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Monitoring and Evaluating YOU

December 31, 2018

We only have one more day to go before we store 2018 away together will all the other years that have passed before this one. If I may be bold enough to ask you, on a scale of 0 – 10, how would you rate your 2018, 0 being the worst and 10 being the best? Secondly, on a scale of 0 – 10 how would you rate your goal achievement this year? Thirdly, if you were told to change something about this year, what would you change? 

 

Here’s the good news, all those questions I have asked you above are not meant to make you feel guilty, but they are there to help you evaluate the year that has been in a very objective and candid manner. In the business world, we always have tools that help us monitor and evaluate ( M & E) the systems or processes we use to ensure they achieve the company’s objectives. But what about our personal lives, how many people actually have tools in place that help them to do systematic and scheduled M & E as we call it in the corporate world? 

 

Let me share with you an example of what I mean.

 

First and foremost, for this to work, you must have a goal in mind. A very clear goal. I have talked about goals in the past and so I will not delve into that right now. Instead, at the end of this article you can see a list of articles I wrote in the past that have alot of information on goal setting. For now though, for purposes of ensuring we are all on the same page, let me say this; every goal you set must be a S.M.A.R.T. goal i.e. Specific,Measurable,Achievable,Realistic and Time-bound. 

I’ll use a goal I am currently working on as an example.

My goal is to be 75Kgs (Specific) by 3rdFebruary 2019 (Time-bound). I started working on this goal on 5thNovember 2018, which gives me 90 days (Achievable and Realistic) to accomplish my goal. By the time I made that decision to lose weight, my weight was 83Kgs. So I went on a 9-day detox program that was to help jump-start me into a healthy eating lifestyle. Within those 9 days, I lost 3.4Kgs (Measureable). However, I knew I wouldn’t maintain that weight because it was aided by a very strict 9-day diet. So I went onto another level of now cultivating good eating and exercising habits. Within four days, I picked up 2.5Kgs and went back to 81Kgs. I was not really worried about the added weight because I knew what was happening to my body (Realistic).

 

You see, when I started this journey, I had a very specific goal in mind; not only to lose 75Kgs but also to tone my body and fill out certain parts (bootie and thighs) using nothing but exercises. I mean, why go buy some artificial bootie enhancers when you can create your own desired bootie in the gym? Anyway, that’s a story for another day. Going back to my goal, I also wanted to get rid of some annoying upper body fat that has accumulated over the years, making me look like I have some tyres every time I sit. I also wanted to tone my fat arms so that when I wear something sleeveless I don’t look like I borrowed my daughter’s t-shirts or tops, and lastly, I want to make sure that I create a discipline that will ensure I keep that weight off without a struggle. In a nutshell, my goal was not just to trim my weight but to change my lifestyle.

 

This means that I had to come up with an exercise regimen. I had to decide whether I would do the exercises at home or I would join a gym. I also had to work with and around my schedule to ensure that I did what I needed to do on a daily basis. Remember, it is not what you do every once in a while that gives you results but it is what you do consistently that will bear fruit. This was important for me to remember because then I knew I would have to create a practical regimen that would fit into my schedule. This means there are some things I had to cut off in order to create room for this. Lastly, I have incorporated a monitoring and evaluation plan every 30 days just to make sure I am on the right track. 

 

On 29.12.2018, I had gone down to 79.8Kgs, but don’t forget there has been some excessive festive eating. I have still been working out like I always do, which tells me that if I had not gone overboard in my festive eating, I would have been close to my goal by now. However, I am not worried because I still have a full month to go. So at 79.8 Kgs, I only have 4.2Kgs to get rid of in 34 days. I believe that is very possible.

 

Using the example I have given above, how do we do our M & E? Here’s a list of the things I need to look at for me to do an evaluation that is realistic:

 

  1. My  objective – to be 75Kgs 03.02.19 i.e. shed 8Kgs within 90 days from 05.11.18.
  2. Create a monitoring and evaluation program i.e. check progress every 30 days from 05.11.18. 
  3. Activities to be engaged in - working out 5 days a week i.e. 4 days at the gym with a weight trainer and one day jogging.
  4. Resources needed – gym, trainer, right diet, gym wear and time.

 

What have been my findings so far since I started?

  1. On 4thof December I was 77Kgs, but on 28thDecember, I had gone back up to 79.8Kgs.
  2. Why the inconsistency? In my analysis, I realize that I picked up the 2.8Kgs during the festive season. This tells me that I have been eating wrong and I need to monitor my calorie intake versus my calorie burn from now on. 
  3. Another thing I need to consider is how I combine the resources; should I change my regimen and diet so that it is more intense than it already is in order to achieve my goal in the remaining 34 days? The answer is yes. I need to go hard on the exercises and change my diet accordingly in order to balance the two.

I could go on and on about this but I guess you get the picture of what I mean. If you haven’t been doing any M & E for your personal goals, then it is time you start doing so. To start with, go back and check all the goals/resolutions you listed for last year and evaluate them candidly. If you hadn’t written any, then use the remaining few days/hours of 2018 to write out your goals for 2019. Please don’t wait until we are in 2019 for you to write your goals. Be proactive and plan out your 2019 now.

 

To make 2019 a productive year, here below are some hints:

  1. Have at most 5 major goals you want to achieve in the year 2019. The more the goals you have, the less likely you are to achieve them because of time and the one major resource called YOU. Unless you have mechanisms to leverage on YOU, don't have too many goals.
  2. Out of the goals you have mentioned above, identify the most important of them all, the one goal that you know if you were to achieve it, the rest will easily fall into place. This is what we call a breakthrough goal. A breakthrough goal can be defined as that one goal that if completed, it will elevate progress on several other goals at the same time. 
  3. The next part is the planning part. The planning part involves questions like when, who, what, how.... in other words, out of the 365 days, 12 months and 52 weeks of 2019, what will you do when and what do you need in the process?Who will you need in order to achieve that goal, and how do you think they will be of assistance to you? And most importantly, HOW will you monitor your progress?

 

Friends, I can tell you for free that if  you are not willing to plan then you are automatically planning to fail in 2019. This is the part where most people miss it. Like the father of time management, Benjamin Franklin said in this famous quote, “Failing to plan is planning to fail, you can have all the dreams in the world but if you do not plan how you are going to achieve them, then you are already set for failure. 

 

But planning is just one piece of the equation; after planning you now need to execute your plan. This is another area where many people get stuck. In order to move from the planning stage to the execution stage, you need to MOVE. You need to move your mindset from where it was to where it now should be. In other words, you need CHANGE. I know by now I risk sounding like a broken record but for the sake of putting emphasis, please let me repeat this one last time; changing the calendar from 2018 to 2019 will not make any difference to your life if you are not willing to CHANGE from within

 

Friends, if we want to see change in 2019, we must first change our mindsets. We have to activate WORK-MODE in our minds and do whatever it takes to ensure we achieve our goals. We must be FOCUSED, and the only way to stay focused is by making sure we regularly do M & E. Otherwise if we do not monitor and evaluate our progress against each goal, then don’t be shocked when 2019 gets here to find none of your goals achieved. 

 

My advice, create a plan that allows you to monitor and evaluate your progress in four stages i.e. daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. Once you have this done, then you can rest assured that you will achieve a good percentage of your goals in 2019. Remember, FOCUS is key if you are going to achieve your goals. That is why for the #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 book recommendation, the last book I am recommending you read as you end 2018 and start 2019 is a book I had recommended sometime back called, The Power Of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt. This is definitely one of the books I can say has made a huge impact to me in 2018. 

 

As I conclude this last article of 2018 I have this to say, it does not matter how bad your 2018 was to you. What matters is that you learn the lessons it hurled your way, then get the strength to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and walk into 2019 with a purpose. You cannot go back and change your yesterday, but you can do everything it takes to change all your tomorrows. Remember, set your goals, plan how you’ll achieve them, execute your plans, monitor and evaluate them and continually stay focused until you achieve them. If we can all do this, then I believe we will have a great 2019. 

 

This is my last article to you this year. It has been awesome having you as my loyal reader in 2018. My prayer is that you will still be my avid reader in 2019 and together, let’s create a great future for all of us. As I sign out from this year, I wish you nothing but blessings in the coming year. I look forward to meeting you again in 2019. 

 

May 2019 be your year of Maximum Impact.

 

Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.

 

 

PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 30th December 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".

 

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