It starts on the 31st of December every year. Where I grew up, you will have people who have not swept under their beds in a whole year choose to do it that day. The compound where I grew up, that is the day we will wash the whole compound because “NEPA will give us light and water board will let water flow”. People get to wash their whole houses, wash clothes, even go as far as not having their baths till around 11.50pm because they’ve got to enter the new year with a “new body”. People who haven’t been to church all through the year decide to ” start the year with the Lord”. (My younger sister asked me “How can I spend New Year’s eve outside the church?”). At midnight, tyres are burnt on the streets and run around the fire, some naked, and we called this ” Ichu afo(driving the year). Raise your hand if you can identify with this practice.
After these parades, you hear people make comments like, “This year, I’m staying off alcohol totally”, ” This year, no womanizing “, ” this year, this my pot-belly must go down “, etc. Everybody is pumped up with a form of energy we do not understand. We feel like we have been empowered with abilities way beyond us. But this is only the beginning of the journey. One week into the new year, you see Uncle Bob at the bar and you ask, ” Uncle warrapun? What happened to our No Alcohol New Year Resolution?” And he goes, “Nna Mehn, body no be firewood o. Man no die, man no rotten”. So I ask, ” Why New Year Resolutions?”
I started 2015 with no goals and plans (I think I set goals towards the middle of the year. I am not advising this), I just told myself to LIVE(my first post for 2015). I ended the year looking back and grateful for some giant strides I took. I discovered the reason New Year Resolutions do not work. New Year Resolutions do not work because everybody does it because everybody does it. Wikipedia even said it is a “tradition”, hence, it is something that has to be done. If you do not have one, you are abnormal so, we all join the band-wagon and away we go. So, this year, I became intentional in my goal setting (I still do not have any Resolutions). Here are some steps I took in writing my 2016 goals (You can try it too and we could give ourselves feedback on the progress made).
- Be purposeful: I said one of the reasons people’s resolutions fail is because they do not know why they do it. If you are doing something without knowing the reason you are doing it, you will most likely not succeed in that. If the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. So, ask yourself, “Why do I want to set these goals?”
- Choose a theme to run with: This helps direct your goals. My theme for this year is Personal Development and it helped me work out how each goal will help me achieve this personal development and what aspects of my life I needed to develop.
3.Write out your goals: Even the bible said: “Write the vision and make it plain; that they may run that read it”. writing down your goals makes them more tangible and something you can easily go back to for any necessary adjustments.
4. Break each goal into plans: This helps the goal to stop being one ambiguous task; it makes it more achievable. one of my goals this year is to get the perfect body (wink wink). I broke down the goals into : 1) Download a workout plan app. 2) Work out every morning before I leave the house (If I am not able to work out in the morning, I make up for it in the evening). 3) Monitor my diet. etc. These plans become daily steps towards achieving a set goal.
5. Set time boundaries: These time boundaries make the plans measurable. In my No. 4 goal, for instance, I have, spending at least 10 minutes daily working out (I started this on 28th December and I have been a faithful servant. Hehehe).
6.Be accountable: Get an accountability partner. Someone who can ask you how far you have gone. Some goals are things you may not want to share with someone so you will have to be your own accountability partner here.
7.Celebrate yourself for every goal achieved: (This is the part I like. I like enjoyment jare, not my fault) This is a way of tapping yourself on the back for a job well done and this will encourage you to d better.
Now, with all these said and done, life is too short to take everything too seriously. Be disciplined enough to follow through with your goals but do not kill yourself if you fail at any point. Pick up from where you stopped, not waiting for a new year, new month, a new week to start again. Every day could be your January 1st, after all, it is the same 24 hours and the same sun that shines that day.
2016 is a promising journey. Can we take it together?
Please drop your comments on any advice or something I may have missed. We can all learn together.