Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohamed concluded an exclusive ‘One on One’ end of the year 2015 interview with Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, with a question on NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS.
The Deputy President, who had during the entire interview session responded boldly and carefully to all the other questions from the TV journalist, technically shied away from the question about resolutions with a promise to think about his New Year 2016 resolution.
That the Deputy President was not quick to answer to the resolutions question was remarkable. Most people generate a poorly thought out list of New Year resolutions that hardly live beyond the 2nd week of January.
Usually, at the beginning of the year, people get the opportunity, excuse, incentive or reason to put together New Year resolutions, goals, objectives, dreams or plans. By the end of January one gets a chance to check out if the resolutions set were more than just thoughts and if they have morphed into something substantial.
Firmness of purpose does not just involve nice-sounding goals that you post on social media platforms such as Facebook, or during appearances on Radio or TV. It should include plans that will change your life; a different way of doing things that will earn you a promotion or a fatter cheque at the end of the month.
A Harvard Professor is noted to have inferred earlier in 2015, that the most common new year resolutions at a personal level the world over include; losing weight, quitting smoking, quitting drinking, taking up physical exercises, getting out of debt, helping others, learning something new, spending more time with family, getting organised and enjoying life more.
It is important to consider the financial and social changes that will need to be made in pursuit of the goals.
If you set out to lose weight for example, you must not lose sight of the fact that you will need to invest time in exercises at the expense of other social and work engagements. To exercise frequently you might need to join a sports club or a gym, you have to buy the right attire (shoes and track suits), you might have to pay a personal fitness coach, buy some exercising tools like a skipping rope, you might have to change your diet or hire a nutritionist to help along, include some food supplements and finally change the wardrobe because of the new body size or shape.
This example helps us to focus on the financial implications of our New Year resolutions, and in the light of the implications mentioned in the example, a trigger for your thoughts on;
b) Expenses - Are they under control? Do you record them for accountability? Do you use budgets? Are you happy with them? What will you change so that you will not stall your resolutions?
The business of setting personal goals is not in the school curriculum and as a result many professionals have a scant understanding of the concept of resolutions. They liken resolutions to good dreams and nice expectations, and hence fail to realise that the process of coming up with any resolution should consider medium, and long-term goals.
A lot of thought needs to go into setting goals. In an opinion piece for Harvard Business Review (HBR), Prof Chamorro-Premuzic wrote “we all have predispositions, character traits, and habits that we have built over many years, and most of our New Year’s resolutions involve breaking these patterns, which is very difficult to do and requires a lot of work… So you have to be deliberate and strategic”.
The improper setting of goals triggers a destructive pattern of behaviour that ultimately squashes them even before they are achieved. These self-destructive behaviours include procrastination, lack of commitment and focus, and failure to be accountable for the goal.
If you discover that you are not making progress as you set out to achieve the goals, then it is time to enlist the services of a life coach, who will guide you through the path to self-discovery. You can also enrol in a personal development program in the area you identify the need to do better.
To actualise your New Year resolutions, you need to put everything down in writing, especially the goals and how you plan to achieve them including a deadline for each step. It may also help to share the goals with a mentor, significant other or your supportive boss.
Remember. “Mental ink fades very fast. Write your goals down and chart them out like a map over the year.” Go for them, one at a time and success will be yours.
Wahome Ngari is the Principal Consultant at Citadel Consulting Ltd and runs the personal finance management program known as Wealth Creation Masterclass. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org