9 Steps To Setting Realistic New Year Resolutions

Hey readers! It’s been a while since I’ve personally shared ideas with you on Explicit Success. You bet I’ve missed you, and I’m sure you’ve missed me too. Come to think of it, it’s still a new year – at least it still is for me. But then, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself doling out new year wishes for the next year when you’re hardly done sorting through the freshness of 2020 (from a relative perspective that is).

Interesting still, when you look back 10 years from now, I do hope you’ll be able to give a satisfactory account of where the last ten years went. Without much ado, I’d like us in the spirit of the season to look, not only at what’s going to make up the rest of the year but just as importantly, the rest of the decade.

I’ll spare you the spiel of plans, goals, purpose, bla bla bla… The sort of things you must have heard countless times and are still going to hear countless times more. This is not saying there is anything wrong with those. In fact, I strongly urge you to explore those paths thoroughly so as to have a fulfilled life.

But then, to every grand plan for victory, there is a very fine nuance of strategy/tactic that the General must give earnest heed in order to ensure he maximizes his army’s chances of victory. So, how do you plan your new year resolutions in such a way that you can smile so confidently at the end of the year?

1.  Equip yourself

These are counter-intuitive moves like a retreat and refusing to engage the enemy in certain instances – these are still part of a strategy, albeit the less obtrusive aspects of it. On another level, you may also consider the bottom-up approach – the army is made up of units, brigades, corps and companies, each of which has soldiers of different competencies.

Each soldier is further equipped with munitions, from the fine rifle to the millimetre-scale bullet. So, here’s an interesting conundrum – a General is as vulnerable to that bullet as much as the footsoldier; we might say the bullet is no respecter of persons. If all you had was a bullet, can you still make a kill and win? So, get the bullet that matters.

I wager that David was the only one on that battlefield that day that believed he could actually defeat Goliath. So I ask again if all you had was a bullet, can you win a war? You may have to figure out or discover what to do with a bullet to stem the tide of advancing adversaries.

3. Gather momentum

I’m going to take this idea further by presenting it in another dimension – from a scientific perspective. In this regard, I’ll say that in warfare, momentum, not mass, is what matters. These are little steps taken to achieve the big picture. To make this clearer, I’ll give an elementary description of the two key terms used in the above expression.

Mass is just essence all by itself while momentum is the essence in action. Everything that exists has an essence (mass) and as a result, could be said to have certain capabilities characterizing the reason for its existence.

But until essence actually takes on the reason for its existence (momentum), it will be of none effect. You need to genuinely have a reason for taking certain steps in order to have an internal motivation to keep you going.

4. Show Gratitude

How in the world could something as banal as gratitude be of any consequence when what’s to be achieved requires a high level of proactivity?

But I tell you guys, being grateful is an invaluable tool for having hindsight that is impeccable. Gratitude helps you focus on the past in such a manner that it serves as a launchpad for approaching future acts with a balanced sense of self-appraisal.

You see, there’s hardly any way you can appraise yourself without yielding to the overly strong temptation to get stuck in the rut of regret and disappointments. You tend to beat yourself up for the expectations you didn’t get, opportunities eluded, and even repress those events that render you perpetually ashamed of yourself.

However, gratitude, while neither denying nor glossing over our shortcomings, helps restructure your perspective. You’ll come to realize the true value of the seeming inconsequential for making great impacts. In fact, whatever you are not grateful for, is something you can’t reap the full benefit of.

Gratitude is the ultimate eye-opener. It helps you come to really appreciate what you’ve got in your arsenal. And like David, until you focus on what you’ve got, you’ll rather be fighting your Goliath on his own turf. When you count your blessings, you will realize that your pastures have always been green. Until then, you’ll be too jaded and colour blinded to recognize it.

4. Start with God

Consider for a brief moment the story of David and Goliath. Goliath was a war-hardened veteran of an unusually large stature but David was just a shepherd boy whose experience with warfare amounts only to defending his father’s sheep against wild beasts. His only weapon was a sling, no more than a toy; and here he was, all alone in the valley of Elah confronting an entire nation’s nemesis.

What does this have to do with warfare? For crying out loud, what does this have to do with the new year? What does this have to do with the decade for all I care?  Just stay with me, you’ll find out in a bit… But if you have suspected what it might be, you’ll do well to stick around to find out if your suspicions were right all along.

The whole army of Israel had been verbally beaten and constantly harried by this burly bully for 40 long days but up comes David with just a sling, a bag full of stones, no experience under his belt.

In fact, he had no form of sophisticated armour to hold up against the angry Philistine who felt highly insulted by Israel for sending out a boy against him.

Goliath thought the Israelites had completely lost it to have sent their worst and weakest, a mere runt, to taunt him with stick and stones. I’ll say no more as history tells us how with just a sling and a stone, a God-believing David racing towards the battle line (high momentum!) brought down the Philistine champion, to the consternation of both Israelite and Philistine armies. 

And that’s exactly where I’d like to have you be. This little opening in your reasoning is the all-important gap. I need to sow the seed of an ’empowered moment’ – a moment infused with just enough momentum to help you breakthrough in your consciousness.

5. Focus on what matters in your life

So remember that you’re still both the General and the soldier and you’re in for the battle of your life. This battle is going to last more than a decade and the only bullet you can expend at any instant is called ‘the moment’.

Thankfully, the only things you’re going to be ‘executing’ are just ‘goals and resolutions’. I will briefly share with you some difficult steps (yes, I just said that! If it was that easy, it’s probably not worth it) If you’re going to pluck the fruit from a tall tree, you should definitely aim for one on the tallest branch.

Only think about how you can deploy the seemingly inconsequential mass of a moment with enough momentum to bring down that lumbering, looming behemoth called your ambition.

6. Discretization

I take my cue on this subject from a talk given by Stephen Duneier at a TEDx event in Tucson, Arizona about a couple of years ago. It’s a little old but it gives practical, tested steps to follow when confronted with intractable goals. So here is this humongous task that leaves you with the look of ‘kuku kee me, I simply can’t do it. QED’.

Here we go again; these you-can-do-it-all-guys trying to tell us some new stuff so they can hold on to our precious attention – I can even imagine you rolling your eyes right now (LOL). But then, just hang in there for another moment (there is that word again) and check this out for a bit; it is some kind of money-back deal… If you’re paying, that is {winks}.

As I said, this is about discretization.

In fact, how effectively we discretize our tasks will directly determine how efficiently we organize our lives (booyah!).

The way I understand it, I think Steven (in the video) was trying to say that it is not enough to break down your ambitions into goals and our goals into tasks.

It is more efficient, maybe finicky but worth it irregardless, that we go the extra inch of even breaking tasks into atomic bits. One thing this does for us is that it helps us eliminate whatever excuses related to complexity and thus justify not acting. In other words, if a baby can chew it, you have absolute excuse not to down it in one swift sweep.

Here is my challenge – break your tasks into what can be done in an instant, a moment. That book is not small enough to chew in chapters or in paragraphs, you’ve got to go the extra inch of breaking it down into words – everyone can read a word in a second, except you’re trying to pronounce pneumonoultramicroscopisilicovolcanoconiosi (Phew! That’s actually the longest English word in the dictionary; trust medical practitioners to outdo themselves every time). And if you’re dyslexic, even words can be broken into syllables, and syllables into letters.

Whatever the case,  there’s what’s small enough for everyone to be able to deal with in one moment and no more.

7. Avoid some folks

May I shock you with this – folks don’t discourage you from pursuing grand ambitions because they are unrealistic, they actually do it because they find them so intimidating and would rather deny the feasibility of those dreams than confront their own timidity.

Worse still, folks may just try to shut you down for fear that you might actually succeed at something they never had neither the temerity nor the imagination to dare to achieve. Of course, people are not going to say it with a straight face that these may be the reasons for trying to ‘talk sense into you’.

In fact, most people are not even aware of the underlying process behind their aggressive, resistive stance. Irregardless, you owe a duty to yourself and many others to whom your success is going to be a step, to protect and pursue everything your heart dares. Enough talk about other people, let’s put you in the spotlight.

8. Achieve Cohesion

Lastly, I’d say let today flow into tomorrow. Towards the end of last year, I finished a quartet of novels by Brandon Sanderson in the Stormlight Archives.

The first book in the series is titled ‘The Way of Kings’, and the central theme is built on these sayings –The most important step a man can take is the next one; the most important thing a man can say is that I will do better…

You see, he wasn’t just talking about escaping from the moment to live in an unseen dream; he was actually advocating building a bridge starting here, with the full intent of landing there. Now the ‘there’ is as much in the future – 31st December 2029, as it is ‘there’ – the day after you get to read this piece (except you’re reading this on 31st December 2029).

The basic concept is this: there is a ‘here’ before there is a ‘there’ and the overall success of your life will be determined by how well these are blended. Once again, this isn’t merely living with tomorrow in view, it is possessing the higher awareness that weaves months, days and years though separate, into a whole piece concretely conceived with an undivided identity.

I think that was too wordy, but what I’m trying to say is that we must possess the rather important ability to scale up moments in an unbroken sequence of steps that lead right up to the head of the monument we’ve built in our heads as the crux of our quest. You must be able to see the associations in the past and on that basis, establish connections that will preserve the future.

9. Have alternatives

I mustn’t stop without saying that David had to accost Goliath with five stones when he only needs one to get at the giant’s head. History has it that David’s men also had the privilege to confront and kill four other descendants of these colossal monsters.

We see then that the young man wasn’t being unnecessarily superfluous, he was staking the moment as a beachhead for securing further (alternatives) and total victory down the years.

Might I also add that your dreams are the stuff of fairy tales (not literally, but you get what I mean…); no one ‘in their right mind’ would advise anyone to pursue those ridiculous fantasies.

My tactic (as significantly inspired by David Duneier) is to break the bulk of the work down into bits (mind you, not just tasks!), really tiny bits that – something in the order of bullets, not a whole ‘magazine’ (you might wanna look that up with particular focus on what it has to do with guns).

Conclusion

I’m going to conclude this journey in as few words as possible. Gratitude shifts your perspective so that you attenuate the negatives of your experiences and amplify the positives in such a way that you position yourself for subsequent opportunities.

(Ultra)discretization helps you to increase our chances of actually achieving set objectives by unpacking and chunking tasks in unbelievably manageable packs. Cohesion, however, is like the matrix that brings it all together. It is also the mechanism with which we couple present circumstances to future realities.

Please accept these resolutions as my gift. Wishing you a decade of victories…

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Post Author: Ikeoluwa Ogedengbe

Ikeoluwapo loves to paint vivid ideas on the canvas of young minds by engaging the rich, deep and poetic language that captures even the wildest imagination. He is passionate about education - mind you, not just marking time in school but the lifelong interaction with people and the environment that makes one imbibe and absorb information from myriad sources and in the process evolve and become something of a phenomenon by transformation. In summary, he believes that if you want a learning experience, you've got to create it... He is creating one through Explicit Success and he invites you to take on this adventure with him.

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