3 lessons from 2019
It is January 2nd 2020 and I am seated here waiting. Because human beings are in the habit of not keeping time even for a new year.
I am seated in my favorite artcafes on earth. The one at the Westgate, there is something about the lighting, the mellow semi-dark ambiance that gets my creative juices flowing
If you have caught on, by now you might realise that there are so many directions in which this writing may take. The gift of ambiguous beginnings to writers.
I am torn on whether to write about my musings on my awe of the woman I have become or on why I always catch the right fire to work on my new year resolutions, then somewhere along the year a fire catches me and burns my momentum.
I am trying to figure out how it is that I can immortalize my new year resolutions into little deeds that lead to splendid, maybe not even remarkable but tangible results that I can look at in 2021 and think oh, what a wonder it is to be able to plan a list of 10 big hairy audacious goals and to be riding on the current of achieving them..
You know before this I had just eaten this glorious black forest cake (no, dieting is not on my new year resolutions), with a vanilla late with almond milk (I discovered in 2019 that I am lactose intolerant and shortly after I have come to the lovely realization that I am almond milk tolerant), but nothing holds down the body of a good coffee like a cow’s milk. Maybe it is in the sheer size of almonds and cow, you surely cannot expect both to embody coffee in the same magnitude, but I digress.
I was also reading a book called 3 Women, (a book every woman should read). One of the goals I had in 2019 was to read an astonishing 50 books in that year. A band wagon I joined after seeing some of my virtual role models devour at books at an astonishing rate. Obviously, given that I have a full-time day job, it meant that if I fell short of anything less than 4 books a month, I would be completely incapable of achieving this goal. So, I started with Becoming. Now, Michelle Obama is one of the most iconic women on earth and hence her story in a book is one I realized I cannot rush through on the race to hit a 50-book target. I read this book like a high school set-book, underlining the lines that I loved, the paragraphs that resonated with my being. I read this book in the way you would read a surprise love letter from a long-desired lover, slowly but surely. So, in March of 2019 I was still on to this book. Obviously, I did not read 50 books in 2019. I read 15 books. The fundamentals lessons that failing at this, “read 50 books in 2019,” taught me about setting any goal at any time of the year are these:
- Clarify on why this goal is very important to you. Demystify, the higher purpose that achieving this goal will have. I set this goal because the what of it seemed like a great badge to have on my shoulder. Obviously, this was only enough to get me started on Becoming and finish at 15/50 books.
- Set goals that are realistic. For this simple reason, if you consistently set unrealistic goals, you will consistently fail leading to a lot of lethargy and self-loathing, which are the real enemies of making momentum and progress. The thing that I realized is that the people who read 50 books a year, probably have drivers that chauffeured them to work (hence do not spend at least 2 hours a day commuting to and from work, most likely run their own enterprises hence dictate their schedules, and even more, might be full time students, so knowing fully well that I had 5 hours a day of free time assuming I worked 9, slept 8 and took breaks for 2, there is barely time for me to read 50 books.
- Detail your goals to the last letter. This is what I should have done:
- Listed the 50 books I wanted to read
- Quantified how much time it would take for me to read each of these books.
- Scheduled the required hours into each day of the 365 days.
- Get a systemic structure or person to hold you accountable. In the course of 2019, I joined a book club and I read 11/12 books that were read in the book club setting.
Knowing all these lovely fundamentals, I will break down all my 10 key goals into little bits that I will track throughout the year. I will document a lot of them here and God willing in 2021, I will be smiling all the way to progress over perfection.
Cheers to setting achievable goals for this decade.