It’s the beginning of the year which means its time to write down stuff we’ll never do on a piece of paper and give it a fancy name…something like “New Year’s Resolutions.”
Sound familiar? Well, I’ve been doing that for a few years and I’ve learnt a lot that as changed the way I approach New Year’s Resolutions. Wanna find out what I learnt? Well keep reading!
Planning for the next year starts way before 23:00 hours of the night just before New Year’s day. I remember dedicating the day before the New Year’s day to planning for the next year. I had a belief that when I got into the next year, things would magically change and I would go after my goals like a thief running after a guy with money. Turns out it doesn’t work that way. 1 January is an ordinary day. The only difference is that it is an ordinary day with a lot of noise that happens around 00:00 hours when people light up the sky with beautiful firework shows.
Through listening to super organized people who I talked about in this blogpost, I learnt how to plan for stuff in advance. I already started my planning for 2021 last month and will end it just before Feb begins. I am already starting the stuff I intend to do e.g. changing my morning routines. This will help me to see whether the goals I want are realistic or whether I’m just building castles in the air.
Who wants to write about what they did? Nobody. You see, there isn’t much that’s interesting about thinking about stuff that already happened because its in the past. That is where I got stuff very wrong. I focused on imagining about the future (a lovely land filled with yoghurt, ice cream and really good headphones) instead of having a look at the past and identifying what can be learnt. It was revealed to me that the past is a treasure trove – it shows you patterns that occurred before losing and winning. Get to know those patterns and you can control your future e.g. if each time you lose your relationships with your family & friends will be rather sour then it means that you have an opportunity to work on that.
I got to realize why gold is found deep underground. Gold, just like the lessons found in the past is treasure that needs to be dug up, processed and turned into a valuable piece of metal.
The thing about life…the crazy thing about life is that you can’t just Google what you need to do to live your best life. You don’t have a template to copy. You’re pretty much on your own. This discourages very many people and stops them from planning as they say “What’s the point?” This year, I learnt that planning isn’t about having a bullet journal, a cat, a big, black mug of hot coffee and 3 sets of neatly written diaries. Planning is about writing down what YOU want to ACTUALLY DO. Each month should have a general goal, and each week must have activities that bring you close to that goal. If the goal for the month is to have a good time, then the first week will be about one specific section of the goal – having a good time. Maybe you’re an alcoholic and you wanna get to know all the fancy clubs out there. You could spend Monday – Thursday looking for good places to go to and sorting out the logistics and go on a drinking spree during the weekend. If you are a metal head like me, you could spend the next week just looking for good rock music. You spend a few days gathering the music and then have long walks pumping that adrenaline rich music into your ears.
Another lesson that I learnt about planning is that it has to be simple. The more complicated it is, the higher the chances of it not being done. A simple goal like this “Put all socks in the cupboard” will definitely get done.
To wrap it up: Planning is about writing down stuff you actually wanna do + Keep things simple.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all to cherish all the time we have with our friends and family. I had a person who I frequently interacted with and grew to admire his way of doing things because he dealt with all his work in a very professional manner. I remember seeing him in his shiny Mercedes Benz on my way from the local food store. I waved at him and he waved back very energetically and hooted his car very many times. I remember thinking to myself “Where on earth is that guy going because he’s surely in a really good mood” In the afternoon, I received news that he had perished in a fatal car accident. His car was loaded with fuel in the back and when it collided with another one, it burst into flames, burning all the occupants inside. I couldn’t believe that the guy that had been waving at me in the morning was now gone and gone forever. I really learnt to appreciate the ones that are present in your life. You never know when you’ll stop talking.
Research, the Media and Opportunities
Life is full of opportunities. There are people who quickly identify such opportunities and are quick to exploit them. The media is very good at identifying opportunities and exploiting them. I learnt this during the COVID-19 pandemic. The media did what it does best – it manipulated people’s emotions. It took that fear that we all had and amplified it. During this process guess who’s winning? It’s the media. You are going to spend hours glued to television, and reading newspapers. Guess who will be making money during that process? The media. We are too lazy to do our own research so we believe everything that is being said by the media. I learnt that when the media reports something like a pandemic, you need to sit down, do your research and look at the facts. The media will be pushing its own propaganda. You need to look at the facts and come to a sound conclusion on your own.
Where do you get those facts? That’s why you went to school! School taught you research skills. Time to put them to good use.
A haven is a place of safety/refuge. This year has taught us quite a lot about this. You need to make sure that you have yourself a safe haven which acts as your little piece of heaven. Imagine having a tiny, dilapidated room which looks and smells like a dumpster and having to spend 3 months isolated in there. I learnt that you need to keep your space nice and tidy. Make it your little piece of heaven. This doesn’t just apply to your physical space but also to your mind. We have so much rubbish – some from toxic friends, some from the propaganda the media tries to feed us and some from the various outlets of sin that this world has. You also need to work on cleaning your mind.
Spreading Yourself Thin
This year I spent a lot of time and energy going after a ton of things. I did manage to get a few things done, but I could’ve gotten a lot more done if I had focused on just a few things. This reminds me of someone I used to talk to quite a lot when I was still at school. This person was a really bright person who could strike quite spectacular conversations. I really felt motivated after talking to them would feel like moving mountains after a quick conversation. She would always talk about the many projects she had and how little time she had. After being friends for quite a while, I noticed something about her that I never quite understood. She was really good at talking. She had incredibly bright ideas…but when it came to results – dololo. There was virtually nothing. She would have 1000 projects and 998 would just vanish into thin air – its either she would have abandoned them or she would’ve lost interest. She was a clear example of what happens when you spread yourself thin – you accomplish very little. I realized a few days ago that I was falling into the same trap. I wanna change that ASAP!
You are the sum of the 5 people who you spend the most time with. This is a quote that is the most plagiarized among influencers in the motivational category. That’s because it’s true. What it simply means is that what gets into your mind depends on what’s put in there. If you want to become a rockstar, find a few great podcasts and listen to an episode or two on your way to work or on your way to your daily hustle. If you wanna be a missionary, find religious podcasts that best suit your dreams and feed your mind with them. Turn off the radio. Kill that TV. Make sure that everything that comes into your life is stuff that you’ve consciously brought in not stuff that a broadcasting station chooses to serve to you.
You also need to find music that suits your lifestyle. I’m a Christian (a rather weird one, but a Christian nonetheless). I deliberately choose music that goes hand in hand with that lifestyle. In my case, I choose Christian Rock because rock is just awesome.
This year, I learnt that by just changing two things i.e. listening to business/productivity oriented podcasts in the morning and by loading my phone with well-chosen music tracks, the stuff that I think about has completely changed.
Well that’s about it. That’s what I’ve learnt so far! Now head over to twitter @maputiatota and follow me : )
See you next week on Wednesday!