It's a New Year, a new month and a new week. But, is there a new you?
Today is the last day of 2017. If you can read this it means you have seen the last day of the year and that in itself is something to be grateful to God for. Not everyone you started the year with has made it this far and if you see no other reason to be thankful today, be thankful for making it this far.
At midnight today, the transition from 2017 to 2018 will happen. People will mark this transition in different ways; some will be in church singing and praising God with all their might, others will be in bars and other entertainment spots dancing equally hard while getting sloshed and wasted, others will be busy working to ensure everyone else has their fair share of fun and security, others will be sitting quietly at home probably reminiscing about the year that has been, while others will wake up in the morning to find it is already 2018. The way one chooses to mark the beginning of this coming new year is not as important as the state of mind one will have at that point.
What do I mean by state of mind? I’m not referring to whether one will be drunk or sober but am talking about the attitude one gets into this new year with. Will it be an attitude of success or failure? Will it be an attitude of energy or lethargy? Will it be an attitude of hope or one of hopelessness? Your state of mind right from the moment the clock chimes midnight, fireworks across the world go off and the date changes to 1st January, 2018 will greatly determine how your year will be.
Of course one can choose to change the course of their life at any time of the year but 1st January, 2018 is very symbolic because it marks the beginning of a new year. 01.01.2018 will even be more symbolic because it not only marks the beginning of a new year but it will also be marking the beginning of a new week and a new month. Talk about a triple blessing.
If you read my article last week, I likened life to a mountain. When one plans for a mountain climbing expedition, there’s a lot one takes into consideration including dress code, stuff to carry, etc. Similarly, when going through life there are choices one has to make that sometimes may seem unfair and brutal to those who might not understand the “mountain” you are climbing at that point in your life. Like I said in that article, preparation before a mountain climbing trip is very important; the same way preparing yourself in order to have a productive year is very important. I promised you that in today’s article, I will share with you some pointers that will help you prepare yourself to have a very productive and successful 2018.
Before I get into the preparation checklist, let me mention that success is personal, meaning your definition of success might not be mine. For instance, to me success in 2018 may be buying a house by the beach somewhere in the Maldives, while to someone else success might be to get out of debt and start a saving culture, and to another it could be graduating with a First Class Honors in their field of specialization. Each one of us has their own working definition of success at any given time and that is why it is important to have this clearly defined so that there are no grey-areas.
So, what do you need to do in order to set yourself up for success?
- Do an evaluation of 2017 – in order to determine where you want to go, you must first be sure of where you are. Someone once said that “you are where you are today because of every single decision you made in the past”. Now that 2017 is about to be history, you need to do a serious analysis and evaluation of what you achieved and what you didn’t. Is where you are today where you had planed to be when starting this year? What worked in 2017 and what didn’t? Why did it work or not work? What could you have done better if given the opportunity again? Being objective, candid and thorough as you do this evaluation will help you a great deal in making the right plans and choices for 2018.
- Have clearly defined goals for 2018 – goals are simply those things you desire to achieve by a specific period of time. They are the dreams you have in your heart, those things you so want to see realized in your life. Having those goals properly written and visibly compelling you to go after them is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Goals are what will give you something to evaluate at the end of the year so that when you look back on the year 2018, you will be able to see for yourself whether you’ll have made any strides in your life or not. If you’d like to know how to set goals visit my YouTube channel and watch a series of clips I’ve done on goal setting.
- Establish a daily routine – Your dreams will not just happen by themselves. You have to put in a lot of work in order to make them happen. This calls for having a properly laid out plan that shows every little or big action that needs to be taken DAILY in order to get you closer to realizing your dream. Putting your dream on paper is just the beginning. Planning on how you will execute every step until you get it done is the next step, and this involves creating a daily routine so you are not left behind. Your routine can include activities like doing a daily evaluation of your day against your daily milestones, planning for the next day, knowledge acquisition, etc. Create a routine that works for you and make sure you work that routine to the letter. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Disciplined discipline – you will never get anything done unless you have disciplined discipline. Discipline is the bridge that narrows the gap between what you have planned and what you actually accomplish. Without it, you will never get anything done. To quote a certain musical group called Kelele Takatifu, your dreams without discipline to go after them “zitabaki kua story tu”. Discipline will push you to do things even when you don’t feel like. Discipline will force you to take action even when you feel disheartened or heartbroken because things didn’t happen as they should have. Discipline will give birth to other attributes such as determination, dedication, resilience and others. It will force you to stay the course even when you really don’t feel like. It will help you cultivate a culture of consistency without which one will never realize the desired results.
- Tough choices – I’m yet to meet, read about or hear of any person who became an influencer in society that didn’t make some very tough choices and decisions. Again, as brutal as this may sound, it is very important to be clear about what you want in your life and go for it with determination and crazy focus. Crazy focus will require you to shed off anything that is a deterrent to your achieving what you have planned for yourself. Could be activities you have been engaging in that you need to stop, could be associations you’ve been having that need to be severed, could be “baggage” you’ve been carrying around that you need to let go. Whatever choices you decide to make this coming year, they will have repercussions to the overall outcome of 2018. Like John C. Maxwell says, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you”. Choose wisely.
- Feed your body, mind and soul – without you being healthy then it doesn’t matter how good your dreams are. The body, mind and soul combo will play a vital role in ensuring you achieve those dreams. It is therefore important to make sure you exercise regularly and consistently, maintain healthy eating habits, then make sure you feed your mind and your soul with the right content. Read as many books as you can. In fact, I am starting a reading challenge on the 1st of January, 2018 to encourage as many people as possible to start a book reading culture. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for details on this challenge. Like Jim Rohn loved saying, “Success is something you attract by the person you become.” Books will definitely help you become attractive, especially if you read and apply what you read.
There are many things I could share with you on how to prepare for a productive 2018 but then I would end up writing a book. What I have shared above are the main things to focus on but if you visit my blog, you will find many other articles I have written bordering around the same subject. Find time to read them as I know they will really add value to you at this time of the year.
The one thing I really wanted to bring across to you is that nothing will change unless you change something you do everyday. If you get into 2018 with the same habits and practices you had in 2017, those very habits that made you not achieve anything tangible and substantial, then come end of 2018 you will still be in the same place. Be intentional about 2018. Determine to make it your best year yet. Determine to work like you’ve never worked before. Determine to try things you’ve never tried before. Think big and beyond your comfort zone. Like someone said, “If your dreams don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough”. Secondly, “if it doesn’t stretch you, it won’t grow you”.
As I end this last article of 2017 I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for being an ardent reader of this column. I believe there are many other writers out there that you could have chosen to be loyal to but your choosing to be loyal to this column means a lot to me and I do not take that for granted. I trust you will extend the same dedication to me in the year 2018.
Finally, my wish for you this coming year is that you may have new dreams, new hopes, new perspectives, new goals and new aspirations. All in all, I wish you the year you WORK for.
Happy New Year 2018 in advance.
PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 31st of December, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".