The New Year’s resolutions 31 successful Australian executives have made for 2017

Some want to get more active. Photo: iStock

A new year means new year resolutions.

And while resolutions can seem trite, if you set realistic objectives — and stick with them — then they can be highly rewarding and fulfilling.

We asked 10 successful Australia executives how they plan to make 2017 one to remember.

Here’s what they had to say.

Luke Anear, Founder and CEO of SafetyCulture

Luke Anear. Photo: Belinda Pratten/ Supplied.

My New Year’s resolution would be to be more proactive at work. So much of the last six months has been reactive, with lots of growth, new teams, new offices and a huge opportunity in front of us. I need to be on the front foot and hopefully get on top of my email inbox for once!

Tony Windever, vice president of Unisys Asia Pacific

Two of my three children will start new schools next year – this will be a really big change for them. While I have a demanding work schedule, I want to make sure I’m there to support them. I think an important part of work-life quality is being there for the people who matter most in your life – to provide the support they need when they need it.

Will Davies, CEO of Car Next Door

I’m going to simplify a bit next year. In 2016, my wife and I had our third baby, whilst doing a pretty major renovation. Now we have lived in five different houses during the reno, including rentals, house sits and Airbnbs. I am pretty sure no one in my family wants to do that again!

Joel Macdonald, CEO and co-founder GetSwift

I’d like to think that in 2017 I’ll be focusing on beginning new resolutions no matter what day of the year it is. But I would like to double my efforts around reading different books in different settings. I’ve found that by picking up a different book at breakfast, lunch and dinner, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, you open yourself up to new perspectives which can stimulate your creativity as well as improve your problem solving ability.

Plus, after having spent so much time in New York this year, I would also like to make an effort to spend more time in Australia with family and friends.

Nazar Musa, CEO of Medical Channel

Nazar Musa. Photo: Belinda Pratten

My resolution for 2017 is a big one. I love boxing and have had a few amateur fights in Dubai and Asia (my super hard fight name is Naz “Brown Sugar” Musa!). Unfortunately, I lost my last fight in 2015 and so my resolution for next year will be to have one last one now that I’m here in Australia so I can retire gracefully and as a winner!

Nati Harpaz, CEO of Catch of the Day

On a business level I’ll aim to remove at least three processes that are slowing us down, and introduce three new innovations that will turbo charge our business. Personally, I will work with my children on achieving happiness, learn a new business discipline and work on my fourth Dan grading in martial arts.

Erica Westbury, managing director of Norwest Recruitment

Something I’ve learnt this year, after 15 years in business, is to take lots of mini breaks and holidays. 2016 was a year of short holidays, with a number of long weekends away and some extended conferences, and as I sit and talk to business colleagues, I realise I’m feeling optimistic and refreshed.

This is reflected in my goals for next year – I’m hopeful and my number projections are high. Another resolution is to find a mindfulness coach. I’ve read about mindful leadership and I’d love to implement it into my business. Best of luck everyone and here’s to a fabulous 2017.

Bethany James-Best, CEO of James Said

I have two new year resolutions. One is to get fit – but not in a superficial way. It’s not a skinny thing. I want to feel strong, healthy. I want more energy. I also want to work more on my business and not in my business. I want to lead my team and be more strategic. It’s taken a few years to get to this point where I have capable and talented people working for me.

Georgina Nelson, founder and CEO of TruRating

Georgina Nelson. Photo: Supplied.

It’s such a crucial year for us, launching in Canada and ramping up in the US – as well as Australia and the UK continuing to grow at an incredible pace. My resolution is, this year will be my best year yet! I’ll put everything I have into it and smash it out the park. If all goes as planned, every year after that should feel like a breeze.

Alongside this I want to be far more self-disciplined and give time in my calendar to write more to my family and friends and the kids we sponsor through various charities. In the amount of time I spend thinking I need to do it, I could have written to them so many times over.

Craig Adamson, director of Leading Hotels of the World Australia and New Zealand

My New Year’s resolution is to read more – I never commit enough time to it. And stop eating chocolate at my desk!

Stephanie Christopher, CEO of The Executive Connection

As a passionate supporter of women in leadership, I am an active member in a number of women’s networks that foster female talent throughout their career, as well as connecting like-minded women. My priority for next year is to actively find opportunities to grow and build stronger networks of empowered women.

Andrew Barnes, CEO and co-founder of GO1

It may sound surprising, but one of my resolutions for 2017 is to “do less”. It’s the simplest but hardest piece of advice espoused by Y Combinator (the US accelerator behind Dropbox and Airbnb). By doing less you can focus more. At GO1, we are focused on creating the world’s largest training marketplace. Being able to narrow down our focus to this core mission means we can move faster – but it can be hard avoiding other exciting opportunities!

Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot

Karen Lawson. Photo: Supplied.

I have torn my hamstring twice in 2016 and really want to get back to running again. I really need to create time to get to the physio. Running has been part of my life for 20 years so it’s something I really miss and hope to get back to doing frequently in 2017.

Yanir Yakutiel, CEO and founder of Sail Funding

To paraphrase Mark Twain, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning”. My resolution is to make a conscious choice, every day, to get the tough tasks completed rather than waste my time and energy doing the fun stuff. As I say to my team, running a successful startup isn’t all sex, drugs and rock-n’roll! In fact, it’s none of the above!

Petra Gross, VP of Product, Expert360

I’ve recently returned to Australia, having spent years working in Silicon Valley. Ever since we moved back, my husband and I have made it our mission to visit the many beautiful places this country has to offer. And we certainly have our work cut out for us! So our New Year’s resolution is to visit Kangaroo Island and Uluru with our children in 2017.

Sandra McLeod, CEO at Travelport Locomote

I don’t make New Year resolutions because every day provides new opportunities and challenge. That’s what keeps me engaged and motivated. Too often people approach resolutions to do things that they think they ‘should’ be doing. I’d much rather spend 2017 — and every other year — doing the things I want to be doing; chasing new and interesting challenges.

Nick Bell, founder and managing director of WME

Nick Bell. Photo: Supplied.

My resolutions for 2017 boil down to three major areas: I want to spend more time with my daughter, who’ll be turning one in May. I’d like to learn a language – either Spanish or French. It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing for a while. Finally, I’d like to further expand our business operations into the US.

Zoe Pointon, CEO and co-founder of OpenAgent

I’d like to get back to daily running, as it clears the mind and makes me better to deal with.

Ben Scull, managing director of tax and accounting, ANZ at Thomson Reuters

My resolution in 2017 is to spend more time on the bike and in the water and less time in the air and in hotels! I’m looking forward to a more active 2017.

Jason Wyatt, managing director of Marketplacer

From a business point of view, I want to hold more walking meetings. We find our best ideas are not discovered in an office! Personally I want to make an effort to ride to work at least three days per week.

Levi Aron, country manager of Deliveroo

On a personal level. I’m determined to create the elusive work life “balance”, where I am able to spend more time with the people in my life that matter the most. It’s something I have struggled with whilst building a brand in Australia that has now become a household name – after all, who doesn’t eat!

Damian Kay, CEO of Inabox Group

Damian Kay. Photo: Supplied.

I want to be more patient with fools. I know I can sometimes be short and cut people’s ideas off as they seem absurd. This is not the sign of a great leader and it is something I am working on. I encourage my direct reports to do the same with their staff and it is something I want to focus on in the New Year.

I also want to maximise the time I spend with my three boys. They are 12, 10 and 5 and seem to be becoming more independent everyday. We really encourage people with families and provide a flexible working environment so that people get a good work life balance. We even provide subsidised childcare to new mothers so they can come back into the workforce if they choose to, so they have the flexibility.

Joel Thomson, co-founder of SalesPreso

I think I’ll take the time next year to remember why I embarked on the entrepreneurial journey in the first place. I’ll use it to help guide me through the highs and inevitable lows in 2017.

Tim Bentley, managing director of Proofpoint Australia and New Zealand

I look forward to volunteering at Australia’s largest food relief organisation, Foodbank, and watching my son enjoy Little Athletics.

Luscheyne Mellon, co-founder of

I stopped setting New Year’s resolutions years ago and decided to think of an overarching theme for the year ahead. I find that it’s a great way to frame your perspective. Every encounter and interaction you have then has that lens over it. My theme for 2017 is going to be “The Year of Creative Experiments”.

Taryn Williams, founder and CEO of TheRight.Fit

Taryn Williams. Photo: Supplied.

To treat my personal relationships the way I do my clients.

I’m often guilty of failing to return friends’ phone calls, missing birthdays, or not checking in regularly with my folks. It’s completely contradictory to my professional life. This year I’m going to focus on being a better partner, friend, sister, daughter, granddaughter, by scheduling in time for these people in the same way I would a client.

Ryan Berman, CEO and founder of Vidcorp

My resolution is to focus more on my wellbeing in 2017. I plan to start meditating, implement a more frequent exercise routine and reignite my passion for reading. I might even try my hand at a half-marathon!

William Strange, CEO and founder of Sports Performance Tracking

If I can achieve anything in 2017, it would be to be more efficient with my time. Having time away from the office being healthy, playing sport or socialising can generate new ideas and provide a fresh approach. Working hard does not mean that you are a good worker, but working smart means that you are efficient and only spending valuable time on things that progress the business or yourself individually.

Jeff McAlister, CEO of TryBooking

My resolution is to take part in more events. During my job I see thousands of events occurring across Australia, most for a great cause. These could be local theatre, sporting, fundraising or political events. My aim is to participate in much more of these next year.

Kate Adams, founder and CEO of

Kate Adams. Photo: Supplied.

I’m not the biggest fan of New Year’s resolutions… [but] if I had a New Year’s resolution, it would be to quit staying up so late and night and get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can get a little more sleep.

Sage Greenwood, managing director of Wink Models

My resolution for 2017 is to learn to disconnect. I think 2016 was the year of connecting. Along with emails, we are now using Slack, Linked In, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and What’s App. I’ve felt a massive rise in noise and communication. While I thoroughly embrace the improvements they’ve each brought to overall productivity, next year I am looking for ways to shut the noise down from time to time and consciously switch off.

It’s also my goal to visit Cuba while it’s still in a relatively untouched-by-tourism state. So much to discover and explore.

*Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

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