We often make the mistake of thinking that we spend time, but in truth, time is what spends us. Time is infinite, while man is finite. For years, decades, and centuries before and after we are alive, the sun will continue to rise and set, the seasons will change, and time will continue to be. Before environmental concerns and global warming, there was time. Before the big bang, there was time. And if we all choose to relocate to Mars, there will still be time. It does not get old.
Humans, on the other hand, grow and age. We count our time on earth in days, months, and years, with the beginning of each heralding new opportunities to make better decisions, achieve the dreams of our childhood, get an education, do something meaningful, find our true self and purpose, etc. It is not uncommon for people to look back at the end of the year at the landmark activities and in activities of their lives with hopes of doing better next year. It is called many names – personal development, self-evaluation, reflection – all leading to resolutions to be better, do better.
The challenge, however, lies in the timing of the process. Nobody starts reading for an examination while seated in the examination hall, but that is how we treat these resolutions – we often wait till January first to set our new year goals. In between researching for ideas for family Christmas gifts and setting up the house in preparation for the season, taking the time out to reflect and set new goals might not be feasible, which is why it is best to reflect early and concretize your new year goals before the hustle and bustle of the festivities begin. Find below some reasons that might spur you into establishing those goals early, in fact, starting today!
Focus for the new year
Establishing new goals early helps you to chart the direction of what your year will look like. It helps you make focused decisions, instead of random hit-or-miss decisions that might not be agreeable towards any specific end. It is possible to do a lot, yet achieve little, and vice versa. By establishing new goals, you chart the best course to start that degree program, get the certification you need for the career change you always wanted, start investing in products, routines, and practices for the weight loss journey, etc. For instance, a look at online stores reviews shows that people who plan ahead of their change in diet before embarking on it record better successes than those who just jump in without a plan. Go figure!
It keeps your dreams and goals measurable
When you start to plan early for the new year, it helps you to set up strategies and pointers to measure your success in each area of your life. This is key in a world where it is easy to get sidetracked by all the glitz and glam of social media and other peoples’ projection of their lives, which can cause disillusionment and discontent for an individual that might feel unable to level up with his/her peers.
It helps you identify (and steer clear) of distractions
By planning early, you can take the time to reflect on those actions and activities that easily derail or distract you from your goals and objectives, and identify them so as to place a red flag on them. For instance, is there a particular friend that always seems to come around only when you should be studying? Who does not have your time during your off period, but demands your attention when you have examinations? Establishing your goals early will help you identify such distractions, whether they are intentional or not, and address them appropriately ahead of the new year.
It helps your long-term plans become manageable and realistic
Starting early to set your goals for the new year helps you break down the long-term goals into realistic and manageable steps that will not overwhelm you. Before you step into the year, you already have milestones that can push you towards your desired end, therefore you enter the year confident of what you need to achieve, in baby steps. This is particularly important for guarding against throwing out the resolutions by February first. Establishing your goals early also gives you more time to develop and tweak your plans to perfection, taking in a lot of variables, before the new year.
It keeps you motivated
As you look back at your little successes throughout the year, you get motivated to keep going and checking the boxes of your goals. But that is only possible if you have drawn up the plans or have boxes to check, in the first instance. Sometimes we are unaware of how much we can achieve until we look back to see how much we can achieve.
The new year is around the corner, but there are still three weeks left before 2021. It’s not too late to start that plan. Do not try to make the plan in your head – that’s not how it works. Writing it down (in your diary, on your computer, somewhere) will make it real to you. Keep the fire burning, and remember that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. So, start the plans early!