Happy New Year! When I was younger, I fantasized about counting down till the clock struck midnight and then kissing my beau! However, as a good Naija Christian lady, I usually cross over into each year in a house of worship, praying and singing praises… which, to be honest, is something I quite enjoy.
Something I don’t always enjoy, however, is making my plans for the New Year. Every year, I write this long list of my plans for the year, and with some I struggle, while with others I soar. I started enjoying making my resolutions when I realised that “New Year Resolutions”, goals, prayer points or whatever were not magical wishes but issues that I actively had to work towards. You see, if one of your plans for the year is to get a better job, you can’t just sit on your pretty behind and twiddle your thumbs while time flies by – you have to intentionally work towards it.
Here’s my checklist for making achievable plans for 2017:
1. What do you want?
Remember that when it comes to setting goals, it has to be something that you desire, not something that’s in vogue or something your mum wants. Part of the motivation for achieving goals is desire. You need a crystal clear vision of what you want and why you want it.
2. How will it work?
Okay, so this year you want to have a tiny waist and fat bank account. It ain’t up to Santa, so how do you plan to achieve this? Start making concrete action plans on how you’ll eat healthier, exercise more and splurge less this year. If you don’t make plans, then don’t blame anyone but yourself if your plans fall flat.
3. Tell a friend
Now note that I didn’t say tell your whole village or announce it on Facebook. Instead, pick an accountability partner, someone who you know has your back and can give you that little push when you get weary. It might be your mum, dad, mentor, sibling, BFF or someone else who has proved his or her mettle. Choose a friend who will help and encourage you when things don’t seem to be working out – certainly not the kind that will laugh at your first sign of failure and say “You see yourself? When you are trying to overdo”.
4. Set deadlines
Personally, I’ve found that when I have a deadline, I work harder and keep my eyes on the goal. A good example is a bride trying to lose a few stubborn pounds for her big day. Her goal is her wedding date, and she works towards it with fixed determination. In the same way, if you give yourself a realistic deadline for a particular goal or plan, you will find it easier to get it done and dusted. For instance, instead of planning to lose weight in 2017, you could plan to lose 7kg before Easter, and set out a weekly timetable of how you plan to achieve this.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
It’s so easy to look at your contemporaries and think how much farther ahead they seem to be, especially with social media constantly showing us flashy highlights of other people’s lives. Just remember that life always looks more glamorous in pictures. So stop looking at “your mates” and focus on yourself. And if you stumble along the way, as we all do, pick yourself up, learn from the mistake and keep forging ahead. It’s not a competition. Everyone has their own race to run, and when you attain your own personal goals, you can give yourself a big pat on your back.
6. Stay on track
If you’re as restless as I am, it’s so easy to start one thing, then stop halfway and start on something else. This is a bad habit, as you’ll only end up with plenty of unfinished projects. While multitasking is fine and sometimes necessary, it’s also important to maintain focus in order to see things through. For example, if you have a list of fifteen goals, rather than working on eight major ones at a time, why not take on two or three at a time and keep working your way through your list? You’ll find that this way, you’ll achieve more in less time.
What are your tried and tested ways of achieving your goals for the year?