New Year: Time to achieve


IT is now 2019, in fact the fourth day of a new year.
And it is time to set some new goals for yourself, and for those you are responsible for – your family, your sports team or your students in school.
Actually, if you are smart, you should have done that before 2018 ended.
If you have not, do not be too worried, it is the first week of 2019 so you can still pen some goals.
I will be talking about personal goals in this article, but it is hoped that you can get some ideas and apply them appropriately to your family, team or class goals. (In other articles, I will discuss other topics to help you improve yourself this year.)
I would like to suggest a theme for you this year: The year of achievement.
However, do take note of this: 2019 will not be a year of achievement if we do not set goals.

Different goals to set
Last year, about the same time, I wrote several articles (in Weekender) about setting goals and working towards achieving them.
The goals (yes, more than one goal) can be in different aspects of life – as in you improving your academic performance (if you are studying), improving your work habits and moving up in your firm (if you are an employee), or learning new skills in a hobby, like drawing cartoons or playing the piano.
I mentioned then that I had this wish to work on my piano playing skills and bought myself a cheap electronic keyboard at the end of 2017 and started on that. I used a music book I had from years back as well as learning from tutorial videos on YouTube.
(I will return to that goal a bit later.)
A goal of yours this year can be to do with your health, as in abstaining from taking alcohol or tobacco.
A goal can be financial, as in your setting a target of how much you want to save this year.
A goal can also be to do with your relationship, as in how you relate to other people. In some cases, bad association prevents us from achieving our personal goals, and it is time to say “No” to some people.

Write down those goals
I suggest you buy a 2019 diary and pen those goals in it.
Do not just think about it, write them.
And you can write them under different headings, like:
Academic goal (improve my mathematics marks)
Career goal (improve my attendance record)
Hobby (improve my guitar playing skills)
Health goal (abstain from alcohol)
Savings goal (save K8,000 by the end of 2019)
Relationship goal (learn to say “No”)
As you can see, you can have a number of goals and under various aspects of your life.
Throughout this year, work on each of them.
That was what I urged people to do last year. You can do the same this year too.
In this article though, I would like to address the two main groups of people who may be reading this – a student and an employee. I am aware though that a successful villager also sets goals.
The vanilla farmer will make plans to continue taking care of his vanilla plants or increasing the size of his garden before the season starts. Making plans is part of setting goals.
The same goes for the fisherman who will be harvesting sea cucumber (beche-de-mer). He has to plan to maximise his harvest when the ban on harvesting is lifted.

The basics in setting and achieving goals
Here are some basics steps on what you can do to achieve your goals.
It does not matter which goal you set, be serious about it and work towards achieving it. You have 12 months ahead of you to do that.
Some plans may be accomplished within three months, others may take the whole year – but strategise and go about actioning your plans as part of the process.
I was first made aware of a simple plan many years ago by our former governor-general and author, Sir Paulias Matane. The simple three-point plan to help you become successful (as in achieving goals) is:
1. Set your goals;
2. Plan how you will achieve your goals; and
3. Be committed and give your best shot, day in day out, in implementing your plan to get from where you are to where you want to go.
Writing down your goals in a diary is step 1.
Do some thinking and plan as to how you will go about doing that. That is step 2.
Then give your best shot daily, week after week, to get to the point where the outcomes show that you have achieved what you set out to do. That will be step 3.

Students should set goals 
Some of you reading this article are students.
It is my hope that you do better in your studies this year. Be a bit more serious in them.
Draw up a plan on how to do better in subjects that you have been performing poorly in, starting from your very first day in school.
If maths is your problem subject, do not ignore it. Do the right thing and get tips on how you can do better in this subject. As someone who has taught the subject for years at different levels, I have urged older students (Grades 9-12 and beyond) to spend one hour a day on maths work.
(If you are a younger student and can do the same, you are on the right track.)
It is the best way to master concepts learned in this challenging subject. (Actually, it is the best method to master skills in most subjects. Even those doing art or music will follow the routine. The more time spent on a set of skills daily makes one become a better artist or musician.)
If English is your problem subject, get tips from your teachers and change the way you are studying it.
Read more books and do more comprehension exercises, as well as keeping a diary and writing in it regularly. I know of a female student in Grade 10 who scored 20/20 in her English Written Expression Exam last year.
I am of the view that her school diary had a major part in her getting the perfect score in that national exam.
The school diary is an initiative that her school has where each student is given a diary and is urged to keep and pen details in it over the year. The students’ entries are checked by their class teacher weekly.
That girl’s diary was well-kept and the entries were very detailed. The result: She excelled in her exam.
The will to persevere and be successful must come from you.
Learn possible strategies on how to become successful and go about implementing those strategies this year.
I have given you tips on how to improve your marks in two key subjects, maths and English, but you can apply the same ideas to other subjects also.

Employees should set goals
If you are an employee, your goals would not be the same as a student.
Your goal may be to move from one level in your job to the next. Make this be the year that that happens.
You may also need to improve your attendance record.
Additionally, you may have even thought about saving to buy a banana boat and outboard motor for your family. It is time you take out your calculator and do some simple maths. (Yes, I mean it. Money-conscious people always have their calculators beside them to do calculations to see exactly how much money is going out or coming into their hands.)
If you want to save K8,000 by the end of the year, how much will you save each fortnight? (Go ahead – use the calculator to see!)
What else can you do to save a bit more to reach that target? Can you make something to sell on weekends to increase the amount you would be saving – like, selling homemade cakes or cooked food?  You have to plan.

Watching your health
Some of you, both students and working people, need to do something about your health.
You may have habits that you know are not right. It is time to change.
You must stop drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. I have said this many times before in other articles that I have written.
Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes place extra weight on your expenses. They are also bad for your health. You know that and it is time to take control of your life.
Let us live our lives as best as we can, as in taking care of our bodies.

Long-term or short term goals
Some of your goals are short-term goals. You can achieve them in one year, or in six months, as in a student improving his maths marks.
Other goals will take more than one year. I shared last year that one of my goals in 2018 was to work on my piano playing skills. I could have started on those skills in 2017 but I thought that I needed to focus on another hobby of mine, which is writing scripts.
So, at the end of 2017, I bought a keyboard and have been working on those skills this year.
The serious piano student is one who spends more than one hour daily working on his skills.
I am not that serious in that I could not spend that amount of time daily to work on the skills due to my work commitment. Therefore, I spent an hour or so in three days of the week.
I have a long way to go yet but I am happy to say I can do stuff on the keyboard that I could not do at the start of 2018. I have achieved something and I will continue the effort in 2019.
That is a long-term goal.
Another example of a long-term goal is saving K20,000. If you break that up into four years, the goal becomes “I must save K5,000 in one year”.

Writing a speech
Let me now turn to something else.
Towards the end of last year, we received news that Miss PNG Leoshina Kariha was crowned Miss Pacific Islands, the second time for a Papua New Guinean to be awarded that title.
I did not watch videos of the pageant, which was hosted in Tonga, but I learned and was impressed that Kariha won a good number of awards during the pageant to eventually win the Miss Pacific Islands title.
Those who win the title are not just awarded for their physical appearance, they are also interviewed as in being quizzed about issues and things.
Towards the end of last year, during a school’s graduation, I listened to a good number of speeches and was amazed by how a few students delivered theirs.
The Miss Pacific Islands event and student speeches caused me to think about the skills involved in writing a speech and delivering it properly.
If you have not enjoyed a given speech, it is likely that the person delivering it did not write a good one, or did not deliver it properly.
On the contrary, if you have enjoyed a speech, it is possible that the person who was delivering the talk had mastered the art of writing and delivering a speech.
So, in the next couple of articles, I will share with you some tips on how to write a good speech and delivering it effectively.
That may help you achieve another of your goals in 2019.

  • Next week: Writing a good speech. Thomas Hukahu is a freelance writer.  

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