We are fascinated by how rich and famous people live their lives, because many of us want to be like them. Especially as an entrepreneur, it's impossible not to admire someone like Marc Benioff or Jeff Bezos. But in a way, billionaires are just like us -- they just want to be better, more successful versions of themselves, and they're full of self-improvement plans come January 1.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Thursday that his New Year's resolution for 2018 is to fix Facebook's impact on society, which is a staggering personal challenge the likes of which most of us would never have to contemplate. But in past years his goals have been to read more, exercise more, learn a new language -- an achievement that Bill Gates commended, incidentally -- and travel. Those aren't so different from everyday, normal-person goals.
A YouGov poll found that in general people want to be healthier, wealthier, and happier in 2018, just like Mark Zuckerberg over the near-decade that he's been making New Year's resolutions.
High-powered business people aren't focused only on the physical side; they also care about their wellbeing and contentment. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on the first day of 2018 that he had just returned from a 10-day retreat dedicated to silent meditation.
Just finished a 10 day silent meditation. Wow, what a reset! Fortunate & grateful I was able to take the time. Happy New Year! #Vipassana-- jack (@jack) January 1, 2018
That's a particularly radical expression of the widespread impulse to learn how to handle stress and conflict better by deeply exploring the self (or oblivion, or whatever else, depending on the exact practice).
At the end of 2016, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a Facebook Live video that during the year she had written down three moments of joy in a notebook every day "just to notice the times when things were good." Apparently this practice of self-care became her first success in keeping a New Year's resolution. Like the rest of us, a top executive at one of the most valuable companies in the world can struggle to make good on her promises to herself. (By the way, there's an app for that.)
Also in 2016, Melinda Gates chose to focus on the word "gentle" as a theme for the next 12 months. "I want nothing more than to empower [my daughters] to rise above this cycle of self-criticism," the Gates Foundation co-founder wrote in that December. "I hope that as this year ends and the next begins, you'll give yourself permission to be gentler to yourself -- and seek out ways to be gentle to others." Not so different from your Facebook friends who want to sleep better and live in the moment more, no?
Then again, some billionaires do shoot for the moon. (Not just Elon Musk, either.) Richard Branson declared in a blog post on January 1, 2018, that his goal is a body fit for the stars: He wants to be fit enough to be "ready for a trip into space."
Considering he already does extreme fitness challenges every year and also swims, bikes, kite-surfs, and plays tennis on a daily basis, it's hard to imagine he could be all that far off. To that regimen, he said, he plans to add "some centrifuge g-force training so I'm as acclimatised as I can be for the journey."
Your local gym may not have centrifuge g-force training facilities, but you can self-improve like most hyper-successful rich people in 2018 by doing the common-sense things that everyone wants to do. Good luck.