The 5 Habits You Need To Adapt For a Successful New Year

Brian Basilico
Published in
7 min readDec 15, 2020


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I’m not sure if you’re into streaming TV or not but if you haven’t seen “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It’s an awesome mini-series about this little girl who goes from being an orphan to the queen of the chess world. Now, the story is very complex and I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but it happens in the sixties, and it’s heartwarming and inspiring.

At night, when Beth (the lead character) is going to bed she looks upon the ceiling and visualizes all the chess pieces, and moves them in her mind. Today I want to use that kind of mental acuity to look forward to our next year. I want to share about five habits that I have adopted. I think they can help you become more successful if you can adopt them for the coming new year.

Meditation — Imagine Your Ideal Client

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We’re going to start off with visualization, and that is meditation. What you need to meditate on is your ideal customer. Now, chances are, over the course of the last year, your perfect avatar might’ve changed. Ask yourself, what about your ideal customer has changed? What is the emotional trigger that stands in their way to achieving success? And how can you be of service to them? What I’m suggesting that you do is look up at the ceiling and imagine that person. Imagine the feeling that you have when they achieve that success because you help them out.

Purging — Focus On Less Is More

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The second habit that I think we have to get into is purging. What I mean by purging is: focus on less because less is more. One of the things that I purged at the beginning of the pandemic was the bloating of contacts in my CRM. I had over 6,000 people in there, and frankly, I barely knew a third of them. So I started purging that list. I narrowed it down to about 1200 people and it’s grown a little bit over the course of the year.

That now pruned list of people are people that I network with, vendors, and people that I know, like, and trust that I can recommend to other people. Within that list, there are about 200 people that I really want to stay in contact with on a regular basis. So I’ve identified those 200 people and I flagged them. I’ll discuss a little later what to do with those 200 people.

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But getting back to purging. Another thing that we may need to purge is tools or other things that we use in our business. Some can be software, some systems, or whatever it is. We may need to look at how we do business and remove some of the processes that may be slowing our growth down.

I’m actually working on reinventing my email marketing this year. I’ll talk more about that later. But we want to consolidate and make sure we’re paying for and only using the tools that we absolutely need because often too many tools, too many pieces of software, and too many systems can get in the way of us being efficient. Again, less is more.

The last thing is to purge your workspace. Get rid of things on your desk, get rid of papers that you’re not using. Now is the time of year to file things away or throw them out. Consolidate, get rid of the clutter, and give yourself the best opportunity to have a work environment that’s clean, usable, and brings joy to your daily existence.

Schedule Everything

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The next habit I think you should adopt is to schedule everything. What we tend to do is get so busy that we forget things. So using your calendar as a tool and turning on notifications for things in your calendar can keep you more focused. Turning off the notifications for your social media, and maybe your email will help avoid distractions.

You want your calendar to be the tool that becomes the central hub of your life. You will want to see those notifications when meetings are coming up when you have to achieve certain milestones. Make sure you’re updating your calendar on a regular basis. Every meeting that you have, every event that you have, everything that you have to get done.

The other thing you want to do with your calendar is integrated it into all your systems. For example, I’ve integrated Acuity Scheduling. It will integrate Zoom meetings directly in there and send me reminders and send reminders to the people I’m meeting with. When you integrate those systems and you get reminders, you can become a lot more efficient.

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The next thing you want to make sure to schedule is me-time. One of the activities that I have on my calendar is walking my dog. Why is that important? Because it’s blocked out. If somebody tries to schedule time with me using Acuity, they can’t.

The other thing about that is I get reminders. “It’s time to get up from your desk and get away from the business for a while.” I put on a set of headphones, grab my phone, set up a podcast or an audiobook, put her harness on, open the garage, and get out of the house for a half-hour. It’s time for me to unwind and learn about certain things, time to reflect.

That time is blocked out and my calendar reminds me that time is coming up. Make sure you’re scheduling everything and integrating it into your life.

AT&T — Reach Out and Touch Someone

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The next part is to explore what I call the AT&T. You may or may not remember this ad campaign, “Reach Out And Touch Somebody”. This is what I call my 10–10–10 Strategy. Take 10 people, 10 minutes, 10 words. That’s one minute per person and I send out a message. Every business day, I send 10 messages that connect with people asking, “How are you doing? And how can I help you?”

So, that’s how I utilize those 200 people. If I do 10 people a day every workday per month, that adds up to 200 people per month. Once a month I’m reaching out to each of those 200 people. By doing that, I’m staying connected, building relationships, and staying top of mind. Get in the habit of using your systems to reach out and touch somebody.

Create A Year Theme

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The last tidbit is to create a theme and think about it like playing chess on the ceiling. Think of it as a vision board, find a word that encompasses what you want to accomplish this year.

My word is ‘Signify’, and it is to give something a meaning or importance, to show someone’s intentions with a sign, and to mean or betoken or bequeath. In other words, I want to be intentional in what I do. Finally, you want to map out how you plan to embrace that every single week, every single month, and every single quarter. Have a plan to make that a habit.

Final Thoughts

In the “Queens Gambit”, Beth also studied games by best chess masters, move by move, and she would practice in her room before she played games in tournaments. This was to master the game by understanding the complexity of each move, and adopting new habits during gameplay

So, by adopting these five habits that I mentioned, you’re literally looking up at the ceiling and playing chess with your business. The goal is to win the round.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about playing chess and how developing new habits can help you win at the game of building your business to have a successful New Year. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?

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Brian Basilico

Brian is a syndicated blogger, podcaster, and a sought-after guest expert featured in Entrepreneur and Inc., magazines, Over 500 shows on “The Bacon Podcast”