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Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Kevin O'Leary share how to make 2019 a year you'll remember

Kevin O'Leary
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Looking to make the most of the year ahead? Some of the world's top thought leaders have big ideas for what you can accomplish. Suggestions from Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Kevin O'Leary and more run the gamut from managing finances to making a change in your community. Take a look at these suggestions and learn how you can make 2019 a year to remember.

Barack Obama: Make a difference

Former president Barack Obama 
Scott Olson | Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama wants people to make a difference in their communities.

"As the year winds down and we look toward 2019, I'm asking you to make a commitment," he tweeted at the turn of the new year. "Find something you want to change in your community and take the first step toward changing it."

Obama shared stories of five young leaders he said inspired him in the hopes of inspiring others. "Their journeys began with a decision to build the better future they wanted to see," he wrote. "The same is true for you. What matters isn't the size of the step you take; what matters is that you take it."

Kevin O'Leary: Control your finances

Kevin O'Leary 
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

ABC's "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary has a simple message for the new year: Get control of your finances.

"The No. 1 resolution you should make on New Year's Eve, and this is No. 1, is to pay down your debt," O'Leary told CNBC Make-It. "That is the most important thing you can do for your future."

"Of course you want health and happiness, and everybody wants everybody to have that," he adds. "But in terms of taking care of your family and you, paying down your debt is No. 1."

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"New Year's Eve, you look at your credit card and you say to it, 'I'm paying off your balance buddy, and I'm going to do that before July,'" O'Leary says. "Make that a New Year's resolution.

Tony Robbins: Make a plan

Business strategist and entrepreneur Tony Robbins
Mike Pont | WireImage | Getty Images

No matter what goals you set for yourself, business and life coach Tony Robbins suggests a simple strategy to make sure you achieve them.

He says you must carefully outline what you want to accomplish and review those goals everyday in 2019. With this simple practice, you can more easily stick to your resolutions.

"Research shows that 80 percent of people give up on their New Year's resolution by the 2nd week of February!" Robbins wrote on Instagram in 2018. "The reason? What most people call 'resolutions' are really just desires or fun things they wish would happen. The majority of people aren't actually resolving anything within themselves."

"If you want to be a part of the few that do versus the many that talk, you need to be crystal clear — what specific result will you accomplish? What's your 'why' (reasons come first, answers come second)? How will you do it? What tools, strategies, or resources do you need to make it happen?"

Richard Branson: Try something new

Sir Richard Branson is honored with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 16, 2018 in Hollywood, California.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Billionaire adventurer Richard Branson suggests you try something new in 2019. In a blog post this month, he explained, "nothing good in my life has ever happened from the safety of my comfort zone."

"It's a New Year, a fresh slate, a chance to change it up," Branson wrote.

To get out of your comfort zone, the billionaire offered a few key tips: Be brave, start small, and keep trying, even if you feel discouraged in the process.

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He also suggested that you keep track of your adventures. Writing your experiences down in a notepad asking yourself what you enjoyed or didn't can help you stay focused, he said.

"Don't give up on something straight away – it's rare that people are good at something the first time they try it," Branson wrote.

Don't miss: Billionaire investor Ray Dalio shares his No. 1 tip for new investors

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Kevin O'Leary
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
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