The best New Year’s Resolution
Question: What is the best resolution to make?
Answer: The resolution you can keep!
Many of my friends are talking about their New Year resolutions. By February most of them will have forgotten their promises. Many resolutions are made on January 1st and most fail within a few weeks.
Is there a way to improve the chances of success? What is the New Year resolution for an African entrepreneur to make? Obviously the best resolution is the one with the highest chance of success!
We Africans may not be as caught up in all the resolution hype as our American brothers and sisters, but we still try it out. No matter your situation and your view on traditions and celebrations, the start of a new year is a great time to ‘reflect and set’ relevant and meaningful goals.
The tendency for my South African friends is to set enormous goals like, ‘start a business’, ‘lose weight’, or ‘save money’, but we struggle to keep our promises to ourselves. Overall barely 9% of New Year’s resolutions are implemented (by Americans) according to a University of Scranton study – statisticbrain.com. More than 60% of people in the States set a New Year’s resolution in 2017 and roughly 90% of them failed to keep it! That’s a lot of unaccomplished goals. (I wrote more about how to persist with goals even when you feel like you already failed. Check it out here.)
The trick with setting and keeping goals or New Year resolutions, I believe, is to chose goals that are simple and meaningful enough that you’re sure to keep them. Rather than just saying, “I’m going to lose weight”, I find it better to be definite about my goal and start small. It takes 66 days to set a new habit and it takes at least 21 days to feel comfortable and regular with a new activity. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much unrealistic ambition!
The most meaningful goal I can think of for any entrepreneur and particularly African entrepreneurs is to set a goal to start or keep a journal. Yes, I know its not really a thing Africans do, but we are missing so much if we don’t do it!
Keeping a journal is a step to accomplishing all the other big, shiny dreams you have.
Successfully accomplish a New Year’s resolution or ‘anytime-of-the-year-goal’ by setting a simple journal writing target such as:
• I will write 3 sentences every day, or;
• I will write 1 paragraph 3 days a week, or;
• I will write for 10 minutes every night, or;
• I will fill 3 pages every weekend!
You can still dream your super-amazing goal about your business, weight or money but you start with an easier resolution which you know you can crack before you tackle the harder stuff! And keeping a journal will help you to define your bigger goals more carefully. From, ‘I will get rich in my business’ to ‘I will speak with 5 people by January 31st to validate whether my business idea is viable’. You get what I mean, right.
I have said it before; ‘There is lasting value in keeping a journal’
Your journal lets you:
• record your journey with all the useful lessons;
• get the mess and muddle out of your head onto paper;
• build your ‘discipline muscle’ by writing regularly;
• bring self-awareness and understanding;
• find your voice and define your message;
• and so much more… (Read more here)
The important thing is to start your journal and keep going! If you miss one day, don’t give up, just pick up again tomorrow. The consistent effort is what matters. So don’t hesitate any longer. Find your journal, get your favourite brew, settle into a place without distractions, open it up and WRITE! Dream. Complain. Celebrate. Be yourself!
If you don’t know what to write, start with these questions, ‘What were the highlights for you in 2018? What do you hope for in 2019?’ Or if that’s too hard, just write whatever is on your mind right now. You can even write about ‘Why you think that writing is a waste of time’.
As we’re not far out from the Christmas and New Year Season, here are a few (bonus) topics for you to write about in your journal:
•If there were no limitations, how would you love to celebrate a future New Year?
•What bugs you most about writing, business, work, success?
•What lessons did you learn from ‘failure’ or tough times in 2018?
•If you could magically change one thing in your current circumstances what would it be, and why does it need to change?
Decide today. Set your journal writing goal as the first step towards your success as an entrepreneur in Africa.
PS: You can also keep a digital journal using ‘Notes’, ’Memo’ or another app on your smart phone! Read more about how to keep a journal here.