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To succeed, make yourself a priority in the new year



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By the time you are reading this, it will be less than 72 hours to 2019. Isn’t it amazing? There’s something about newness that’s invigorating. The smell of a new book, the excitement of wearing a new pair of shoes or the delight of making a new discovery. Newness is profound. It symbolises a beginning. The coming of any new year gives people an opportunity to start afresh. That’s why resolutions are made during this time. As you make some for yourself (hoping that you will) here are a few to consider.

In this fast-paced world of today, rest is so unpopular that people don’t know what it means to rest. Therefore, resolve to rest one day a week. On your day of rest, press pause on work and do something that revitalises you. Take a nature walk, sleep a few more hours, read a book or watch a captivating movie, visit friends or go to your religious centre and be inspired. Afterwards, plan the upcoming week and prepare your mind. This will make a difference. Not immediately. Slowly. Deciding to rest won’t easy to do. You’ll have to battle the urge to do something. You’ll most likely feel like you’re wasting time. Nevertheless, if you want to be effective, you must rest. Work won’t fall apart because you rested. We don’t work so that we can rest. We rest so that we can work. Resolve to care about yourself. Care not only about the physical state but your emotional, mental and social state too. Accordingly, in addition to exercising, eating and sleeping eight hours a day, establish firm boundaries to maintain healthy relationships, stand by the principles you believe in even when alone, pray daily and often, take responsibility for your mistakes, celebrate successes, be positive and grateful and also invest in your professional development. This leads to a high quality of life and also enables you to properly care for others when they need it. Remember, a dead tree cannot provide shelter.

Resolve to live within your means. No one speaks sweeter words than a sales agent who wants you to take out a loan, no advertisement is more attractive than the one selling a loan, (nowadays, these ads are ‘dancing’ on web pages) and no word screams louder than the word ‘now’. The convenience of a loan is unparalleled but so is the burden of debt. What is most interesting is that we know this. Unfortunately, we don’t come unstuck. It’s nearly impossible to break this cycle unless a major change is done. This is because we will always find ways to ignore the difficult truths about finances in our lives. The only way out is to find someone that will challenge your thoughts and actions concerning money and mercilessly loop the ugly truth about this before your eyes until you have no choice but to deal with it. Not only must this someone be firm, (s) he must be someone you like and trust enough to talk to them about your financial struggles. Find that someone and do the necessary.

Resolve to serve the community around you. Every day presents us with an opportunity to be selfish. We look at our lives and see how many our problems are that we don’t have time to help other people. We forget that we are part of a community. This year, purpose to engage the community you belong to. Not just for PR but because it is the right thing to do. Go for estates meeting, attend wedding and funeral committee.

Better still, become an environmental ambassador. You might find that the solution to your problem might just be a “hello” away. If only you looked up long enough from yourself to notice.

Resolve to plan. For some of us, the desire to do something first and fast outweighs the need to plan. The “I” in fail represents individuals — individuals who didn’t do their homework. The saying “failing to plan is planning to fail” though an old cliché, its truth cannot be hidden.

Parting shot: Millions of people make resolutions every year but very few keep them. For us to be successful in achieving ours, we must understand one thing about success and Andrew Ferebee, a high performance coach, couldn’t have put it better: “Success doesn’t require speed. It requires slowness.” Let’s practise slowness.

Ms Wanjohi is the founder of Mazingira Safi Initiative.