My 2017 in Retrospection

Now I know some of you will think this is coming late (posting on 14th January). What is even late is I am just preparing my 2018 to be and to-dos. I am fine with working with a time that suits me and not relying on landmark dates/temporal time stamps like a new year, Mondays or birthdays before I set a new goal. In fact, researchers from UCLA have mentioned people are more motivated to achieve their goals if they set them at a time that is more meaningful to them and not a ceremonious time on the calendar. The end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 have been everything but free. But I enjoyed every bit of the activities that kept me super engaged, including wedding off our baby sister.

Could 2017 be better? Definitely yes. It could have. But how have I fared in it? It was easy to find this out. I flipped to my first page of 2017 journal to see what goals I have set for myself. You remember how I set my goals with two lists; a to-be and to-do list. The former just makes a lot of sense to me. What I do every day is important. But what I become from what I do is more important and that’s why the to-be list is a big picture to me that I like referring back to.

My first major accomplishment that I still wonder how I made is keeping my traditional 8-5 job. Although it wasn’t written in my 2017 goals. I still feel amazed that I managed to sit down (not the entire time though) in an open office culture to devote my time to the organization I work for. I have always enjoyed life as a freelancer. Securing an 8-5 job and living through the entire year, including getting my contract renewed was splendid. If there is anything like working for a good CV, this act was part of it. Now I am feeling a bit trapped about working longer to have a better impression on the next HR or heck, why should I think of working elsewhere again.

I managed to somehow become 2 out of 4 to-be goals I penned down. But I didn’t all do that by ticking off all the to-dos. I missed many of them. And it is fine I think. Looking at the big picture always is better for me. And it made me flexible towards achieving my to-be goals. I would say I have achieved a number of the unwritten to-dos, because I carried them out in other ways. There are 1000 ways to Rome they say.

Personally, I appreciate the impact of the non-profit Green Habitat I co-founded. We not only became relevant in the environmental sphere of Abuja, we established good rapport with reputable people and organizations. Thanks to the many people who supported us along the way with their kind words, presence and donations.

I picked up new habits, meditation with the help of an app. Reading more than one book at once and not having to finish the entire book (it’s not a story book Jeez, its self-help. I only take out the part I need).

In 2017, I realized a long time chronic disease I have; ecdemomania. It is a morbid impulse or obsession to travel or wander away from home. That’s why I think I feel amazed at staying at my 8-5 job. Always resisting the urge to travel somewhere.

But it was 2017 I knew how I healthy I was. When I did a medical check-up, my body age was 10 years younger than my biological age. That wasn’t the only reason I knew my health was on point, alhamdulillah. During a security awareness training at the office, I was made to understand my impulse rate per minute which was below the normal average was in the range of people like Usain Bolt (athletes in general). My occasional walks round my neighbourhood, early morning fast paced runnings, good diet maybe and hiking the hills in Abuja could have added to it.

2017 was the year I interviewed the now Deputy UN Sectary General (then designate and Minister of Environment of Nigeria) and received good mentoring. It wasn’t just her interviewed, I spoke with the inspiring and true Dr. Mairo Mandara (then Bill & Melinda Gates Country Director) and also sat next to her on a dinner table. My conversations with them are helping me grow personally. Oh, I got the opportunity to present a social innovation project on mentoring I am part of to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State. All those moments strengthen my belief in succeeding life, in sha Allah.

Selfie with Hajia Amina, Mamoon and Zubaida. Awesome team to work with.
Interview crew with Dr Mairo Mandara at Fifth Chuckers Kaduna

It was only 2 months into 2017 and 3 months after resigning from my job as a civil servant, that I was leading my previous bosses/supervisors in a high-level delegation to the United Nations office in Nairobi, Kenya. But this time, I was more of a colleague to them. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the decision I took to leave them. It afforded me more responsibility and challenge to use my skills in supporting urban development of Abuja.

What About Failures

Although I gave some goals a shot of trying to achieve them, but I didn’t achieve them; finance, religious and some personal goals.

I failed miserably in devoting more time as an entrepreneur. I have been engrossed a lot in non-profit innovations and environmental activism. The business models I developed haven’t seen the light of the day. Maybe I was shying away. Sometimes they say it’s not how good an idea is that is needed for its success, is the commitment and what you give up for pursuing it that will propel you to more action.

I did read and listen to a lot of books but I think I had time to read more which I didn’t. More of that in my blog post on 2018 goals.

If there is anything I want to develop more in 2018 is better prioritization and laser focus on the things that (should) really matter.

Have you reviewed your 2017? Could it have been better for you? Kindly leave a comment below.



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