Almost two weeks on, the euphoria of staying awake through the last hour of the last night of 2017, ushering in the first minute of the first day of 2018, would have somewhat faded away. The excitement of being together with dear friends and families, would have come down a notch or two, if not more. The vivid awesome display up above the sky and the reverberating loud booms that followed it, may seem to be a distant memory now. Memories of the fun experienced and the joy felt, celebrating the New Year that is now 2018, might have moved an inch or two by now, deeper into the dark recess of the mind.
As the sun rose and set as it has always done, over the days after the 1st of January 2018, the euphoria, excitement, fun and joy felt throughout that day, may have receded for some and might have even been forgotten by others. The reality of the things that needs to be done, waiting to be done or should have been done ages ago, may start setting in. The regrets of not having attained the things that were planned to be achieved in 2017 or those carried forward from 2016, may start weighing in. The helplessness felt at not being able to achieve the lofty goals that were set last year may start sinking in. Worse still, that sinking feeling of not having done enough to complete that one or few things, that was the focus of much, if not all of 2017, is something that can engulf one in, easily. It is easy to drown oneself in self-pity and become paralysed, if allowed to, when looking back on what was not accomplished, in 2017.
The reality is, helplessness, regrets, sinking feelings, self-pity and being paralysed about those that we did not yet achieve in the past year, does not have to be what we carry into and through this brand new year that is 2018. See, that is the beauty of the month that is January. It provides us an opportunity to start off with a clean slate. It gives us the time needed, to make use of the lessons learned from past errors to achieve greater victories, over the 365 days of the year. It allows us the chance, to build a stable platform from which we can climb and scale greater heights, over the 52 weeks of the year. It leaves us with the avenue to pace ourselves and move slowly but surely towards inevitable yet glorious victories, over the 12 months of the year. Come January, we have the space of one entire year to achieve anything and everything that we want to achieve, in 2018.
Simply said, just as surely as the radiant sun rises and sets every single day, regardless as to if anyone actually noticed it or not, we too will be able to achieve what we have set out to achieve in 2018, with the right mindset and tools. To begin with, we should have a vision of what to accomplish and then come up with the plan on how to achieve it. If the destination seems to be looming large and overbearing, break it down to smaller parts. A wise person once told me, to think big and start small. Just as how one feeds little children small and bite-sized portions, so they manage to complete their meals, so too should our plan be, with simple and achievable milestones along the way, until we reach the final destination.
Where we have many goals to be met in 2018, start of with the simpler ones and pace ourself for the long run to meet the less simpler ones. Another alternative would be to prioritise the goals and focus on those that gives the most benefit. My former boss, would always advise my team and I, to go for the low hanging fruits. They are not only quicker and easier to harvest but it also makes it faster to show results with. These quick and easy wins will allow us to accomplish the milestones along the way. More importantly, they boost our confidence during the long journey to achieve the seemingly difficult yet attainable goals. The fact is, there are always profitable low hanging fruits in our life, if only we allow ourself to seek and see them. Don’t ignore them just because they don’t seem to be as worthy as the ultimate prize at the end of the long journey.
All goals, requires planning in order to attain them. The more complex the goal is, the more meticulous the planning may be. It is as simple as driving from one place to another. The drive becomes smooth and straight forward when we are clear and certain as to where we are heading and how we are going to get there. It is only when we are not sure of the actual destination, do we become lost and end up late or worse still, skip the destination altogether. It is not for nothing that Benjamin Franklin is attributed to have said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. Determining clearly what we want to achieve and then planning out how to achieve it makes the goal that much easier to attain and seem so much closer to being attained.
Last but not least, is to simply keep track, look and reflect upon the progress of the pending goals and even those that we have managed to accomplish. Some of them may have been easily attained. Some may have become even more challenging to achieve. Some goals may even no longer be a priority and can therefore be canned. Vital resources can be redirected to other important goals. The thing is, if we don’t take a look at where we are heading from time to time, we may not accomplish much or be spending more time on things that aren’t important. At the same time, soak in the excitement and joy of having accomplished a goal and use it as a boost to work on the remaining ones. Take heed of the lessons from past misadventures and missed opportunities, to improve on how we go about working on completing the slightly more challenging goals.
This year, I am going to take heed of the advise from the wise man and my former boss. I will think of big goals but start small as I pace myself along towards them. I will go after the low hanging fruits, as I scale perilous heights is search of my goals for this year. There will be the usual ups and downs on the journey, filled with twists and turns, which life simply seems to be always fond of doing. With planning, re-planning and periodic reflection on what I am doing and where I am going, achieving most, if not all my goals for the year, seems to be that much easier now, than it seemed to be a year ago. I, am glad to say “Welcome January”, so I can start of yet again with that clean slate. With God’s grace, I will achieve what I am meant to achieve, this year. So too, shall you. Trust yourself, put in the effort, allow God to guide you along the way and experience 2018, as a great year.