At the dawn of a new year, most of us resolve to do things differently… and hardly follow through. However, there are women who successfully pursue and achieve their New Year goals. Soni Kanake talks to four such ladies.
At the beginning of 2018, Lilian Induswe, 47, had her eyes on four resolutions for the New Year. "I wanted to start a support group for women who are born again and their spouses are not, engage in an intense weight loss programme, get out of debt and de-link from negative energy," explains Lilian, who is a teacher trained in special needs, a counsellor and mum of two young adults.
"Our church has various departments that accommodate the congregants in different seasons of their lives. For instance, some are designed for married couples, singles, widows or widowers. I had noticed that married women whose spouses did not accompany them to church always felt lost as they could not join any group – the one for the married requires both parties present," she explains.
Lilian who renewed her marriage vows a year ago, felt compelled to reach out to these women. She started by forming a WhatsApp group. Then she got to understand what was ailing their marriages and offered to walk with them, encourage and pray with them. "Everyone needs someone to walk with in this life. I call it the ministry of presence," she says. She feels she has achieved 70 per cent of this goal and keeps going.
"My second goal was to lose weight. I'm a chubby girl and having experienced a mild stroke in 2016, I needed to shed off some weight," says Lilian who has dropped to 113kg from 120kg. "I have incorporated lots of running in my exercise regimen, slowed down on the sugars and stopped eating chocolate. I make a conscious effort to live healthy. Due to medical complications, as I'm at times forced by my body to slow down, I'm on 40 per cent with this goal," says Lilian. Her third goal was to get out of debt, which she accumulated after she and her husband lost their jobs for about six years. "When it rains, it pours. We lost everything and to survive, we got into debt. We have put up a repayment plan and we are about 60 per cent there," she says.
Lilian's fourth goal of the year was to let go of negative energy and anything that was draining her emotionally. "On this one, I'm at 85 per cent. I chose joy," says Lilian, who advises women to be realistic with their goal-setting. "Goals are not only for the rich, even with Sh50, one can start a 'sukuma wiki' (kales) business." She advises women to have friends for accountability. "Be wise with your choice of friends and do not tell everyone what you are going through," says Lilian.
The start of every year always comes with a new set of resolutions for Pendo Samson-Nyachio, an environmentalist and mum of two young girls. "My resolutions are usually divided into several parts; personal life as Pendo, my life as a mother, my life as a wife and my life as a woman, sister, daughter and a friend. I further break down then into finances, health, homemaking and social life," explains Pendo.
"I had a number of the resolutions revolving around those areas. However, my three main resolutions were to have my company fully registered, open up a shop in CBD in a good location, increase our customers base and reach out to many people out there with our products and services.” Pendo runs a health, wellness, natural beauty and personal care products business. “We encourage people to make better choices in eating and feeding their children well and taking care of their families.
Pendo also set family goals. “I intended to spend quality time with my two daughters, be intentional on how they spend their time as children, become more spiritual and less religious, and be more mindful and aware of everything going on around me and in my household," outlines Pendo, who says she's achieved 80 per cent of all her goals.
"I did it by breaking the bigger goals into smaller goals and maintained a diary and two journals. I gave them a time frame using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) goals techniques," explains Pendo. She advises on not being over ambitious while setting goals. "Ensure that you write down your goals somewhere where you are able to see them. Look for mentors and set daily goals which will translate to weekly goals and monthly goals and annual goals," says Pendo.
"The business is doing well and we have been able to grow well, keep our stocks well and expand our customer base. On being spiritual, I spend some time alone in meditation and take nature walks alone in the forest where I can get some quiet time to rethink and reconnect. I also fast and this gives me mental clarity and focus. I also have an amazing accountability partner who also doubles as my mentor."
Pendo says her greatest motivation is the feedback she gets from the clients and the love and support from her family. "Many times I felt like giving up but every time I feel like that I do something that brings my energy levels back and talk to my mentor and remember why I started the journey," says Pendo.
Being an African Hebrew Israelite, Daniella Rahm's community celebrates New Year at the beginning of spring, which falls around March. This, however, has not stopped her from making resolutions.
"My New Year resolution was to come to Kenya and start a vegan catering / restaurant. I was born in Jamaica but my family relocated to the US where I grew up," explains Daniella, 48. "I have run a vegan restaurant for 23 years in Florida, US and wanted to replicate the same here," she says.
The mum of one, a daughter, 31, who she got at 17, says the biggest challenge to fulfilling her goal was because veganism it is still a foreign and misunderstood concept in Kenya. "Most people think ‘veganism’ and automatically think salad or rabbit food. But we have a wide variety of food, including vegan 'nyama choma' (roast meat)," explains Daniella.
"My goal comes with sensitising people on the benefits of veganism. As a vegan we are plant-based eaters and do not eat animal products, which includes fish, chicken and dairy products. So, what I plan to achieve this year is get people to understand my product so I can officially open up a restaurant as I am currently catering from home. I do not want to get space before people understand my products. So I'm currently doing extensive research and educating people on veganism. Everything is coming up well and I would say I'm at 70 per cent," she says.
"It is not an easy goal and every day I feel like giving up on it," she confesses. "However, what keeps me going is because I have done it before and I believe I will succeed. I did it before in the US at a time when veganism wasn’t appreciated. It was slow at first as it was a pioneer project but it eventually picked and together with my family, we have been running it for over two decades. We had a great impact in our community and created wonderful relationships, which keeps me going," explains Daniella.
"My advice to people on making New Year resolutions is to keep pushing. If you feel inside your heart and soul a certain thing is what you intend to do, give it your all. At times we have such big ideas that sharing them with others might abort before it matures to a project. Don't stop. Face every obstacle in your way and overcome," advises Daniella. “You should never allow obstacles to stop you from achieving your goals and dreams. Keep moving until you see the fruits of your labour.”
DR DORCAS MUSYIMI
The start of the year always finds Dr Dorcas Musyimi, a lecturer and mum of two, with goals to pursue. “I have always made New Year resolutions, which I meet to satisfactory levels,” says Dr Musyimi.
“I draw my resolutions from my strategic plan. This year I had purposed to write three scholarly papers for publication in referred journals and to mentor at least five young married couples on Christian marriage. I am glad I met my goals by 70 per cent,” she explains. “There is a satisfaction that comes with even the smallest of achievements.
“I managed to write two scholarly papers and mentor three couples. I did this by putting together a plan of action which I faithfully followed as much as possible. This year I did something different because after completing my doctorate in Kiswahili Studies last year (2017), I opted to enhance my academic profile by engaging in research work.”
Dr Musyimi says she was motivated to keep going by the positive progress realised after every evaluation, which gave her the impetus to work harder. “I also had an accountability partner. I had a friend who added value to my efforts of remaining focused to my New Year’s resolutions,” she says.
Dr Musyimi shares her winning strategy in order to fulfil your New Year’s resolution. “One should formulate SMART resolutions – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound goals. Also, evaluate the level of achievement of the resolutions on a regular basis, especially after every quarter of the year,” she advises.
This is important as it enables you to see where you are at with your objectives and what you need to do, she says. “I did not once feel like giving up because I was keen to convert the challenges encountered to opportunities,” says Dr Musyimi, who has already set her resolutions for the coming year.