The new year brings with it a myriad of emotions, feelings, and anxiety and above all, hope. There is no other time of the year when people are more optimistic. People hope that the new year brings with it good luck, success, health, peace, financial breakthrough, academic success, and prosperity. People pledge to improve on themselves, to become better, drop bad habits, or drop the bad company and even become better spouses and parents.
While being optimistic is very crucial for humanity, it is even more important to plan how to achieve these promises one makes, otherwise, the resolutions will turn out to just hot air: it rises and disappears in the horizon. Like most new year resolutions, the promises are to self and to those closest to us. We solemnly promise to stick to our resolutions but after a couple of months, we forget, ignore or simply just give up. It is for this reason that I insist on putting them in writing and pinning them on your vision board. They then become a contract to follow. Once put strategically where you can see they become a constant reminder.
Couples and families are not that different either. They need to sit down and plan for the year ahead together. This helps to hold each other accountable for the tasks to be done as well as to motivate each other. I believe when couples make the resolutions together, they will work harder to achieve them, and this strengthens their bond. Here are simple steps to follow:
Make a list of the things you are grateful for: Together appreciate what the previous year has blessed you with. Start with self and then your spouse, your children, and the community or family. If you run a business appreciate both the customers and the employees. An attitude of gratitude is the most fertile ground on which to plant your wishes. If you faced challenges, appreciate the lessons learned from these obstacles.
Evaluate the previous year’s goals and see which ones were achieved and which ones were not. The ones not achieved should be carried forward to the new year unless they were timebound and have become obsolete. In the latter case, you just drop them.
From your visions and goals set previously, pick those that you deem most important or urgent and need to be embarked on immediately. These could be annual projects such as studies or training courses to help you get that promotion or to start that business, or even that weight loss program you have been putting off for years. Although some of the goals will be individual, every spouse is part of the other and also a witness, a motivator to help the other get better. Common projects include buying a house, or a lot to build on, acquiring a new vehicle, going overseas for vacation, or having children or acquiring a pet. Date nights, to me, are an essential part of my annual planning and like including this item in our annual plans.
Put the goals in writing and indicate the starting date and finish date. This keeps you focused on the fact that time is essential if you want to achieve your goals and realize your dreams. Discuss in detail how you, as a couple, envision yourselves after the coming 12 months, and which activities should be undertaken in each of these 12 months. Remember to add the commensurate budget required for each project. If you have children who are five years and above, involve them in this planning project and ask them to set their own goals. This teaches them as early as possible the importance of making resolutions and following them through. Explain to them why it is important to put them in writing.
Create room for evaluation each month so that you can see if you are still on course. If any changes are needed, or due to some critical circumstances you are unable to see your goals through in time, indicate that on the schedule and remember to add the new dates of completion.
Every prosperous business or government or society does this. It is called planning strategically. Successful individuals do the same. So should you, if you want to move from where you are to where you want to be, as a successful couple. Remember that failing to plan is actually planning to fail, and wishes, dreams, and visions are just desires in your mind. To make them come true, you need to transfer them to the action department in your life. Resolutions mean putting down the plans and the costs of your visions and goals while realization means putting work to your resolutions.
Happy New year everyone!!.