THE euphoria of the transition hype from one year to another, the grand illusion popularly known as New Year has probably died down and many of us are now facing the reality of 2013.
If you have not completed your planning for 2013, make this a year to do it differently. I suggest before your planning process write a caption at the top of your diary or desk calendar that “I, alone is responsible for making these goals a reality”.
This declaration is powerful for it gives you locus of control and removes the temptation of blaming someone or something when things do not happen as planned.
From a preamble of a review of your 2012, begin the processes of putting to paper your expectations for 2013. Goals as previously stated last year must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound (SMART).
Goals are essential for purposeful living. Prioritise your goals then focus on not more than five goals. We are creatures of habit and can only break out of those routines with stimulating and actionable goals. It is easier to measure written down goals and usually what can be measured will get done.
Split the year into four quarters and for each quarter put a specific milestone that can be evaluated at the end of that particular quarter. Split the quarter further into months and keep a diary where every month you record what you have done to achieve your goals. If you do this consistently, there will be no surprises in December 2013.
As you set your 2013 goals concomitantly create a measurement system to manage performance towards those goals. Pareto’s principle of 80-20 is an important principle to be mindful of as it states that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of causes. Focus on the 20 percent of the activities that is going to yield 80% of the results.
In the bible, Habakkuk says in Chapter 2 verse 2-3: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
The process of writing down something you want to do helps you to be committed and transmits seriousness that can be interpreted by your body. When you fall, do not yield to discouragement, get up and move on. Stay on course and push towards your goals. Once you start working on your goal, your goal will start working and generate a momentum that would be difficult to stop.
Time is the most valuable commodity we are given and under the principle of equity we all receive 24 hours a day. Accept that no one has time for everything. Use time strategically and put in place an effective programme for managing time wasters in 2013. For most of us the most effective time of the day is the time between 7AM and 11AM (I call it the ‘super’ four hours) so use it wisely for value creating activities. Determine beforehand that you will use this important time to be really productive.
Be careful that technology does not become a distraction as well. It is folly to daily spend your ‘super’ four hours managing your email inbox, updating your profile on social media, and in chat rooms discussing trivial issues. Time is a limited resource so allocate it in alignment with their personal definition of success.
Do you have personal values? Personal values are foundational principles that guide decisions around how you live and set priorities. Your goal setting should take these into account. Boundaries on how and when you use time in work and in your personal life help to ensure that you have the proper allocation in each category.
Central to the achievement of goals is one word – focus. To focus on something is to make it the centre of your attention making it a prime target as well as a priority. When things don’t go the way you want it, learn to encourage yourself.
Secondary school introduced us to the effectiveness of focus. We would use lenses to focus the sun’s rays until the heat became so intense that it ignited paper. Disorder clutters our lives and reduces focus on goals.
Successful focus is based on the concept of singularity. Your goal must create in your mind both perception and reality of importance. Action plans basically translate your goals into implementation steps. You will not receive any sympathy whatsoever, in the marketplace for loss of focus. In 2013 make focus a priority and a necessity which will guarantee you front runner status in 2013.
John Kehoe says “Weak and scattered thoughts are weak and scattered forces. Strong and concentrated thoughts are strong and concentrated forces.” Donald Trump says if you decide to think you might as well think big for apparently it takes the same effort to think small as it does to dream big.
2013 is an election year in Zimbabwe. There are risks inherent in this period, acknowledge and manage them. There may be opportunities that may arise as a result of 2013 political dust, so be on the lookout. Be careful that this political sideshow, the blow-by-blow that will happen on the political stage in Zimbabwe does not baby sit you away from achieving your goals. Politics can be encompassing and all consuming that it paralyses and distracts you so let me hasten to add Thomas Mapfumo’s warning, “Jojo zvenyika, Jojo Chenjera”.
Employ financial leverage in 2013 which is using good debt to achieve your financial goals. Trying to use your own money to achieve all your financial goals limits your impact. Strengths Finder said, “You can achieve more success by fully leveraging your strengths instead of constantly trying to shore up your weaknesses”. Know your abilities and focus on them.Purpose in 2013, to be a friend of compound interest not a victim by investing and not just consuming.
Tafirenyika L. Makunike is the chairman and founder of Nepachem cc (www.nepachem.co.za), an enterprise development and consulting company. He writes in his personal capacity