Starting Off 2021

To most people, starting off a new year is like starting a new life. The previous year might have been so tough that they want to leave it all behind to start afresh the New Year. To others, the New Year is just a continuum. It might be hard to believe, but 2021 is just a few hours away, which means you’re probably contemplating how to start the New Year fresh. The majority of people start off the year making New Year’s resolutions which mostly include losing weight, sticking to a healthier diet, exercising regularly, making better financial choices, quitting smoking, and spending more time with family. While all are great adjustments to make, you are likely to only keep these resolutions going for two weeks, or at most two months.

According to Women’s Day, 80% of New Year’s resolutions actually fail by February. Millions of people in the world make New Year’s resolutions each year but only a small fraction of them manage to keep them because they set unrealistic goals and have unrealistic expectations. A goal is unrealistic when the goal is something that requires more energy, skills, talents, and time than you have available in order to achieve it. Another unrealistic goal may be one that is not in alignment with your own greatest gifts and talents. When people launch their resolution on January 1st, they are making a change based on a calendar date, not necessarily when are truly prepared to change their lives. This is another real reason most resolutions fail.Although New Year resolutions have a higher propensity to fail, you better stick with it if it works for you.For the lot who will probably brush off their New Year resolutions in the first two weeks of following through, you may need to consider other ways to start the year fresh and clean.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution that you will eventually break, start the New Year by committing to small things that can give you an instant feeling of fulfillment and success. Start off the year by doing a yearly review. Take stock of where you’ve been and all of the accomplishments you’ve made in the last year. In a typical yearly review, you should answer these types of questions; What went well for me last year? What didn’t go well for me last year? What accomplishments did I have? How did I improve my life? How did I improve my relationships?What did I remove from my life that is now making me happier? What do I wish I had taken more time for?

Keep track of these questions and your responses in a journal that you can refer back to in the future: your answers year over year will be very enlightening. Ask these types of questions about all the important areas of your life, such as family, relationships, finances, career, home, etc. These questions will help you appreciate all you’ve accomplished in the previous year, and you can use this information to start the New Year off right and set better goals for the next year.Secondly, update your attitude. This means starting the year with an attitude of gratitude and including a positive affirmation in your daily routine.

Like I said in a previous article, gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and with all you have. When you practice this feeling of gratitude, it attracts even more things into your life for which to be grateful.Positive affirmations refer to a simple, short sentence that you can use as a reminder throughout your day. Using positive affirmations can boost your self-esteem over time, which is helpful when starting off a new year. To work with positive affirmations, find a phrase that works for you, like “I am worthy,” or “I am capable of challenges.” Tell yourself this first thing in the morning and throughout your day as you start to doubt. Tailor your affirmation to your particular life and circumstance.

The list of positive affirmations for 2021 includes;• My heart and soul are at peace throughout 2021.• My mission for this year is to stay strong and bold.• I am ready to see things differently in 2021.• 2021 is the year of unlimited possibilities for me.• I choose love, respect, and kindness throughout 2021.• I am loved, worthy, I am enough, and I am worthy.• I choose to think positive thoughts in 2021.Also, set realistic goals for the year. Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.Set goals that you are able and willing to work toward. While you should always set goals that will challenge you to be better, it’s important to take a realistic approach. For example, if you don’t have any experience with long-distance running, perhaps it wouldn’t be wise to set a goal to complete a triathlon. That doesn’t mean you won’t complete a triathlon in the future! Try setting a goal to run a 5K first, and then build up to more intense competition.Remember what we need are positive, realistic goals and the willingness to work. Hard work and practical goals! Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

Wishing every one of you a prosperous and fulfilled 2021.

Thank you for reading our articles all through 2020.

What Are You Thankful For In 2020?

2020 was probably not the 2020 you had anticipated in 2019. Well, at least it wasn’t for me.
This year has been full of surprises for everyone. From the killings of 19 people and burning of homes and other buildings by unidentified gunmen in Tawari, Kogi State, to the march Chad and Nigeria massacre where about 70 soldiers were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram in Borno state and then to the coronavirus pandemic, the Endsars protest that claimed lives of peaceful protesters and policemen, and then the present nightmare of the naira depreciation.

There is no doubt that this has been a tough year.
Quite frankly, it is hard to find any reason to be thankful for 2020. Not after the year has been ruled the worst year ever. Not after people lost loved ones to the coronavirus and lost jobs because of the global economic meltdown caused by the pandemic.

Also, in a society that’s governed by the haves versus the have-nots, where money is all-powerful and helps epitomize the alluring facets of life like freedom, security, and power, it’s easy to be ungrateful. When you’re working tirelessly to no avail, unable to get ahead in life, especially after enduring the heartache of failure or financial turmoil, it’s simple to get disillusioned and it’s easy to not be grateful.
For these reasons and other unmentioned, gratitude is almost impossible.

A lot of people have asserted that the only thing they achieved this year was “breathing” or surviving the year. But isn’t that alone a worthy reason to be grateful?

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which read, “I am blind, please help.”

There were only a few coins in the hat – spare change from folks as they hurried past.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. Then he put the sign back in the boy’s hand so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign returned to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”
I wrote, “Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.”

Both signs spoke the truth. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind, while the second sign conveyed to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see.

If you are able to read this, it’s because you have the gift of sight. These are the little things we often take for granted that we must always remember to be thankful for.

Other things we take for granted include the roof over our heads, the food on our plates, or the clothes on our backs. It’s there and we always expect those things to be there. But for many people in the world, it’s not there. They lack the basic necessities in life. Food, water, and shelter, along with many other things.

The year may have been a disaster and we may have been stuck in some financial crisis, but we have the gift of life, health, and whatnot. We have the most valuable gifts that money cannot buy. We have the gift that encourages us to keep striving –the gift of life.

Gratitude is a habit. It’s a way of looking at the world and all the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation, regardless of whether or not your current situation is to your liking. A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.

With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or God.

Whatever realm of thought you’re living in, the importance of gratitude cannot be underestimated. There are specific reasons why gratitude can change your life, and if you listen to them and truly hear the message beyond the words, there are some incredible things that will begin to happen for you over time. Gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and with all you have. When you practice this feeling of gratitude, it attracts even more things into your life for which to be grateful.

One of the reasons why gratitude can change your life is because it shifts your focus. You see, life is all about focus. Whatever we focus on, we move towards. When we live in a state of lack and negativity, we see more of that. It’s easy to see something in a negative light when you’re focused on that. It’s easy to see all the problems and dilemmas surrounding a situation when your thinking is habitually geared towards that.

Gratitude makes you a happier person because each day, you are intentionally counting your blessings and not your losses. It can transform your life by strengthening and enhancing your faith. Whatever faith or religion you believe in, whether it’s God, Allah, Buddha, or even that spiritual oneness that binds us to each other for all you agnostics out there, gratitude can strengthen and enhance your faith and belief in whatever school of thought you subscribe to.

Look around you and ask yourself what you are thankful for in 2020. For me, I am grateful for the gift of life with which greater heights can be achieved. I am grateful for my sound health and the gift of family and friends that add spark to my life.

What are the things you are thankful for in 2020?

Remember that the best way to end the year is with a heart full of gratitude.

Knowing When To Give Up

With over a thousand quotes on Google telling you not to give up, myriads of motivational speakers in your timeline pressuring you never to give up on that ambition, down to electric billboards, placards and posters you’d find on the streets with the bold inscription, “Never give up”, you’d almost think the act of “giving up” is a mutiny.

More times than I can remember, our culture romanticizes perseverance, and for good reason: Perseverance is a great quality. A lot of amazing things in our world would never have been invented, and a lot of great people would never have found success, if they hadn’t kept getting up every time they got knocked down.
But, sometimes giving up is exactly what we should do. We’re taught to persevere, no matter what, but sometimes that perseverance — that unwillingness or inability to let go — keeps us from moving forward, from finding happiness, from adapting to the curve balls that life throws our way. We will all face many different life situations that demand that we choose to keep trying or give up: professional goals, artistic dreams, romantic relationships, relationships with family and friends, the desire to have children — the list goes on and on. Sometimes, continuing to strive will be the right decision. But other times it won’t be. Giving up doesn’t always make you a bad person, or failure, or a deserter, or whatever bad thing you’ve been telling yourself.

Sometimes giving up means that you are mature enough to know when to cut your losses and move on, someone who has the bravery to protect his mental health, someone who is willing to take the risk of changing course.
You may not have heard it but failing to quit is a failure to learn. Sometimes your ideas and vision don’t match reality. What you’re trying to do isn’t going to work, staying stubbornly in the same direction can cost you much more than just pride. Majority of people are blindly persistent on the wrong job, relationship, ambition. Whatever they are doing is not in sync with their purpose, yet they rather not quit because of the popular opinion that “giving up” is for the weak.

Consider Isaac Newton. Famous for discovering the law of gravity that unites apples falling and the planets orbits. Yet, he spent years trying to decipher strange numerological codes hidden in the Bible that he thought could give him the recipe for turning lead into gold.
Or what about Elizabeth Holmes and her bogus blood-testing company, Theranos? She had ambition and persistence in abundance. But had she paused to reconsider earlier, she might have readjusted that drive into a product that wasn’t a sham, defrauding investors of billions.

Even Alexander the Great died at an early age because he pushed his empire too wide and thin, rather than stopping while he was ahead.

As much as you want to work persistently on an idea until you break boundaries and achieve that goal, it is also important to know when to simply give up. It is necessary to know when to give up on a particular style, process, system, approach, opinion or the even entire goal. In our world, people are so pressed with the idea of perseverance that they do the same thing over and over yet expect a different result.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” By this definition, it is a good reminder to be proactive and make necessary changes, even if they are painful. Maybe it’s not time to give up as much as it is for you to make a course correction. Do not stay rigid!

The most precious resource we can ever have is time, and time wasted on blind persistence is time gone forever. You will never get back the time you waste being stuck on something you should have given up on to try something else because in the end, it is not the failure we regret but the time wasted. The painful truth is that some dreams don’t come true. Some relationships will never be healthy. Some people will never love you the way you need to be loved. Some inventions are not yours to make. Some jobs are not yours to keep. Some things will never just work out. You need to know when to reevaluate and reconsider. Sola Adesakin- a prominent financial literacy coach was talking about how she dreamed to work at chevron and chased that dream for years, but to no avail. She would finally give up and got something different. Her testimony is that she probably wouldn’t be the Sola Adesakin we know today had she not given up her big dream to work at chevron to chase a different passion.

How do you know when to give up?

When you are no longer passionate about that ambition, relationship or career, when you begin to lack passion, enthusiasm, dedication and focus for something you are involved in, you may want to reconsider if you want to keep at it, or simply just stop. We can come to be so defined by our goals that it’s easy to take them for granted, to simply think, “Well, of course, I want that because I’ve always wanted that.” Take some time to think about yourself now. Is that dream something that still powerfully speaks to you? Or are you simply going through the motions?

Also, you may want to give up on an ambition if you aren’t able to visualize a positive outcome. If you continue working to achieve a goal and yet, it seems like an impossible dream to be successful, you’ll sabotage your efforts. Contemplate the realization of your goal in detail. Can you picture the resolution of your problem? Can you see yourself succeeding and feeling good about your success? If not, it‘s a good idea to reassess your commitment to the goal.

Lastly, when the idea of giving up floods you with relief, maybe you should give up.
Is the very first feeling you have when you contemplate quitting your job, leaving your relationship, or giving up on a dream is a profound sense of relief? Take that response seriously. If, after stripping away all of the worry and anxiety that comes with any major life change, all that you feel is an enormous weight lifting off your shoulders, there’s your answer.

If the reason you haven’t quit on an ambition, relationship or career is because of what people will say, then be a quitter and wear the name proudly. Sometimes it’s the best life decision you can make.

Is Contentment A Good Thing?

Once upon a time, there lived a King who despite his luxurious lifestyle was neither happy nor contended.

One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy?
The King asked the servant, ‘Why are you so happy?’

The man replied, ‘Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant, but my family and I don’t need too much -just a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummies.’

The king sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the story, the advisor said, ‘Your Majesty, the servant has not yet joined “The 99 Club”.’

‘The 99 Club? And what is that?’ the King inquired.

The advisor replied, ‘To truly know what The 99 Club is, just place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this servant’s doorstep.’

When the servant saw the bag, he let out a great shout of joy. He began to count them. After several counts, he was at last convinced that there were only 99 coins.

He wondered, ‘What could’ve happened to that last gold coin? Surely, no one would leave 99 coins!’

He looked everywhere he could, but that final coin was elusive. Finally, he decided that he was going to work harder than ever to earn that 100th gold coin.

From that day, the servant was a changed man. He was overworked, grumpy, and blamed his family for not helping him make that 100th gold coin.

And he had stopped singing while he worked.
Witnessing this drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. The advisor said, ‘Your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club.’

He continued, ‘The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never contented, because they’re always wanting that extra 1, saying to themselves:

“Let me get that one final thing and then I will be happy for life.”

Contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction that can be seen as a mental state, maybe drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body, and mind. It means living to the fullest -the good of every passing moment without feeling the need to constantly compete and compare your life with others.

Throughout human history, one of the questions that have always puzzled each one of us is whether or not we can be really happy and content with our life. Yet, we rarely come across a person who can claim to be perfectly content with what he has, and has no desire to obtain more or to do better. We all long to have more; more than what we already have, and even more than what others have.

Give someone a great job, a beautiful house, and a great life, and still, you find that the vessels of his desire never gets filled. Even if all your wishes were to come true, they would not last a very long time, and soon enough you would want something more, or something different. So, are we, in the first place, even capable of achieving satisfaction in our lives, or is it that it is in our very nature to always crave for more and more?

Science says that humans are not designed to be happy, or even content. Instead, we are designed primarily to survive and reproduce, like every other creature in the natural world. A state of contentment is discouraged by nature because it would lower our guard against possible threats to our survival. While this is scientifically proven, humans are also largely discontent because the term contentment has been misconstrued to mean “complacency, accepting mediocrity and a feeling of settlement without trying to improve one’s life”. Because people have equated contentment to laziness, unproductiveness, and a lack of ambition, they totally disassociate with the term and are constantly striving for that one final thing which they must have to be happy.

Contrary to the above school of thought, contentment is a matter of being satisfied with what you have — but realizing that as humans; we will always try to improve, no matter how happy we are.

Our society is so caught up with the idea that finding happiness is found with material things and certain lifestyles that will make our lives better. We are constantly being pitched products and services via media how they can make our lives easier.

Every day, we see people on social media we want to be like, the skin type we desire to have, the type of wealth, and the type of partners other have that we do. Not as if we do not have these things but the feel of discontentment deprives us of appreciating that which we have whilst only focusing on those we do not have. The reality is that this is an illusion that will never fill up unless we become content.

Contentment is indeed a good thing! Many people today think life is a race where you must be the best at everything. We might want a fancier car, a bigger house, a better-earning job, or more money. The moment we achieve one thing, the race for the next thing starts. Rarely do many individuals spare a minute to just sit back, relax, and be grateful for all they have achieved. Instead of looking back at the distance, they have covered, they stretch themselves to cover the distance that remains. And in some cases, this is when ambition becomes greed.

Contentment brings peace of mind, promotes happiness, and positivity that can facilitate growth and self-improvement. This does not mean you can’t have dreams and aspirations. You can accept the present and still wish for a better future. Contentment only means to be at peace with the present, not complacent. It helps you distinguish between wants and needs. When you are content, you may not desire anything more than what you need. The abundance of the present is enough to lead a happy and healthy life. Contentment often leads to the realization that joy does not come from material things. Instead, joy comes from deep within.

To be content does not mean you do not desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what is to come.”Tony Gaskins