Finish Well: 5 things to do before the New Year

new year goals

In a few days time, we shall welcome a new month and a new year. This means that the year 2018 will soon belong to our past and it will never come again. Therefore, it is essential to assess your successes and challenges during the year. However, whether you decide to review or not, the issues in the previous year cannot be changed.

Colin Powell, an American statesman and a retired Army General, once said, none of us can change our yesterdays, but all of us can change our tomorrows.

Truthfully, if you want to register more success or a better 2019 compared to 2018, you must be intentional about success.

Do you observe that the last quarter of every year is the planning period for successful people, companies and countries? They simply plan how to generate more revenue and direct their expenses to activities that will help them achieved their goals.

As individuals, you too should be thinking about what you want to do in the coming year and how you will achieve them.

In this article, I have compiled 5 action points that can help anyone to prepare for a better new year and beyond.

Let’s get started.

1. Review Your Current Year Results

Prepare a self-assessment report of your achievements in the current year. This step involved listing your successes and comparing them to the plan set for the year. It should include the financial, social and personal development goals.

In December 2017, I set three major personal goals for 2018, which are to:

  1. become a Toastmaster competent communicator (CC)
  2. publish a personal finance book in the Gambia
  3. Make my bestselling examination technique book available in Lagos and Gambia.

I have finished the Toastmaster CC manual and also published my PASSED book in Nigeria and the Gambia. However, I was not able to complete the personal finance book.

It is natural that you may register some major successes or carryover some key goals to the next year. However, it is important to note that you cannot change any of the results. You can learn from the self-assessment and prepare for a better year ahead.

2. Understand why you didn’t achieve some goals

Your candid self-assessment should indicate some reasons why you couldn’t achieve some of your goals. Nonetheless, here are some reasons why most people fail in life.

  1. Lack of commitment – you were not committed to saving some money or changing your habits to enable you to achieve the set goals.
  2. Failed to learn the new skills needed to achieve certain goals.
  3. Fear of failure prevents many people from taking the key steps.
  4. Lack of focus plays a key role.
  5. Sometimes, it is your network that is very poor. You didn’t get to the right group or people that can help you achieve your goals.

I wanted to improve my communication skills, then I joined the Toastmasters club. With feedback from within and outside myself, I can confidently confirm that I have improved compared to 2017. Look at my Toastmaster Project 10: inspiration speech based on true life story.

3. Ask for feedback

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions” is a quote often attributed to Ken Blanchard, who is an author, speaker, management expert, and business consultant.

I strongly believe in the above quote, as success is not the result of a single super effort. It is the cumulative result of many efforts and feedback.

If you want to be successful, then ask for feedback from your colleagues, supervisor, spouse, relatives, customers, suppliers, or any other relevant stakeholders.

Feedback is simply a piece of information based on someone’s opinion or perception of you or your work. It would help if you never took it personally against the person who gave the feedback. Their candid feedback and opinions could help you to know the areas that need some improvement. Maybe your time, finance, or relationship management.

On the reverse side, if someone asks you to give them feedback, ensure you separate the facts from the stories.

4. Set Your New Year Goals

You are now ready to set the new goals. At a minimum, each goal should have an action point that would lead to achieving the goal. For your goals to be meaningful, they should be impactful and S.M.A.R.T. Your goals should impact you either directly, for instance, more money or indirectly like giving to others. SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result focused and Time-bound.

The primary reason for failure is that people do not develop new plans to replace those plans that did not work.” (Napoleon Hill)

5. Start to Take Action

Simply setting your personal goals is not a strategy. You have to be a biased action person. You need to act on your action plan. You must be disciplined and ignore distractions. In life, we can only achieve our goals through sacrifices.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Do more of something,
  • Do less of something,
  • Stop doing something
  • Starting something new

In summary, according to research by the University of Scranton in the United States, only 8% of people achieve their new year goals. Also, the most common reason people fail in life is not a lack of dreams or goals but a failure to take action. Similar differences exist between successful and less successful people.

Dream, plan, and act.


  1. Very well articulated Sir. People make big dreams many a times but fail to take action which provides the result.

  2. Thank you Mr. Sawaneh for providing us with strong inspirational and motivating insights. You articles are quite useful and helpful. Thank you once again for shaping the future world leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

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