It remains just a few weeks for the year to come to an end and for another one to begin. Many people have started saying things like, “The year has finished, let’s do it next year,” or “This year isn’t good for me, I strongly believe next year will be my year.” You hear different sorts of proclamation and procrastination at this time of the year. Promises and pledges are also made by people to others on what they will do for them in 2020. In fact, the end of the year always comes with the same attitude – seeing the oncoming year as a better one. This is the chief reason behind New Year resolutions.
New Year resolution doesn’t only come at the first day of January. As far as I can tell, it comes from the beginning of the “ember” months (that is from September to December). Immediately we move into the 9th month of the year, people start seeing the year as coming to an end. There is this believe that whatever that isn’t achieved by September may no longer be achievable within the year. A lot of resolutions are actually made around the month of October and solidified in November. December is more like a waiting period for the year to go so that “actions” can be taken in the new year.
I’ve always been against New Year resolution because I see it as a way of restricting and binding ourselves to the limitation of time. I don’t believe we have to set our time to achieving goals in years but in the days and weeks, and, of course, in hours. I always believe that instead of saying, “I’ll do this next year,” I should say, “I will complete this in two or three weeks time” or “This should be done by April next year.” By so doing, I will not look at years but days, weeks and months. The essence of this is that I won’t have to fold my hands to wait for the year to end, as a lot of people do, but continue the planning and the processes that come with accomplishing the set goals.
But that is by the way. Some of us have certain goals we want to achieve next year. You can call it your New Year resolutions or Goals, they still mean the same thing to me. It will be good if you asked yourself whether you’ve been able to achieve the resolutions you made before, or whether you’ve been making the same mistakes all year round. If you have been able to achieve more than 50% of your set goals, that’s a pass mark I believe; but if you are among those that set goals and forget them immediately the year begins, or you decide not to pursue them, or worse, things don’t work out the way you hoped, then this article is for you.
Most New Year resolutions are not achieved for some reasons, which could range from wrong timing to going for things that don’t interest you. Below is a list of some New Year resolutions mistakes people make.
Waiting till New Year day to think up a goal. I’ve talked about this earlier but it’s good that it’s touched again. A lot of people have to wait till 12 midnight on December 31 to think up things they will achieve within the incoming year. Most of the times, people that do this make impulsive decisions and then sit back like Unoka in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and wait for manna from Heaven.
The people that fall within this group most times don’t even know how to go about achieving those goals. Some of them choose to go after things they couldn’t control. And then there are those that may spend the whole year planning on how to achieve their goals.
You don’t have to wait for the clock to tell when to act. If you have things you need to put in place, now is the best time to do that. And don’t tell yourself you will land a better paying job next year because it is beyond your control. This is also the same thing with saying that you will get married next year. Let your resolution be on things you can control. For example, you can decide to acquire new skills that will make you eligible for better paying jobs and you may decide to go out more to meet people in order to find a partner. Those are the things within your power.
You need to plan for the future in order to create a better one. So, start now to arrange your life and don’t wait for 00.00am, January 1, 2020 to do so.
Focusing on end result without acknowledging the processes. A lot of people fail to understand that setting up goals is like embarking on a journey. And to embark on a journey, one has to pass through many processes, meet many setbacks, take a lot road detours, get delayed in heavy traffic, and so on.
There is need for you breakup your journey into stages and celebrate each success. Failure to do this can make you lose hope along the line. It is not to say that picturing the final destination is wrong, but you need to remember what you will meet different forms of challenges as you embark on your journey.
Lack of adequate planning: It is not only entrepreneurs that need to have plan A, B and C. Everybody needs that. Most of the times things turn out the way you didn’t expect and if you don’t have plans on how to set the course straight in such situations, or how to cushion the effects of the hits you get, you will fall out.
For example, when you plan to clear up your old debts, what plans do you have towards raising enough funds to take care of your primary responsibilities within the period? And if you want to go for further studies, how do you plan to pay up your school fees, buy your books and do other miscellaneous payments without starving yourself and your family members? Failure to put adequate plans in place will only end up discouraging you from achieving your set goals.
Going for things you have no interest in. Of course, if you plan to achieve something that doesn’t interest you, you will immediately drop the effort the first time you meet a roadblock. The easiest way to motivate yourself is to do what makes you happy and gives you fulfilment.
A good example of people that make this mistake are those that go for things others want them to achieve and those that follow trends. So long as your mind isn’t in it, it will flop along the line.
Setting up so many goals. I used to make this mistake. The result was that I forgot most of my goals in a matter of weeks and end up doing the basics over and over again – nothing new to add to the list.
The only way out of this is to remember that we are all humans and should therefore go for that which we can handle. So, set up your goals one at a time so it won’t be too cumbersome for you.
For example, if your resolutions for the year include to write two textbooks and a novel, set up an online shop, register and complete your professional exams, sit for IELTS, launch your blog, attend and speak in international workshops and conferences, purchase your PhD admission form, and so many others, you need to write them down and then plan your journey in such a way that your goals will be achieved one after the other. Alternatively, you can pair up two related goals and pursue them simultaneously within a time frame, if you can afford to do so. But if you hope to accomplish all these goals at the same time, you will either break down or drop them.
Whatever you decide, remember that what matters isn’t about achieving your goals within a year, but within a specific period of time – be it days, weeks or years. Don’t limit yourself to time, but use time to plan.