Rare new year resolutions that worked out, and why

That New Year resolutions are meant to be broken is no news. But there have been rare cases where people made resolutions that actually worked out.

Take businessman-cum-politician Bob Njagi; a new year resolution made him break a smoking habit that had lasted almost two decades, while for Arnelisa Muigai, it started a journey towards a remarkable weight loss feat.

Mr Njagi is one of the two deputies of Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, on the position of Director of Elections of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, while Ms Muigai is the daughter of Ms Tabitha Karanja, founder of Keroche Breweries.

Mr Njagi, 39, had been a cigarette smoker since teenage until January 2013 when he decided to kick the habit.

When he spoke with the Nation on Friday, he said self-motivation made him stop smoking without going through any rehabilitation programme.

“I just said to myself, ‘enough is enough’ and I took a packet of cigarettes then crushed it. Since then I’ve never touched a cigarette again,” said the father of three.

“It’s all in the mind. There was no rehab. It’s about willpower. If you have the willpower, you can do anything as long as you already want to do it and you set your mind you’re going to do it. I never consulted anybody.”

Mr Njagi announced on his Facebook page in January that quitting smoking ensured that his health transformed tremendously. He also pledged to stick to 2016 pledges that he had made.

“This will be a sober, sound year even as I embark on meeting other set-out goals,” he wrote.

On Friday, he said he had not met a number of his 2016 resolutions because of a tough economy.


Ms Muigai, on the other hand, had been procrastinating until January this year on when to start shedding excess body fat.

“Every new year I never lacked ‘weight loss’ in my resolutions. Every time I read my resolutions to my family, weight loss became a song, every year. But in the year 2016, I decided to make that resolution a reality,” she said in a Facebook post in November.

Between January and December 9 when she did an interview with a local TV station, she had lost 52 kilogrammes. Her before-and-after photos left many Internet users in awe, with some giving her the title: “weight loss role model”.

“It takes a lot of determination, hard work and focus. And, just like business, you have to be very persistent for you to see the end result,” she told Citizen TV three weeks ago.

It is rare to find many examples of people who acted on new year resolutions like Mr Njagi and Ms Muigai — and life coaches believe it is because individuals tie themselves down to a year instead of seeing how the resolution will impact their life in the long run.

Mr Samuel Kanja and Mr Jeff Nthiwa, who run different life coaching enterprises in Nairobi, said many Kenyans do not know how to differentiate between long-term and short-term goals, hence the many broken resolutions.

“What I believe is that, when you are setting resolutions, you need to have what we call a macro resolution and then below it the micro resolutions. If you set all of them as macro resolutions, you may get frustrated because they may not all get achieved,” said Mr Samuel Kanja, CEO of Ultimate Excellence Ltd.

Mr Kanja explained that, ideally, a person should have a major resolution — whose progress can be realised when the year ends — under which there will be minor resolutions that can be realised in shorter periods. “Even if you never achieved 100 per cent in the macro resolutions section, you’ll have the consolation that some of the minor ones happened,” he said.


Mr Kanja added: “You must leave some room for failure. You may set goals that you want to achieve in a year, but due to some circumstances which you may not be in control of, things don’t take shape as you had thought.”

Mr Nthiwa, on the other hand, advised that people should have resolutions that outlast a year.

“It’s been proved that most human beings over-estimate what they can do in one year,” said Mr Nthiwa of Destiny Life Coaching. “The best thing is to look for a way to look at 10 years and see, ‘What can I achieve in 10 years?’ And then break it down into years, into one year or five years. You will realise that you have ways you can celebrate your progress; because what makes a human being happy is not achieving a big goal; it’s seeing progress in their lives,” he said.

As Kenyans usher in 2017, many are expected to draw a raft of resolutions. “Mr Nthiwa said: “We can make a resolution to just be better people, because when I’m a better person, then it’ll trickle down to my relationships, to my place of work and to every other area that I find myself in.”

We sought an astrologer’s view on what 2017 holds for Kenya.

Mr Nassir Kalema, who has previously advertised himself in newspapers as a marriage astrologer, predicted that the opposition would win the General Election slated for August.

“I see success to the opposition if there is no chaos or whatever and if everything is free and fair,” said Mr Kalema, who claims to come from Tanzania and who said he has been an astrologer since 2002.

Mr Kalema also had advice for parents: “You have a voice over the younger generation. You can end tribalism in Kenya because the younger generation obeys you.”

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