Written by Irine Nyanga
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“January 2009 is here. Can you share your New Year’s resolutions?” I remember asking Paul, who was seated next to me as we welcome the big day 3 years back in an indoor celebration with mutual friends.
“Well, I want to start up a business; I want to go back to school, I want to settle down, I want to quit alcohol (one thing he had forgotten was that the glass he was holding at that particular time contained a double tot of viceroy). Talk of a typical Kenyan.
First forward, its 2012 on the 2nd day of January around noon, I find Paul online on Facebook and I being a typical Kenyan that I am, find myself asking him a similar question. To my surprise, Paul never quit alcohol, he is not even in a relationship, yet he should be at least two years in marriage, and he is nowhere near going back to school, at least he started up a small-scale business which is running at a loss and he is thinking of closing it down. Need I say his New Year’s resolutions are exactly the same as the ones he shared with me in 2009; the only difference is that marriage is now top in the list.
Well, it’s that time of the year again and you just like Paul, and every other person in singing the same song, you want to get rid of the old bad habits and pick new ones. This is the time of the year when you feel as if you have to turn over a new leaf in life. That time when you misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence you need in re-inventing yourself.
Habitually, every first of January is designed as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in life and the time when you must make all your new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party season to the wanting January burden.
Now before you sit down and start making your endless list of I want…I want…I want…Remember not to vow to make huge changes that will be hard to implement. That way you will be setting yourself to failure.
The first important tip towards succeeding in implementing the resolutions is to make one step at a time. For instance, if you want to change your lifestyle, don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It will not work. Just pick one area of your life to change and begin with that. If it works well, go ahead and pick a second one after a period of time. The small changes you make one after the other will give you a chance to be a whole new you at the end of the 12 months. Try this, I bet you will find it more realistic.
Planning ahead should be top in your mind. To succeed in any thing, you always have to plan prior. Research and prepare ahead to ensure you have the resources required when you need them. Be it quitting smoking ,taking up a weight loss exercise, or marrying, you have to get down to books or internet for the right information then get everything ready so that things run smoothly when you get to the work of implementing.
Before you get to work, think of the challenges you might face and make a list. Once you identify the problems, you will be prepared and ready to work out ways of coping up with them when they crop up.
It is very wise to pick a specific date to begin the change. It doesn’t have to be the first day of 2012. Pick a day that will be convenient with you, a day when you will be well-rested, settled and when your mind and body is ready to take up the challenge. For instance, if you have kids, you may want to wait till February when you have cleared the school fee and every kid is back to school.
Once you pick a date, be ready to go for it. You should consider the picked date your big day. Make a commitment and mark it on a calendar or write it on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet, in your car or somewhere you will see it regularly. Get psyched for the day prior. When the day comes, do it. Never postpone anything when you can do it at that particular time.
As you start implementing the resolution, never forget that you might fail. In case you find yourself sneaking a cigarette or sipping into a glass of beer, don’t hate yourself, make a note of the triggers that led you to fail and learn from the mistake. If it is a particular group of friends who lead you to sipping into a glass of beer, am afraid you might consider staying away from them or being firm. Its time you surrounded yourself only with people of positive influence lest you fail. Perseverance is the key to success. Try again and keep trying, that way you will succeed.
Once all is said and done, remember to motivate yourself through the whole process by planning a reward. Small rewards can be a great encouragement to keep you going through the hardest days. You may plan to reward yourself at the end of every week or after two weeks. You can later change to monthly or at the end of the achievement. You deserve to reward yourself after successes so don’t take it for granted.
Finally, dear reader, or should I call you a fan, whatever the case, remember it’s your life and it’s you to make your own future. So, if you had written senseless list of resolutions, think again, re-read this article and make a more realistic list. Now, take your pen and a notebook and start writing your way to success. All the best from me!
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