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5 New Years’ resolutions for 2021

Welcome to 2021. Today, January 4th, marks the first work and school day.  The question on everyone’s mind; “What can we expect from this year?” But before we answer that question, we must first talk about the elephant in the room – 2020. 

Because of Covid-19, the year 2020 will probably go down in history as one of the most chaotic years of the 21st century. It definitely takes the crown thus far. The year has tried the human spirit to the maximum. You deserve a pat in the back just for making it out in one piece.  

Is it worth it?

A good many people insist that 2020 was a sign for things to come in 2021. As a result, many decided to give up goal-setting altogether. I happen to know one too many people who decided to forego this crucial self-development routine. So I thought to take action. 

In writing this article, I sought to answer the very question most of us are too scared to ask: ‘Is it worth it?’

The answer, given by a bullish optimist, is a very plain (and I fear, rather unhelpful) ‘of course it is!’ It is my honest belief that every new day presents us with a new dawn: every New Years’ an opportunity to start afresh. 2021 is no different.

Look, I understand 2020 has been a sucky year. And I understand why you are cautious. It would be unwise not to be cautious about 2021. You are allowed to start by dipping our toes first before diving in. But dive in you must. Even if, and God forbid, Covid-19 does not go away anytime soon.

See, for all its horrors, Covid-19 has taught us a very important lesson on personal responsibility. Separated from friends, family, and colleagues, you simply had to learn to stand on your own feet.

A vaccine gives us hope, but Covid-19 might not be leaving us for a very long time yet. There is already talk of a new strain of Covid-19! 

I am not trying to scare you. All I am saying is: Covid-19 might be here for a while longer. Learn to thrive under it. And even if COVID-19 were to go away tomorrow, the economic recovery could take years. No pragmatic planner can afford to take their eyes off the beast. But this does not mean that you stop chasing your dreams. 

With Covid-19 or not, here are five resolutions that no one can take away from you.  

Focus on you

From stay at home orders to social distancing in public, 2020 has been the year when our ability to thrive on our own has been tested. Separated from friends, family, and support systems, all we have had in 2020 was what we could give ourselves.  

The long hours of 2020 loneliness turned out to be perfect for one thing; self-reflection. 2021 promises more of the same. You might think that you have already exhausted all there is to learn about you, but you’d be wrong. The more you know yourself, the more you realize that self-identity is a moving target. 

Keep searching for meaning. Keep chasing your goals. Kenya has now extended the night curfew into March 2021, but you don’t have all the time in the world. If there is something you have been keeping off because of Covid-19, now is the time to do it. Remember, life does not stop just because there is Corona.  

Read more

Nothing kills those long hours of indoor boredom than a good book and a strong cup of coffee. Nothing builds your IQ faster either. This year, I challenge you to commit one more hour per week to reading. 

Science is filled with evidence pointing to the numerous benefits of pleasure reading. I mean, there must be a reason why every great leader has a personal list of great books they have read. Information is power. The more you know, the more enlightened you become. The good news – it is entirely up to you what you do with your illumination. 

Be more flexible

The world is going through a transition period. Africa is rising. Women are taking their place in the world. Technology is transforming more and more areas of our lives. To do better than the 90%, you must adapt quicker than 90%.

Flexibility also allows you to clear obstacles. In these hectic times, those who are able to see through the fog of their hardships will go the furthest. A good question to ask yourself would be; ‘Do you see Covid-19 as an obstacle?’ If the answer is yes, find a way around it. 

Start (and keep) a journal

Journaling is one of those things that most of us wish we were doing but very few really ever do it consistently. And yet nothing can be a better tool for self-development. When you set personal goals and objectives, a journal is the perfect report card to track your progress. 

Journaling gives you the opportunity to reflect on your mistakes and find solutions to problems. And, as you will soon discover if you take it up, journaling has the potential to become your personal guide to chasing your own dreams. 

Be kind

This year, resolve to be kind and generous. Make the conscious decision to seek to understand before you judge: To give a kind word before a harsh one. 

Even as you make resolutions on how you will push yourself to the max (as you should) and accomplish goals and milestones, you must remember to be kind to yourself also. Sometimes being a perfectionist – aiming for the stars – can take a toll. Learn to know your limits and be patient to build your abilities when you hit the ceiling… then try again. 

Happy New Year 2021

It is true that be that 2021 started on an anticlimax. Covid-19 restrictions put a damper on that euphoric countdown event and the future does not look very promising either. But this does not automatically disqualify the entire year. 

2021 could just as easily be your best year yet. It is up to you to make it so. 

Peter Gatuna

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