Summary of a conversation with Tolu Akinyemi
Movie recommendation for this blog post: Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.
At the end and beginning of every year is when many people reflect on their goals and evaluate their progress in different aspects of their life. Last year, unlike others, I decided to start my new year a little bit later: in March and hoped to end it earlier: in November to do my reflections. I set a list of about five main goals with subcategories, and unfortunately, I barely achieved one and half of the goals in the subcategories. Don’t feel bad for me yet; I gained tons of other things that I did not officially declare or write as goals for 2018.
In the church I attend, during the end of the year crossing over service, we have testimony sessions. Despite hearing many testimonies that people had and listening to some, specifically preaching boastfully about achieving the five goals they had set, I felt a disconnect in my mentality about goal setting in comparison to theirs. Although I encourage people to do what works for them and speak about it, I do not appreciate ethnocentric beliefs about goal setting that only aim to make other people feel as though they are worthless or worth less for not setting or achieving goals like everyone does.
In all honesty, I was a little bit reluctant to set goals this year, and I had a conversation with my sister asking why we would do the same thing repeatedly every year when it came to goal setting even if it did not work for us. 5:01 PM December 31st, 2018, while preparing to go to church for the night’s service, I twitted:
The goals I set, I do not get.
The goals I got, I did not set.
So to get the goals I want,
I do not set them
and to not get the goals I do not want,
I set them.
Additionally, I read many posts about achieving goals, but one question that many people failed to ask or answer is “what happens to the goals that we do not achieve by the end of the year?”
To answer this question, I had a conversation with Tolu Akinyemi the author of Your Father Walks Like a Crab. We concluded on several points which I think is essential in goal setting.
1. Priorities change
We need to realize that we can only set goals for what we can foresee in our limited sight. You can set a goal to buy a house at the end of the year but what if before the end of the year you need to buy a car instead because you realize that you are traveling a lot more? Are you a failure because you did not buy a house? The answer is no.
Key: Review your goals periodically at a pace that works for you and be open to changing or adjusting your goals if your priorities change. What is important to you on January 1st, 2019, when you are feeling a rush of excitement from the festivities may not be as important to you on March 19th, 2019 when you no longer feel a rush of excitement and that is okay.
2. Knowing our limitations in executing goals
When discussing with Tolu Akinyemi, I explained that for example among the Sprinng Literary Movement team, I am discovering that we work better as units in our specialties to achieve collective goals. For instance, I suck at being patient to think things through, but there is a team member who reasons with me and has extensive conversations about my ideas and assists to plan their execution. Additionally, without Grammarly, my impatience sometimes makes me suck at editing our reports, but there is another team member whose eyes are as sharp as an Eagle’s in finding grammatical errors. Therefore, to attain our collective goal, I will discuss what’s necessary and utilize the services of those available to fully maximize my ability in the role assigned.
Key: Ask for help, some goals will never be achieved if you keep it within you. You can’t do it on your own, and you owe yourself the knowledge of your strength in achieving your goals.
3. Kindness is the enemy of rationality
How is your extreme kindness to others hindering you from doing what is right for yourself? I had to learn this the hard way around the middle of last year when I began to have little to no minutes in the day for myself and was becoming extremely unconscious of the things I was doing for myself because they weren’t as significant. For about four weeks straight, I did something that helped me and influenced my perspective of kindness.
Despite my desire to be kind to other people, I was unkind to myself and did not cater to the source or path of my kindness to other people; from God through me. By eliminating many forms in which demands came from people, I was able to achieve many things.
When we want to be kind to others, sometimes we forget to be rational in a way that benefits us and this kindness can end up causing us more harm mentally, emotionally and physically. In this part of the conversation, Tolu Akinyemi gave an example from the recently released movie featuring Sandra Bullock titled Bird Box. Of all the characters who ended up dying, the most rational one of them John Malkovich who acted the role of Douglas had the insight to save all of them despite being perceived as unkind in his perspective of other people, but the world was falling apart, and it was every man for himself and survival. It was not the most reasonable time to play Mother Theresa or Gandhi. This might seem like a mean thing to say, but if you have not decided to be martyr, a post-apocalypse is not a good time to let emotions rule reason. You will agree that if the other character stuck in the first house had listened to Douglas and not opened the door out of kindness for the weird guy named Gary, they would have remained alive. Or if they had stayed in the store and lived in there when they had the chance, instead of returning home, the car would not have been stolen and they may all have remained alive. His perspective seemed unkind and selfish, but it was very rational and realistic, (for the tough position they were in) and would have kept many of the characters alive if they listened.
The point is not to become unkind to other people but to be rational and sensible with your acts of kindness; enough for you to have a little bit more time, energy and space for yourself. In all your giving and pursuit through the year, think of Gary and what he would suggest that you do.
4. SMART Goal Setting
In addition to setting goals, there are some standards that your goals should meet for them to have a higher chance of being fulfilled. The SMART Goal setting guide was first invented in the ’80s, and it has proven useful since. When you set your goals, make sure that they are:
S. - Specific
M. - Measurable
A. – Achievable
R. - Relevant
T. – Time based
You can read more about this concept by doing a quick search on the internet.
5. What happens to the goals that you did not achieve? What happens after you don’t achieve those goals?
When you do not achieve goals, instead of being harsh on yourself and like me, thinking that is an excuse not to set new goals, here is a list of things that you can do.
Is goal setting worth it even after failing? Yes, yes and yes.
In this part of our discussion, Tolu Akinyemi said, setting and writing out your goals, takes them from the intangible realm to the physical realm. The chances of achieving your goals increase when you make them physically available. It is not enough to put goals “in your head.”
For those in the Christian faith, this verse will be very relevant to you when it comes to writing your goals down.
Habakkuk 2:2 (Amplified Bible Version) says:
“Write the vision and engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets so that the one who reads it will run.”
Writing your goals will go a long way in motivating you and increasing the chances of obtaining them. I have heard stories of people who have used vision boards and written checks of how rich they want to be then, set goals and taken actions to achieve them. Yours may be next.
I hope that you pursue this year with a renewed energy and motivation towards achieving your goals.
Movie recommendation for this blog post: Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.
Here is Tolu Akinyemi's Biography for you that lives under a rock.
Tolu Akinyemi aka Poetolu was born in Akure, the capital city of Ondo State, Nigeria. His writings have appeared in some notable anthologies such as 'Verses From The Sun,' an Association of Nigerian Authors anthology, 'A Way With Words' (2014 & 2016), a Great British Write Off Anthology and other printed and online outlets. His poetry play 'The Big Society'; written for The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, London was performed at The Greenwich-Lewisham Young People's Theatre, London. In 2017, he was named on the 'Nigerian Writers' Awards' list of '100 Most Influential Nigerian Writers under 40' and also won the 'Poetry Writer of the Year' Award. In March 2017 he obtained an 'Exceptional Talent Endorsement' as a writer, from the Arts Council England.
Tolu currently lives in London, England. He has published 3 books titled; ‘Your Father Walks Like a Crab,’ ‘I Laugh at These Skinny Girls,’ and ‘Funny Men Cannot Be Trusted.’