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Making 2018 your best year ever.

Dear reader, I wish you a happy New Year. I thank you for being a committed partner in this weekly rendezvous. It is my prayer that 2018 will be your best year ever.

Making 2018 your best year ever should be your goal. But that starts with having resolutions for the New Year. A New Year presents an opportunity to have new dreams and new expectations. It provides a chance to chart a new course. It offers the prospect of rewriting your history and setting yourself on a new path. It is a chance to get better and be more productive and successful. The New Year provides an opportunity for self appraisal and a chance to jettison progress-limiting behaviours so as to embrace success-enhancing ones. The New Year offers a chance to have a new life.

The New Year is a blank cheque. A blank cheque holds two possibilities; something or nothing, depending on what is filled on it. As observed by Alex Morritt, an American writer, whether a New Year is a new chapter, a new verse, or just the same old story depends on us because we write our stories for the New Year. Therefore, for those who are yearning for a better experience in the New Year than what happened in the receded year, the way to go is to have resolutions.

Hence, at the beginning of a New Year, most individuals and organizations look beyond the failures and disappointments as well as the victories and successes of the past into the promises and potentialities concealed in the belly of the New Year. Buoyed by the hope that the future holds great promises for them, they set new targets and goals for the New Year hoping to improve on the results they got in the old year.

How to make New Year's resolutions work

According to Northcross' study, 46 per cent of those who make New Year's resolutions actually achieve their target. This means about 54 per cent do not achieve their set target. This is less than 50 per cent success rate. Why is this so? Why do more than a half of those who make resolutions at the commencement of a year fail to live their dream?

Here are some ways to make a success of your New Year's resolutions.

Draw up a plan

Making resolutions without a corresponding plan of actualization will make the resolution a mere wish. Success doesn't happen by happenstance; it is a product of careful planning. To ensure the transformation of your resolutions to reality, have a plan. The plan shows what to do at what time. With that you are not just burning energy but you are making the most of your resources to get your desired result.

Work the dream

Resolutions fail often because many people are unable to move from the level of contemplation to the level of action. As good as resolutions are, they do not have self-fulfilling powers. The success rate of a resolution is a function of the work done to make it happen. So, after making the resolution, the next thing to do is to go to work on it.

There is no alternative to hard work for those who want to record success. The harder you work, the luckier you get. The harder you work the more talented you become. The harder you work the more competent you become. The harder you work the nearer you get to achieving your target.

So, after setting your target, do not fold your arms and expect a miracle to happen. What is next is for you to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Nothing turns up until somebody turns it up.

According to Newton's first law of motion, also known as the Law of Inertia, an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by another force. Your resolutions is the object at rest, it will stay on the same spot unless it is acted upon by an external force. The external force is your hard work. It is your hard work that will set your resolutions on the path to actualization.

Be consistent

According to a research finding, the zeal that accompanies New Year's resolutions starts waning by February because many people expect to see instant result. While it is possible to have instant result of a resolution, that is usually not the case. The result may not be evident until long after the year started. The key, therefore, is to be consistent at pursuing the set dreams. Aristotle says we are what we repeatedly do. So achieving success with your resolutions requires being consistent with the pursuit. Consistency is the secret of many successful people. This is because consistency has the compound interest effect, which is described by Albert Einstein as the eighth wonder of the world. When you consistently do a thing, it gets to a point that the outcome will be mind boggling because consistency builds momentum whose result far outweighs the effort that goes into it.

This is what Jim Collins refers to in his book, Good to Great, as the flywheel effect. When you keep at an activity, the effect at the initial stage may not be anything to write home about. But as you keep at it consistently, there is a dramatic turn, 'The momentum of the thing kicks in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn. You're pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. A thousand times faster, then ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. The huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum.'

With consistency, there is no task that cannot be accomplished.

Look beyond disappointments

Many people lose the urge to pursue their resolutions because of disappointments with their plan. But disappointment is a reality of life. Things cannot always go according to plan. There will be times when carefully thought out plans will fail. There will be times when unexpected disappointments will take place. There will be times when the surprising failures will happen. The initial reaction when any of these happens is a feeling of disappointment. But that should not be the final destination. Disappointment should not be seen as the end of the road but as a bend on the road. To get the result that you desire, you have to go beyond the point of disappointment to the point of goal actualization. The longer you stay on the point of disappointment, the longer it will take for your goals to become your reality. So, when disappointments happen, re-strategize and get back on course. What lies ahead is far greater than the disappointment that happened.

Stay focused

Focus is essential because it does not give room to distractions. When the totality of one's energy is focused on what is important, success is guaranteed. Contrary is the case when one is unable to put all of one's energy in one direction. Focus is likened to diffused light. Diffused light has no effect. But concentrated light, when passed through a magnifying glass, can burn a paper or even a fresh leaf. When light is more focused, it becomes a laser and laser can burn steel and destroy cancer. So, with focus resolutions are easy to accomplish.

During an inter-communal war, a king was captured by another. The captured king had no doubt what his penalty would be; decapitation in the full glare of all and sundry. He resigned himself to fate and awaited his appointment with death. Then, his captor, determined to subject him to further ridicule, promised to spare him if he could take a glass filled to the brim with water over a distance of 100metres without spilling any bit of the liquid. The captor then lined up a side of the course with those who were to hail the captured king while the other side was filled with those who would boo him as he moved with the water-filled glass.

Knowing that he had a slim chance to cancel his rendezvous with death, the captured king decided to take the gamble. He was able to take the water-filled glass over the distance without spilling any part of it. His captor was surprised and asked him which of the two groups that lined the course motivated him to achieve the feat. The captive told him that he did not pay either of them any attention because he was focused on saving his life, his eyes were fixed on the finishing line; he was focused on hitting the finishing line without spilling a drop of water.

Hitting your target becomes an easy task when you focus on your resolutions.

Engage in self appraisal

According to Murphy's Law, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. The antidote to this is a resolve to stop things from going wrong. With respect to resolutions, one of the ways to guard against failure is to have self appraisal to determine whether you are still working towards the realization of the resolutions or not. If time is attached to the plan, it becomes easy to find out whether you are making progress towards the actualization of the resolutions or not. As observed by Socrates, an unexamined life is not worth living. It is only those who keep assessing themselves that keep making progress.

Last line

Making 2018 your best year ever starts with having resolutions for the New Year and making the necessary sacrifices required to actualize the resolutions.
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Jan 1, 2018
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