By Anne Mbugua
I am willing to bet that around 90 percent of the New Years’ Resolutions we make do not come to fruition. And I am a perfect example of this. Last year at this exact moment I wrote down one of my “resolutions” (call it what you want: your goal; your to-do for the year, whatever) and like so many other well-meaning people, I got off to a great start. But somehow, time got away from me and here I sit staring at the calendar and thinking how fast time flies.
So what can we do to stick to our goals this year?
Step 1: Choose 3 powerful words as a focal point
Break down your goals into three powerful words. Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works, explains it like this; Create three guiding words and use these as representations of three major focuses for the coming year. The concept is simple enough; think of three words that sum up what you want to change or work toward in the coming year. Instead of a goal like “get better grades at school” you might choose a word like “Up” or “Sky” to represent an overall commitment to bettering your performance in school.
So with Brogan’s advice, I chose these three words: Give, Abundance and Explore. I chose these because, as a member of an NGO called Asilinia World Changer Initiative, my responsibilities toward achieving our goals revolve around these three words.
- Give: Empower as many teenagers as I can by giving lessons and life skills
- Abundance: Believe in every teenager’s potential as they hold the key to the future
- Explore: In order to reach as many teenagers as possible I will need to recruit as many mentors as I can, and this will require an explorative spirit.
Of course, your key words may be different from mine because your aspirations and key activities to reach them will be different.
Step 2: Build systems around these goals
As James Clear of Entreprenuer.com says, “The problem isn’t us setting goals, it’s the failure to put the necessary systems in place that will deliver those goals.” How do you build systems around the three words?
You can use mind maps (a tool that makes it easier to remember things as they are summarized graphically) to determine what you will require to support your goal.
Once you have determined what tools are required to achieve your goals from the word go, you should set them up. With support systems in place, the road to achieving your goals is clearer.
Step 3: The house better be burning down
So here I am. My three words are chosen and I’ve successfully built systems. It’s of absolute zero profit for you and I to carefully select our key words, and to spend time and energy building the right systems to support our chosen three, to then let someone (or something) steamroll it to oblivereens.
Therefore, we must create boundaries and keep them. For example, if I am scheduled to go to a Primary school every Saturday for life skills training for the next month, I will not let my lovely friends derail me with coffee and lunch dates. Instead, I will invite them to join me (hence I will have done something to contribute to Explore) or if they say no, I will ask them to reschedule the date. I trust they are my true friends so they will understand that Give is a very important word for me this year.
In other words, the house better be burning down for me to allow interruption. And that is simple discipline.
Together we could demystify the belief that people have now come to accept as our reality that resolutions, goals, to-do lists, what have you – are made to be broken, by following these simple three steps.