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New Year Resolutions Or Maybe Not

The twenty first century upwardly mobile man or woman may be categorised into two; New Year New Me optimist or New Year Resolutions for who cynic. I am not here to tell you who you are, because you already know, neither am I here to outline for you the resolutions you need to make or steer clear of  nor reveal to you some profound truth about life. If I knew that truth, I would be somewhere in the Swiss Alps skiing away blissfully not waking up in the middle of the night with a panic attack because this article was not handed in on time.

We started off wrong, let me try and salvage the situation by making sure you read to the very end, my pay check depends on positive stats. Happy New Year lovely human, hope the New Year has stirred some renewed hope in you. After all, to me all we live on is hope for without it, every hurdle would be that much more insurmountable and every idea would be too intimidating to give it a shot. So if nothing else, this year hold on to hope.

 So what were we writing about again? Business, New Year resolutions, okay, sorry I digressed. As I tried to figure out which side of the divide I wanted to be in the New Year, the optimist or the cynic, mulling over my dilemma was interrupted with more urgent matters like handing in annual reports and presenting New Year departmental plans. As you have guessed, our financial year is aligned to the calendar year.

Why would I look back at the financial year and write roadmaps for the various business departments but was unwilling to do the same with the most important asset, me? It definitely is not an earth shattering discovery not by a long shot but it had me deep in thought. Deep enough for me to want to share with you, whichever side of the divide you lie.

Would you walk into your boss’ office and tell him, “You know what boss, this year we do not have a marketing plan, we are winging it.” I guess not. Then why do you walk into a New Year without a plan for yourself? I choose New Year resolutions because this is the one time that most people take time off for reflection and introspection. This does not in way however mean that you cannot carry out this exercise any other time of the year. Better yet, this should be an on-going exercise where you review your plans periodically to track performance just as you would with your marketing plans.

A simple yet effective tool to use in setting up your resolution is the good old acronym S.M.A.R.T. 

Specific

Make sure your resolutions are broken down to a point that a kindergarten child can explain them back to you.

Example:

Goal 1- I want to increase my income this year

Instead say

I want to increase my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year.

Measurable

Can you quantify your goal? If yes, good job, if not, you need to go back to the drawing board.

Carrying on with our goal:

I want to increase my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year. This signifies a 20% increase in my income.

Attainable

The number one cause of failure to achieve resolutions and by extension give up on setting them altogether is, setting unattainable goals. Goals that promise a false start even before you start.

Now we have to ask ourselves, is our goal attainable?

I want to increase my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year. This signifies a 20% increase in my income.

We need to ask ourselves, a few key questions:

  • Am I in control of how much I earn; employment or self-employment?
  • What are the steps am taking to attain this goal?

In instance one: Employed

I want to increase my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year. This signifies a 20% increase in my income.

  • I will achieve this goal because, we are due for a raise and the company promised a 20% increase to those who fund higher degrees for themselves in line with their job descriptions. I graduated in December with an MBA in Marketing.

 

 

In instance two: Self-employed

I want to move my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year. This signifies a 20% increase in my income.

  • I will achieve this goal because I just got a new government tender that guarantees an additional Kshs. 30, 000 after factoring in my expenses.

Realistic

Your goals need to be backed by logic and reason. Yes, you are rearing to go but take a step back and ask yourself, is this sensible?

We can say our example is sensible enough especially having shown their attainability.

I want to move my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year. This signifies a 20% increase in my income.

Time Bound

Do not leave your resolutions open ended as far as time is concerned. That is sure suicide, well, at least as far as your resolutions are concerned. Not having timelines, nullifies the whole point of setting resolutions.

As we conclude on our example:

In instance one: Employed

I want to increase my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year. This signifies a 20% increase in my income. This will take effect in the second quarter of the year since my review is set for the last month of the first quarter of the year.

  • I will achieve this because, we are due for a raise and the company promised a 20% increase to those who fund higher degrees for themselves in line with their job descriptions. I graduated in December with an MBA in Marketing.

In instance two: Self-employed

I want to move my monthly income from Kshs. 150, 000 to Kshs. 180, 000 this year. This signifies a 20% increase in my income.

  • I will achieve this because I just got a new government tender that guarantees an additional Kshs. 30, 000 after factoring in my expenses. This will take effect in the second half of the year since government payments take a period of 90 days after supply.

Go on, set plans for yourself, if you would not dare wing it with your business; why then wing it with your personal, professional and financial life.

Happy New Year, whenever your year starts.

The Big Scary F Word; Feminism

When I was in High School, I was mopping our house as part of house work. One gentleman came to drop a package at our place and saw me bent down mopping. The gentleman gave me one scornful look and as he left our place, he remarked that I was very stupid for doing work that should be done by women. I think it was that moment, even if I might not have known it, that I chose to be a feminist.

Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi quipped that a feminist is a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. I like to agree more with a trivial old quote that says “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human.”

Despite the traction that the feminism agenda has gained, it still continues to be trivialized and almost to a large extent, exclusively linked to “Man-Hating” and me thinks this fallibility should be taken responsible of by both genders.

Traditionally, men are brought up thinking they are better than women. My nephew, in standard four, was once very mad at coming out number 2 in his class. Despite that being a very enviable position, it didn’t augur well with him that he had lost to a girl and it took a long talk, and a few ice cream cones to prove to him that women are just as smart as men(Perhaps even smarter, but that is an argument for the neuroscientists).

Some women have also been conditioned to think that men will forever be better than them and they have no option but to submit to whatever the man wants; which is a basis for a lot of problems.

To paraphrase Chimamanda, “Men are taught to compete with each other (in academia), while women are taught to compete with each other for the attention of the man.

In our day and age, it’s almost a wonder how such glass ceilings have not been shattered.

However, all hope is not lost. The works of artists like Beyonce, Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift have acted as a fulcrum to balance both genders.

British actress Emma Watson, in latent collaboration with Yousafazai Malala, have championed the #HeForShe campaign; which was an effort to get the men involved in the Feminism Debate.

Credit needs to be given to the campaign as more and more men got involved and it created a paradigm shift.

Men began to realize that Feminism is not synonymous with manhating; that feminists are not on a witch-hunt to take away their collective sense of “Manhood.”

Women also began to realize that being a feminist does not mean you hate men; that to be an empowered woman does not come about by humiliating a man.

Inevitably, we cannot run away from the fact that both genders will have their differences as predetermined by Biology, Environment, and Culture etc. But in the end, in terms of Social Class, Economic Sustenance and Political Identity, Men are just as equal as Women.

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