At the start of each new year, I like to purchase a new notebook to write down my thoughts and goals for the year ahead. However, this year, I wanted to do things differently – after all, 2020 was an extraordinary year and I most certainly am not the same person I was when 2020 started – so I did not purchase a new notebook and decided I would give myself room to change and tweak my goals as the year progressed. Like many people, I like to reflect on how my year had gone and set new resolutions for the year ahead, however, 2020 had it’s own plans and did not allow me to work on most of my goals. Being a creature of habit, it is always not easy to make the changes that we all desire when we set our goals for the year and most fail by April. As I reflected and thought on my goals, I realised that there was one key ingredient missing when setting these goals over the years – patience.
I am result oriented and before I start out on a project, I always want to picture the end result – because of this I constantly live in my head imagining the result and therefore failing to enjoy the process. I realised that this applied to my resolutions and goals and quit because I do not afford myself enough room to enjoy the journey and celebrate the result when I get to it. When I spoke to my friends about this, it seemed they too suffered the same predicament and with some, they had given up setting resolutions all together. The disappointment of not meeting their goals was sometimes they did not want to experience and did not want to put any unnecessary pressure on themselves, they had decided to not set any resolutions and just enjoy their lives. I do not disagree with not setting any resolutions – I think people should do whatever makes them happy, however, having said this, growth is hard and to not make room for growth can sometimes be detrimental to us.
One area I always seemed to set a resolution was my weight – over the years, I always set a resolution to lose weight, however, I never seemed to hit my goal. The one time I remember losing some weight was when I was going off to university and decided to try the Atkin’s diet. I stuck to it for about 3 months and saw some results – however my reason for doing this was superficial and I had not reflected on why I was doing this nor had I researched what diet and exercise was good for me. It was not long before I became frustrated with my slow progress and ended up quitting. You see, when I set my weight loss goal, I could already see my slimmer frame – but I had not given much thought to the process and the sacrifice required to get to my goal. As the food became blander and the exercises harder, I did not take the time to reflect on how much effort I needed to put in to reach the end result and that failing one week did not mean I had failed completely – so I chose the easy way out like most people and quit the plan all together.
Fast forward a few years, I was able to get to the weight I wanted while reflecting on my health – I wanted to be healthy and the by product of a healthy lifestyle was me at a healthy weight. I researched extensively a diet plan that was beneficial to my health and one I knew I could follow. The more I did my research on what I needed to do to live healthily, the more one diet plan stood out to me – I finally realised that it was no more a diet plan but a lifestyle choice I needed to make. I enjoyed the journey as time progressed and had a much more healthier lifestyle due to my new choices and my understanding of what these choices meant for my health. I was also patient with myself as time progressed that some days I would fail – because we all have bad days when you simply want comfort food or for most women, your hormones would interfere and make your food choices for you – it was okay to have these days and it was absolutely fine to continue with your new choices when you are in a better place mentally and emotionally.
The same applies to when we set goals to learn a new skill, make responsible financial choices, start a new business, embark on finding love – whatever your goals are, remember these three things;
Reflect – Ask yourself why you are setting these goals and ensure that the reasons are for your own growth and benefit. We are responsible for our growth and the only person, who’s opinion should matter is you. If you are not hurting anyone in the process, then you only have yourself to satisfy. So take some time to reflect on your goals and write down steps on how you can achieve them making sure that you tweak the steps to suit you and the pace you would like to work to achieve them.
Research – Whatever goal/resolution you set for yourself this year, I am sure someone out there may have already attempted and have found ways of doing it. Take sometime to read/listen/watch what other people have tried and then tweak it to suit your lifestyle and personality. There is an old African saying I love, “Wisdom is not found in the head of one person only” – speak to people who have already done and excelled in what you are aiming to achieve and get advise so you can prepare for any challenges ahead.
Wisdom is not found in the head of one person onlyAfrican Saying
Patience – Be patient with yourself, growth is painful and can sometimes require several trial and error to get to where you desire to be. We quit most of our goals because we are so hard on ourselves when we fail. The definition of resolution states that it is a firm decision to do or not do something – this then means that you need to be very determined to do or not do what you have decided. But as previously stated, we are creatures of habit and to break or take on a new habit requires discipline and patience – give yourself time and when you fail take a break and reflect. Remember, you don’t have to do it all in this year – so be patient with yourself.
I hope this helps with your growth plan in 2021 as we all recover from the year 2020 – remember that as hard as the year had been, you survived. You have come this far because you are strong and whatever obstacles are ahead, be confident that you can overcome them. I wish you a happy New Year and I continue to urge you to share your experiences to encourage the change we all need.