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If you’re making a financial New Year’s resolution for 2024, you might hope your efforts will put you on the path to living like Bill Gates.

The No. 6 richest person in the world, the Microsoft co-founder has a personal fortune of more than $119 billion. A force of nature in global philanthropy, the digital age pioneer and farmland magnate has donated nearly $60 billion to date.

Bill Gates is charitable, influential, powerful and wealthy almost beyond compare — but he didn’t get there by making one-off end-of-year promises to clean up his financial act over the next 365 days.

Instead of Resolving, Stop To Assess and Reflect

In December 2021, Gates used his annual end-of-year post on his GatesNotes blog to reaffirm his distaste for a beloved yearly ritual of self-improvement.

“I’ve never been a big New Year’s resolution person,” he wrote.

But in his own way, he does use the moment to reflect on the challenges and successes of the closing year while planning for the one ahead.

In his 2018 year in review, he wrote, “Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise.”

Bill Gates has amassed wealth and power beyond imagination, and he reveals his master plan bit-by-bit in annual December blog posts he publishes in lieu of a resolution.

Become a Student of Everything That Impacts Your Passions and Profits

Instead of setting singular, arbitrary and probably unattainable goals like cutting spending by 20%, Gates analyzes the industries, trends and events that could impact his wealth and influence over his pet causes.

For example, with his entire fortune based on computer software, it’s natural that Gates used this year’s post to chronicle the incredible AI developments of 2023 and ponder how they might evolve in 2024. In 2021, he reflected on how the pandemic influenced technology’s role in people’s daily lives.

Although he doesn’t make formal resolutions, it’s clear that Gates has resolved to obsessively learn about any subject close to his many overlapping business dealings, philanthropic endeavors and passion projects.

Earn Success by Adding Value and Solving Problems

As a man who earned billions developing world-changing technology, Gates consistently uses his end-of-year roundup to hammer home his longstanding belief that solving problems and improving people’s lives is the surest path to prosperity.

This year, Gates wrote, “For me, it means constantly asking myself a question: How can I use my wealth to do the most good for the most people, now and in the future? Sometimes the answer is clear. When it’s not, I turn to my brilliant colleagues, family, and friends who, more often than not, can provide the perspective, moral clarity, and data points needed to make the right choice.”

Focus on Relationships and Personal Growth Along With Financial and Professional Success

Gates’s non-resolutions have come a long way from when he was a young man pouring all his energies into laying the foundation for the digital age.

He wrote In his 2018 year-end post, “One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s. Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

“Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.”

Remain Always Optimistic but Never Blind to Impending Danger

Some might look to the new year wary of a recession but confident they’re prepared to weather the storm. They wouldn’t be unlike Bill Gates, who enters each new year similarly optimistic, but worried enough to keep working hard.

In nearly all his annual posts, Gates showcases the year’s most extraordinary breakthroughs and developments regarding climate change, malnutrition, education, global health, vaccines and his other highly publicized passions. But he also acknowledges the work yet to be done and the consequences he fears if the world’s other problem-solvers don’t live up to the moment.

In December 2018, exactly one year before the first COVID-19 cases emerged, Gates reflected on the Spanish flu, which claimed 50 million lives a century earlier in 1919.

He wrote, “I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.”

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