back.

When you’re on your deathbed, you won’t regret anything you did, but only the things you didn’t do. Don’t regret anything you did in the past. Look at what you did as helpful training for the future, and move forward.

2. Do not be late.

Being late is a choice. There are things that you would never be late for. Those are the most important things to you. Make everything you do as important as those, and don’t be late for anything you commit to.

3. Do not say ‘yes’ if you mean ‘no.’

Don’t commit to things that you are not really committed to.  Say ‘no’ often, so it means something when you say ‘yes.’ And when you say ‘yes,’ don’t be late.

4. Do not gossip.

Anyone who talks about others without them being around probably does the same to you. You don’t want to be part of that. Just walk away when people gossip. You have nothing to gain.

5. Do not interrupt.

Don’t disrespect people with the illusion of a conversation when you just want to share your opinion. The good listener also genuinely tries to recap what they just heard (without weaving in their own twist).

6. Do not be angry or frustrated.

Focus your energy on what you can control. Focus on the future, not on other people or on the past. Don’t resent. Don’t be jealous. Don’t hold a grudge. It does not serve you.

7. Do not be afraid.

The worst thing that can happen when you do something hard, new or scary, is that you learn from the experience, whether you succeed or fail. If you take this approach in life, you can only succeed.


Take a different approach this year. Resolve to be more thoughtful, less affected by the small stuff, and more in tune with yourself and others. Let this year be different.