It is a fact that only 8% of New Year Resolutions get materialized by the close of the year. Let’s take this year as an example. What were your resolutions at the beginning of the year? Which ones have you been able to achieve? Which ones are not yet achieved? And which ones even fizzled out from your head?
Resolutions are broadly categorized into two: the Negative Removals (NRs) and the Positive Affirmations (PAs). “I shall not drink again”, “I shall not go into the night club again”, “I shall not spend unnecessarily again”, “I shall not chase the girls again”, etc are all in the category of NRs. “I shall pass that exam this year”, “I shall build that house”, “I shall marry my girlfriend”, “I shall reduce my expenditure by half”, “I shall reduce my weight”, etc could all be categorized into PAs.
How do you achieve success in your New Year resolutions? No matter your resolutions or let’s call them your plans for the year ahead, here are 7 steps to consider:-
- Set Achievable Targets: In planning for the New Year, set SMART targets. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Your goals should be specific. For Example, I want to pass my accountancy exams by studying at dawn. Measurable could be “I would like to pass by 75% mark”. Achievable is what is within your strength. Don’t set 100% target whereby your current performance in mock exams is only 45%. You could challenge yourself but it must be achievable. What is relevant is of benefit to you and your future progression. It is only you who could decide that. Set time for achieving each step. For example “I want to pass my accountancy exams by 75% in June sitting”. Put a time scale for each of the goals/targets you want to achieve.
- Get the necessary facilities in place: You need logistics to achieve your objectives for the New Year. If you are a student, your books and training materials – audio and video materials are very important. If you are a career person, consider what you need to succeed. A farmer without cutlass or a student without learning materials? You shall surely fail even if your plans are from Heaven. Don’t play with your necessary basic necessities that would make your goals achievable.
- Sacrifice: You must spend time, energy and resources in order to achieve your targets. The saying goes that “No Pain, No Gain”. Commit your time and resources towards the achievement of your goals. This may mean cutting some friends, some family members or even some social events. Avoid the drinking joints and groups. They may delay your plans or later paralyse your energy levels and that you get bogged down and cannot make any progress.
- Simpler smaller stages: Breakdown all your plans into simpler smaller stages and you shall be able to achieve them. Don’t just have a holistic plan; break them down into daily targets, weekly targets, and monthly targets. For example, a student should not just have “I want to pass my accountancy exams by 75% in June sitting”. Break this down into stages like “I shall study 2 hours at dawn, 3 days in a week and study 5 hours on weekends”.
- Like-minded people and mentors: Spend time with like-minded people; those who share your vision and those who are likewise pursuing the same goals. In everything, you need to look up to someone else as mentors and try to emulate them. I studied under John Maxwell Quao (Ghana) and David Jonathan Bishop (UK); both astute chartered certified accountants. I learned a lot from them and desired much to be like them. Yes, it has come to pass not just because I dreamt it but I worked ardently for it! Their supports and encouragements made it possible!
6. God is the Missing Middle: Whatever your beliefs or inclinations are, do not forget God. He is the author and the finisher of your faith. Trust and commit all your plans into the hands of God and He shall prosper them. I am aware I am writing to both Christians and non-Christians. If you believe in anything else or do not believe anything except yourself; I say commit your plans to whatever you believe in. But I and my family shall commit our plans into the hands of the Lord!
7. Review your plans in stages: At any point in time, review your plans, say quarterly or monthly and see whether you are on course. Every divergent move from the plans needs to be corrected at this stage and you are back on track. Spend time to review your weekly, monthly and quarterly targets and see if you are happy with the results. You might need more time to study, for example, or you need more resources (books, materials, teaching assistant, etc).
As this year is winding down, take the steps to make the best out of it.
Watch out for more of these in the coming year and you shall be blessed indeed!