The HtS 2013 Year In Review [Part 1] + Accountability Partner Matchup


in Exercise, Make Money, Productivity, Travel

It’s 2014. Clean slate.

If you’ve followed me in the past, you know my struggles with productivity. But in 2013, everything changed. I realized what was holding me back — something much greater than myself.

And in 2014, I’m not going to just show you how I did it. I’m going to help you do the same.

Make 2014 great

My annual review will be coming shortly, and you’ll learn why I consider the second half of 2013 monumental. I want to make 2014 the same for you.

But in order to bring in the new year, I wanted to celebrate the last year of Hack the System by looking at the top ten most popular posts. With posts ranging from buying an island to hosting ESPN SportsCenter, I want to make sure you get one last chance to see any posts you might have missed.

But One Thing First: Let me Help You Find An Accountability Partner

Last year, I discovered the importance of working with other people. Working alone—especially for an extrovert—is a recipe for disaster.

It’s the new year, so lets make this year the best one yet.

If we team up, we can use the powerful psychological triggers of accountability and direct feedback to make massive changes.

Want me to match you up with someone to personally help you stay accountable to yourself?

Fill out this application:

I’ll find you a great match, and you can start making progress immediately.

And here it is: The Top Ten Most Popular Hack the System Articles of 2013


1.) Becoming A Pop Star With Zero Experience: How To Hack The Music Industry In Under 8 Weeks

Is there a system for becoming famous, or is it all random luck? Chart-topping musician Alex Day takes us behind the scenes as he reveals exactly how he was able to climb to the top of the UK music industry without an agent, publicist or manager through identifying and exploiting one of the most incredible hacks I’ve seen.

2.) Why We Bought An Island

Ever since I was little, 3 items have remained at the top of my wish list: A helicopter, an Amex Black Card, and a private island. In 2013, I was finally able to get my island. Here’s the story of how my friends and I were able to buy our own piece of the planet (including a detailed interview I did with Arise TV).

3.) Jumpstarting The Habit Change Process 

Habit formation is one of the most powerful concepts you can master to rapidly improve your life. But how do you form a new habit? Is it enough to just “make a commitment” and hope it gets done? Here’s my research on exactly what works and how to do it.

4.) How To Learn A Language: 5 Hacks To Learning German In 3 Months

Language learning is one of the most consistently sought after skill sets — but many of us are very intimidated by it. Is it true that learning a language gets exponentially harder as you get older? And what’s the best way to learn a new language anyway? Do tools like Rosetta Stone really work? The answers to all that and more by my language-hacking friend Brian Kwong.

5.) Addicted To Distraction: 5 Tools To Help You Fight Back And Finally Focus

I openly admit on HtS that one of my biggest struggles is staying focused and motivated. Luckily, I’ve found some great tools along the way to help me remain energized and on task. Here are five of my favorites.

6.) Three Essential Skills To Success As A Digital Nomad

Some people think that being a digital nomad means flying by the seat of your pants, getting lucky or some combination of un-learnable, obscure skills. Not true. In fact, the three essential skills you’ll need are starting you right in the face. But you’ve probably never even noticed them.

7.) How To Build A New Habit — My Process For Starting To Write 750 Words A Day

Continuing on the habit formation theme — which is one of my most requested of all time — I break down the process for how I’ve been able to integrate the writing habit into my day-to-day life. I’ll also show you how you can do the same.

8.) How To Become The Host Of Sports Center And Discover The Productive You — With James Swanwick

James Swanwick is an anchor for ESPN’s Sports Center and one of my closest friends. In this wildly popular interview, he dropped some serious gems on us and answered questions such as:

  • How can you meet your heroes — and how do you leave an incredible impression on them so they will respect you forever?
  • How can you look for loopholes to your dream career, exploit them, and achieve success?
  • How can you use the tools at your disposal to become the most productive version of you?

9.) How To Make An Article Go Viral — My Video Presentation (In Italian!) From The BiT Tourism Conference

We see viral articles everyday — but we’re so mystified by how they blow up overnight. I’ve been lucky enough to have some extremely viral posts — and here I’ll tell you exactly how I did it. And oh yeah…it’s in Italian (subtitled in English).

10.) Why We Can’t Quantify Ourselves

The quantified self movement would have us believe that the more data we track about ourselves, the more progress we’ll make. Here’s why that may not be true.

Which was your favorite article of 2013? Let me know in the comments.



Clark January 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Holy cow! There’s some good stuff here. Thanks Maneesh! Definitely want to get off to the right start this year.


Noelle Notals January 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Lots of amazing content here! I’m a huge extrovert so it’s vital that I work with others. I would love an accountability partner to make 2014 my best year!


Daniel Reeves January 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm

So much good stuff! Thanks Maneesh. I’m super excited to start wearing a Pavlok. Speaking of which, I’m going to add a placeholder for Pavlok on our list of commitment device apps at


Kimanzi January 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

I’ve really enjoyed the blog this year, such fabulous content!


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