January, week one resolutions:
This year I am going to run more often, get fit and in shape
Totally done with unhealthy food
I will be more religious and in touch with God
Reading more books, is a must
I will love my mother-in-law
Week 2, reality:
Wonderful, I’ve been running regularly. Running late and running from my problems. Also, I am getting in shape. Round is a shape
Removed all unhealthy food from the house. It was delicious.
Hey! I got VIP tickets to the Justin Bieber concert!!!
At least I started reading a book. Facebook that is.
No wonder they named a chili masala after that woman. Mother-in-law spice. Makes sense.
And that’s pretty much how it goes, year in and year out. I picked up a copy of the Oxford dictionary just to make sure that the definition of “new year resolution” wasn’t defined as “casual promises made to self, during the first week of every year.” In fact, according to studies, only 8% of people stick to their new year resolutions.
So how do we set goals and achieve them? Simple. Remember to set SMART goals- specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. When setting a goal, determine something that is realistic, actually attainable and within your control. In the same breath, don’t undersell yourself, if it’s possible and within your control, you CAN do it. Have a list of goals you want to achieve and picture where you want to see yourself in the near future.
Now comes the most important part- drafting a road map to attain these goals. Think about this logically. If you say to yourself that, this year you want to be a better person or that this year you want to excel at your career, what does that even mean? This is one of the main reasons we never seem to get down to achieving our goals. We set a destination with no map nor any indication as to where or how to get to this destination. Imagine somebody invited you to a wedding and said “It’s at the hall,” ya and then? You ain’t getting no free biryani unless they cough up the details. We know we want to go to the wedding but where is it and how do we get there?
You have got to break it down for yourself. For example, if you want to lose ten kilos by the end of the year- great. You have a goal. But how will you do get there? “Drinking more water” or “Eating fewer carbs” isn’t a solution. Break it down further in the sense that in your first week you want to finish one bottle of water a day, by week two you’d like to increase that to one and a half bottles. Where you plan to replace all bread with rice cakes or fruit and have a diet plan in place. When you cheat and let your hair down during the weekend, you vow to exercise for 20 minutes extra during the week, specify what exercise you plan on doing. “I need to at least have lost xxx kilos by xxx month.” That is how you work towards goals. You need to completely break it down for yourself, have smaller goals for each week, perhaps even each day and monitor your progress regularly, reward yourself for satisfactory progress and have a game plan where you fall short.
Never get disheartened when your results aren’t up to scratch or if you didn’t meet your expectations and think it isn’t worth pursuing the goal anymore- that is the worst thing you can do. It’s been stated that it takes 21 days of repetition to form a habit. Keep going. We often look at how far we have to go instead of looking back at how far we’ve come.
Start small. Remember the most magnificent trees standing today were once nothing but little seeds. If you’re a student, plot the scope for the semester, plan how much you would like to cover for each day, making provision for days lost out, days for resting and unforeseen circumstances. Talk to your teachers and lecturers when you don’t understand something, sort the problem out head on and not on the day of the exam. Have a goal for the results you want to achieve on average. If you feel demotivated, get a change of scenery and study somewhere else, plan to work with people who are positive and whom you work well with. If you want to mend broken relations, remember that change starts with you and not the other person. Start by not showing your true colors (just kidding), ask for forgiveness from people you want to make amends with. Remember that there are three parts to apologizing- One- I am sorry, two- this won’t happen again and three- how do I make it up to you? It takes a lot to come forward and do not be despondent if the person doesn’t initially co-operate.
Don’t set pie-in-the-sky standards for yourself. It leaves you feeling inadequate. Feeling like you’re good enough can have a plethora of positive benefits such as increased confidence and happiness, and feeling like we’re not quite there yet is often self-inflicted. So how do we stop it? Do you know of the book of rules defining what “good enough” is? Never heard of it? Exactly. Because it doesn’t exist. YOU determine what good enough is and YOU set the standards. Don’t look to other people as a benchmark. All of us have strengths and weaknesses that offset one another. Your friend might be super wealthy but have no people skills whatsoever, your colleague might be beautiful but have no sense when it comes to running a business. You also have aspects in which you excel at and others in which you fall short. It balances off. You are the only person you need to be good enough for and trying to be like someone else is a waste of your unique self.
May this year be filled with success, blessing, peace, and upliftment for us all. May we fulfill our goals, excel and reach our best potential. And to all my fellow procrastinators, let’s nail these goals…..tomorrow.
Written by: Safiyyah Sujee, Bi-Weekly Writer, #mygirlsquad, Trainee Chartered Accountant