Mark Zuckerberg just made a 2018 resolution—here's how he and other leaders approach their goals

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After the champagne is finished and the confetti cleaned up, there are usually two camps of people: Those who set New Year's resolutions, and those who do not. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg falls in the former category.

Zuckerberg — a longtime advocate of new year, new goals — publicly pledged his new, lofty challenge for 2018 on Thursday.

While a slew of Zuckerberg's past goals ranged from the simple (wearing a tie every day in 2009) to the sophisticated (building artificial intelligence to help run his home and assist with work in 2016), none have been quite as big as Zuckerberg's 2018 promise: fixing Facebook's most severe issues.

"The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it's protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent," Zuckerberg writes in a Facebook post.

"My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues. We won't prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we're successful this year then we'll end 2018 on a much better trajectory."

Zuckerberg also points out looming questions in the field — like whether technology is a decentralizing or centralizing force, and the positive and negative aspects of trendy technology such as encryption and cryptocurrency — and says he's interested in going deeper and studying these issues.

"This will be a serious year of self-improvement and I'm looking forward to learning from working to fix our issues together," Zuckerberg writes.

Here's how four other business leaders approach setting goals for the new year.

Sheryl Sandberg

Friend of Zuckerberg and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg recently leaned in to the idea of setting and keeping New Year's resolutions. She revealed that 2016 was the first year in which she stuck with her goal, which was to write down three moments of joy each day in a notebook.

"This is the first year I have ever kept a New Year's resolution," Sandberg told Zuckerberg in a Facebook Live event in 2016.

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Marcus Lemonis

Businessman Marcus Lemonis, star of CNBC's "The Profit," meanwhile, thinks any time is a good time to make a change, not just the end of December.

"I don't know that I make specifically New Year's resolutions. I think I typically make a new resolution when something bad happens or I have a failure or something doesn't go the way I think it should," Lemonis tells CNBC Make It.

"I almost have this reset and I don't use the calendar year as a time to do that. I use a mistake that I've made or a decision that I made that didn't go right as a time to do that."

Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has a unique strategy when it comes to resolutions. In the past, she has said that, instead of setting a resolution, she picks a single word to look to for guidance over the next 12 months. In 2016, that word was "gentle."

"I've found this to be more successful than setting a more traditional resolution, because instead of prompting a radical change in behavior, it encourages a gradual change in mindset," Gates wrote in an article for Real Simple. "Last January, I chose the word 'gentle,' and I've spent 2016 trying to put it into practice — being gentler to those around me, gentler in my approach to the world, and most importantly, gentler to myself."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb 

This year, best-selling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb has decided to forgo making any new resolutions. Taleb explained why on Twitter, saying that, since he failed at making all three of his 2017 resolutions, he wouldn't be making any for 2018.


Of course, you can also use failure to spur you on to future success.

Feeling inspired? Before you declare your own New Year's resolutions, make sure you set yourself up for success with some thoughtful planning.

Leadership expert Michael Hyatt recommends starting the goal-setting process with adjusting your mindset to be more optimistic. When it comes to actually crafting your goals, Hyatt suggests writing them down and focusing on goals that give you clarity and direction. The more specific, the better.

Finally, don't forget to keep those goals top of mind with daily, weekly and quarterly goal reviews.

This is an updated version of a previously published story.

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