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How To Derive The Most Out of Your Remaining Year

January 6th, 2008 by Wai Loong (2 Comments)

Welcome back and into week 1 and 2 of year 2008!

Is this really a new year with new outlook for you, or is this yet another year that continues the same old you? Amazingly, a strikingly huge proportion of folks shall be replaying the “same-old”, “same-old” tune. How do you break away your away from that samsara?

Thomas, in his famous work said it best:

Time has no division to mark its passage; there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.

Thomas Mann (1875-1955)
1929 Nobel Prize Laureate
The Magic Mountain (1924)

Perhaps, you may have new year dreams. Dreams and wishes are thoughts, never a tangible, never physical and satisfying as we mortals passionately enjoy. I’ve heard about a dozen times how people dream of having better lifestyle, making more money, looking better, staying healthier… etc. How many folks actually do achieve these “wishful thinkings“?

When asked that question, undoubtedly, almost just everyone gives a blank stare.

How do you effectively design and live a more fulfilling year (hopefully)? And more importantly, how do you measure your achievements, your milestones?

I must admit I’m no expert at this. I’m just like you, an insignificant on this little planet we call earth. However, what matters is how you and I think and act. One method I can share is to “Think Big” and “Act Small”.

One of my favorite (and famous) quote is:

Nothing happens until something moves.
Albert Einstein

Every dream begins with an ambitious thought, something “Big”.

Now, “Big” is really relative. There is no right and wrong on how “Big” is big. It’s how one defines and measure against oneself at this point of time. Everyone is different, and everyone is born with different potential. Everyone grows up and picks up skills at a different rate. You can imagine how bored this earth can become if everyone is the same!

So I guess you can understand what I mean by “Big” by now. Do take some time and think about what you really want to achieve in this year. Focus on a few “must-do” for this year and write it down. If use your computer often, you can keep a simple tag line on your computer’s screensaver to remind you. Announce it to your siblings and /or friends on what you plan to achieve this year.

Do not underestimate the steps!

Writing down and sticking it on somewhere you get to see everyday helps remind you of your aspiration for this year. Announcing it to as many people pushes you to make or break it. Of course, you can skip the steps and get back to your same-old, same-old. You can stop reading and close your web browser now.


You’re still with me?! Great!

Most of us looses steam after a while of struggle so the next step is to keep up the momentum on what you set out to do. Design a game plan on what you want to do daily to move closer to your objective!

Keep your daily plan dead simple yet achievable and slightly above your average efforts to accomplish. In my own experience, I feel that discipline, consistency and persistence in doing simple routines are more important than setting up “big” daily plans and failing to achieve them in the long run.

For example, if your year plan is to finish the number of books you have bought but haven’t read in ages, then identify a slightly difficult target. If you read at an average rate of 1 book per month, set your mind on a target to finish a book in 2 weeks. Sounds unreasonable? Well, it depends on an indvidual’s determination and capability. It can be done… I’ve done it before in 2 days and it surprise me too when I succeeded!

Finally, you will need to do a reality check at the end of each week.

Measure your accomplishment and compare against your original plan.

Were you able to keep up?

If you did, congratulations and keep going!

If not, why not? What are you going to do about it?

Remember, giving up is not an option, unless you’ve guts up to declare that you’ve failed completely in achieving something you’ve so badly wanted as we’ve agreed upon earlier on. If it’s your first attempt and you’ve already throw in the towel, then shame on you.

Now, what happens if you slip in a week and you’re sure you’re not anywhere to give up?

Is it alright to “double” or work extra to “make up”?

There are 2 school of thoughts. One advocates that you can make things up. The other is to start all over from basics.

Personally, I feel it’s more appropriate for one to fall back to basics. Not only does it make sense to master simple daily routines before advancing further, it instills into oneself discipline and understand one’s own capabilities too. A strong foundation I feel is much more important for any long term benefits.

I’m keeping my guidelines and examples simple enough for you to expand on your own thinking. Feel free to experiment a lot, adapt and optimize to your own style. I look forward to hear your own success in my comment box.

Have an exciting year ahead and live a life with passion!

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2 Responses:

Thim Wai Yen on January 7th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Hi Bro,

I follow this method like what u suggest. It is something like KPI at workplace. Remember to work n play too 🙂

Have time come out for badminton, tennis, In-line skating, running, etc…

Thim Wai

Wai Loong on January 7th, 2008 at 10:18 pm


It’s a world of difference between the KPI your boss gives you and the KPI you give yourself.
It’s far much harder to achieve your own KPI (set by yourself) than those set by somebody (your boss). By yourself you have no power to discipline yourself or no boss to push you around.

In other words, you are in no hurry to accomplish what you set out for yourself. Overtime, your enthusiasm will wane and fade.

Don’t believe me? Try select something you want to do but will take enough effort to make you do it not automatically. Keep going for 6 months and see if you can sustain. If you succeed, extend it for another 6 months. If your iron discipline has been horned over the year, than you have graduated from your own Year 1 college. 😉

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About Insights, Inspirations, Tranquility, Peace and Harmony

Ng Wai Loong

Wai Loong is an electronics engineer by profession. He currently resides in Singapore, a thriving hub at the heart of South-East Asia. When he is not so stress out on the computers or laboratory, he enjoys value reading, jogging at his own pace and blogging in his spare time. Other times, he likes to catch up with some close friends over a cup of latte or teh tarik. As a gift from this friend, you are invited to interact freely with him on his personal blog.

PS: May the person reading this blog transforms his/her businesses, finances, relationships and life for ALL to WIN!