18 highly successful people share their New Year’s resolutions

Danny Meyer and Betheny Frankel collage

Hollis Johnson/Betheny Frankel

From cutting back on email to taking things a day at a time, these entrepreneurs have a plan for a better 2017.

It’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions.

To help you come up with ideas, Business Insider asked industry leaders and entrepreneurs, including world-renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer and Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel, to share what they’ve resolved to do over the next year.

Find out what 18 super-successful people plan to accomplish in 2017.

Libby Kane, Tanza Loudenback, Áine Cain, Emmie Martin, Shana Lebowitz, and Jacquelyn Smith contributed reporting.

Katia Beauchamp, cofounder and CEO of Birchbox, would like to focus on growing her confidence

“The year ahead is all about elevating my confidence and celebrating the incredible accomplishments of life.

“I’ve always been confident to an extent, but it wasn’t a well I could draw from in the hardest moments. I’ve realized that it isn’t about perfection — it’s about owning your strengths, having the humility to see where you need the strength of others, and being open and impressionable to change.

“It’s within my reach and I feel now more than ever that this type of confidence in everyone will be critical to the future we all want to see come to fruition.”

Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack, wants to cut back on email

“My New Year’s resolution is once and for all to spend significantly less time reading and writing emails, and far more time being present and looking people in the eye.”

Debbie Sterling, CEO of GoldieBlox, wants to mentor young women interested in STEM

“In 2017 I want to spend more time mentoring young women interested in STEM and entrepreneurship. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling too busy to give back. The truth is, the more success you have, the busier you get. So you have to proactively make time to do things that are important to you.”

Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor CEO, wants to help refugees

“My New Year’s resolution is to use the power and influence of TripAdvisor’s brand to aid in the humanitarian refugee crisis that we’re seeing in many parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Europe today.

“In addition to our commitment to organizations like Mercy Corps and The International Rescue Committee, I want to encourage others in the travel industry and around the world to take action and help provide refugees with critical access to information, essential education opportunities, and resettlement support.

“It’s one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our generation. Years from now, I want my grandkids to know that I joined with others and chose to help, if only in a small way.”

Bethenny Frankel, Skinnygirl founder, wants to do the best she can each day

“In 2017, I’m excited to cook more, continue growing The Muse, and see at least one play, show, or musical every month.

“On the work front, we’ve more than doubled the size of our team in the last year, and I’m excited to spend 2017 investing deeply in those people and building the foundation for our long-term team, brand, and ultimately success!”

Kat Cole, president of Focus Brands, would like to try a new life-hack each month

“In 2017, my husband and I have a shared resolution of ‘accelerated growth’: discovering, experimenting, and implementing 30-day challenges that optimize our health, performance, and impact.

“We choose 1-2 life-hacks to radically change for the entire month, each month. It may be a new specific exercise every day or eliminating a particular food, taking a certain supplement, or a new way to connect with our friends or community, every single day for 30 straight days.

“We already do check-ins on our monthiversary to invest in our relationship, so we’ll add these new goals to that to drive accountability. The new habits that create the most impact will become our improved rituals. Bring on the badassery!”

John Schlifske, Northwestern Mutual CEO and chairman, would like to take his company deeper into digital and his kids deeper into the outdoors

“From a business standpoint, we’re committed to giving our clients the financial information they need when they want it. And so we’re working hard — and borrowing from technology startups and customer-first companies — to make sure our clients have an engaging digital experience that builds on the expertise of our financial representatives.

“Personally, I’m going in the other direction with my kids and am committed to getting them outdoors more in 2017. I want to help my 13-year-old son catch a legal ‘muskie’ — which in Wisconsin is a fish that is more than 40 inches long and doesn’t bite easily. You can’t get that adrenaline rush from a screen!”

Michael Wystrach, Freshly CEO, wants to practice extreme ownership

“My New Year’s resolution is to practice extreme ownership: the idea that you are responsible for every situation and relationship in your life, no excuses.

“This last year I found myself frustrated with situations and felt like I had no ability to improve them. After reading ‘Extreme Ownership‘ by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, my whole perspective on my control over situations changed. Now it’s time to put my knowledge to work!”

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, would like to help empower women

“I just joined Instagram this past fall (late to the party!) when I launched my book, ‘The Belly Art Project,’ to create awareness for maternal health. One of my 2017 resolutions is to use my social platforms to build awareness for organizations that empower women. Being philanthropic can be fun and isn’t always about making a financial contribution.”

Gretchen Rubin, a habit expert and author of ‘Better Than Before,’ wants to re-purpose more

“I have masses of material that I’ve created over the years, and I want to make better use of it. For instance, over the summer, I wrote a little book called ‘Outer Order, Inner Calm’ based on all the writing I’d done about clutter-clearing — so much fun.

“Along the same lines, I have a book coming out in September, The Four Tendencies, about a personality framework I’ve already identified (are you an Upholder, Questioner, Obiger, Rebel?). It will be a book, but it’s also an app, the Better app, and I have other plans for the material. Re-purpose!”

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, would like to find more time to think

“That means less responding to emails the moment they come in, more walks, more saying ‘no’ to random requests, more ‘me and a glass of wine and a piece of paper,’ and more time with the creative people I work with and know.”

Kathryn Minshew, The Muse CEO and founder, plans to continue growing her brand

“In 2017, I’m excited to cook more, continue growing The Muse, and see at least one play, show, or musical every month.

“On the work front, we’ve more than doubled the size of our team in the last year, and I’m excited to spend 2017 investing deeply in those people and building the foundation for our long-term team, brand, and ultimately success!”

Joe Hall, founder of the Ghetto Film School, wants to become more involved in important causes.

“In the past I’ve always considered the dedication and passion put towards Ghetto Film School as my sole cause focus. I realize, however, that there’s a lot of good work out there that deserves my support, including new things happening in the museum, academic, and art world that I’m eager to get involved in.”

Stephanie March, actor, philanthropist, and cofounder of Rouge New York, would like to write a book

“I am telling  you this because it’s like running a marathon — if you tell a lot of people you are doing it you sort of have to. My friends have been telling me this for ages and it’s high time I go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Laura Vanderkam, productivity expert, author of “I Know How She Does It,” wants to spend more time on social media

“I’m a writer first and foremost, and so I automatically think to communicate with people via books, articles, and blog posts, but there are so many other ways to connect these days.

“In particular, I want to do more Facebook Live chats (so easy!) and I want to finally have an active presence on Instagram. I take pictures all the time, but I never think about sharing them. Clearly my brain does not work that way, but this year I’m going to try.”

Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist and author of “Grit,” would like to think of three good things in her life each morning before she gets out of bed

“This simple ritual — called the ‘three blessings exercise’ — has been shown in random-assignment research to make you happier, but I’m doing it for a different reason.

“In fact, I’m doing it for its own sake. I want to appreciate what’s going right in my life, especially the people who make my life so wonderful.”

Neil Vogel, CEO of About.com, wants to learn to play guitar

“My almos-3-year old is obsessed with the guitar, so my goal is to learn to play guitar serviceably. Only then will I be on par with his other great hero, Spiderman.”

Alexa von Tobel, CEO and founder of LearnVest and author of ‘Financially Fearless,’ wants to help her daughter save more money

“New Year’s resolutions — especially the financial ones — are always a work in progress, so I like to check in periodically throughout the year to re-evaluate and, if necessary, reset. But for now, I’m going into 2017 with three specific money goals in mind:

“First, I want to focus on my baby girl, Toby. She’ll be two in March, but it’s never too early to impart good money values and management skills to your little ones. To start teaching Toby about saving, my husband and I have given her six different piggy banks, each representing a different savings goal. For example, she has a piggy bank for college and a piggy bank for the bicycle that’s on her wish list this year.

“Second, my husband and I are thinking more strategically about how our own saving can help ensure Toby has a sound financial future ahead of her.

“Last but not least is sticking to our own budget. This one requires ongoing attention, so it’s a resolution we make every year.””


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