Happy New Year. I honestly wish you another season of joy, success and good health despite whatever challenges may come your way. Yes, I said challenges because every new year we get so excited at the prospects of resolutions and change that we forget that sometimes, things don’t work out the way we anticipate them.
Anyway, it’s another new year. And as usual, many people I know have been excitedly making new year resolutions. Hmm, I’m not judging anyone o, but you see, the problem with resolutions is that they are very hard to keep. Sometimes we make those resolutions like: I will not drink alcohol again, I will exercise every day, eat more healthy food, be a good friend, etc. But often, we fall by the side after a few weeks. The reason, I think, is simple. We make resolutions but we don’t have plans. Why not try something new in the coming year. Instead of making resolutions try making goals.
Okay, before you dismiss this post as another motivational article, I want to remind you of something you’ve probably already read or heard of. It’s called the SMART goals principle. I don’t remember the Management expert who coined it, but I do know that SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. I also know from personal experience that using this method will help you narrow down your goals for the next year. Instead of saying vague things like I’ll improve in my work, be specific about what area you want to improve on. Like, do you want to be more outspoken in your office? Do you want to study for a course? Are you aiming for a promotion? Specificity is key to success.
Secondly, it helps to make goals for each aspect of your life. That is, separate your life into smaller units and make goals for each of those. For example, set financial goals, spiritual goals. Health goals, relationship goals, etc. By doing this in small bits, you have a greater chance of success.
Thirdly, write down all these goals. Having them in your head is a no! Because we are so busy you’ll forget and fall back into old habits. Write them down, pin them on a wall where you can see them daily or, write on a book you use frequently. That way, you are always mindful of where you want to be.
Set a realistic timeline. Let’s say you want to save 1 million naira at the end of the year. Look at your salary/income and be honest about how much you can save a month. Think about your daily habits too, do you spend too much on food? Clothes? Can you reduce those spending? Be honest about how much reduction you can make. By so doing, you have a clear path towards meeting your goals.
Finally, be open to failure. If life was easy, we’ll all snap our fingers and get what we want but it is not so at all. As you plan your goals, give room to allow for failure. It’s okay if you cannot attain each of all your goals. What is important is for you to try. Wake up and try every day. If by the end of the year you didn’t reach your goals, you still made some improvements and improvements will eventually lead to your goals!