Taking long-term approach key to achieving your yearly resolutions


Taking long-term approach key to achieving your yearly resolutions. PHOTO | POOL

At the start of every year, people make resolutions. This year will be no expectation. During this first week of the year, many will set targets to realise by end of December.

While this is an important task by May several of these wishes will either remain just as wish lists or will have been abandoned.

Come to the end of 2023 we will have reasons for the unrealised wishes and set new targets, continuing the circle.

Against this reality, many, especially the older folk, argue that there is no point in setting New Year goals since they neither get fulfilled nor do they influence actions.

Instead, they are seen as unnecessary rituals. The truth, though, is somewhere in between.

Planning is an important part of every human endeavour. Once you plan you have a target against which your daily undertakings are both organised and driven.

The consequence is purpose in life. Every individual or entity requires plans. However, the question should be what kind of plans.

The danger with yearly resolutions, is they tend to be short-term plans set against a context without long-term perspective.

One wishes to achieve what is not possible to do within 365 days and as a result, easily gets frustrated.

It is important, therefore, that our yearly resolutions be preceded by developing long-term goals for our life both professionally and personally.

This way every year we will just draw action plans derived from those long-term targets. It will make the wishes more realistic and the process of their realisation more feasible and realistic.

As part of my reflection for the ended year I went back to a task I was involved in the early 2000s. Then working for a German international organisation, we partnered with a youth organisation to train the next set of political leaders for Kenya.

We were concerned as the youth that the mantra of being viewed as the leaders of tomorrow had resulted in leadership being restricted to the pre-independence generation.

Even though this older generation had ascended to the nation’s leadership while in their 20s it was sad that a new generation of leaders had not been nurtured to take over the reins of power.

The above led to two interrelated programmes, one a political leadership development programme focusing on capacity building for emerging young leaders and a second, Agenda 2020, which was a long-term strategy of this group to be in leadership by 2020.

When the 2022 elections were held, it was interesting to hear one of the Cabinet secretaries during his vetting hearings refer to this history as part of what formed him to pursue political leadership and scale the heights in the country.

Yet he is not alone. Looking back to the targets set then and the reality of the country now, it is not only evident that the targets have been realised, but more importantly that the leadership of the country and counties have been taken over by the post-independent generation.

I hope we can all take a long-term approach to our 2023 resolutions.

Not all who were part of agenda 2020 are at the pinnacle of leadership. Which is what we should learn from long-term planning. It is not all the issues that will be accomplished.

However, the plan acts as a compass against which your journey gets its directions and a benchmark against which your accomplishments are measured.

When we set out on agenda 2020, we were just trying to make a small contribution to improving the country’s governance.

I left the organization over a decade ago. However, the beauty of long-term planning is that the seeds sowed germinate and continue to grow every year and eventually the fruits are such as the outcome of the 2022 elections for young people and the cadre of leaders we worked on then.

The writer is a law professor at the University of Nairobi’s School of Law.

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