How To Have Better Habits in 2024

Ryan Holiday
11 min readDec 20, 2023

The new year is not real. It’s an artificial, made up event. Nothing has really changed. Nothing has actually happened.

We know this because there are so many different ways of tracking ‘the year.’ There is the fiscal year. There’s the academic year and the agricultural year. There are regular years and leap years. There’s the Chinese year, which varies each year, typically starting somewhere between January 21st and February 20th and lasting until a similar date the following year.

In actuality, every single day is a new year…because one year has elapsed since that day, one year earlier.

But still, there is something to the New Year. Even the Stoics acknowledged it. Seneca started each year by plunging into the frigid Tiber River in Rome — I think he was washing off the old year and starting fresh for a new year, as well as starting by doing something challenging and difficult.

Sure, you could start fresh any day, but would you? Do you know?

So let’s use the close of 2023 and the beginning of 2024 as an opportunity — however forced, however artificial — to reexamine, reorient and restart. That’s what Epictetus said, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” He asked how much longer we were going to wait to demand the best of and from ourselves?

Here are some habits, some things I am going to ask of myself in 2024, many of which were inspired by The Daily Stoic New Year New You Challenge, which starts on January 1st. It’s a big part of my year each year — kicking things off with something that challenges me — and I hope you’ll join us on January 1st. (Sign up here, more info below).

Think Small

The writer James Clear talks about the idea of “atomic habits” (and has a really good book with the same title). An atomic habit is a small habit that makes an enormous difference in your life. He talks about how the British cycling team was completely turned around by focusing on 1% improvements in every area. That sounds small, but Clear emphasizes that repetitive actions accumulate and add up in a big way over time.“Well-being is realized by small steps,” Zeno would say looking back on his life, “but is truly no small thing.” If you want to start reading…

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Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ http://amzn.to/24qKRWR