The date was 1 January 2016. Never had I known that the decision I made that night would make such a big difference to my whole year! I recall it was an absolutely random decision on that day to go countdown at Clarke Quay with my friend. Not knowing exactly what we were going to do except to soak in the New Year spirit of counting down along with the crowd, we went ahead anyway!
What else would you do at Clarke Quay after counting down? Drink of course! So off we went to Beer Market to grab a beer or two and played some pool. That was the start of a very special moment. While playing, we were approached by a group of strangers who wanted to play pool as well and we thought why not! It’ll be fun to get to know new people! This was when we met Alison, and wow I was so inspired! She shared her story and her drive to achieving her financial goals that I was sold on her dream! She articulated herself so well and was so brimming with passion that I couldn’t help but be inspired to do something about my speaking skills as well!
That was the day I made the decision to have a New Year Resolution for the first time in my life. I wrote on my ‘Journey’ app in my phone, “Alison articulates very well and I want to be like her. She sells her dream very well and inspires many! This year I will practice until I am good! Record myself and train up on articulating better!” There are so many stories on how new year resolutions don’t work, but I didn’t think too much about it. I was just.. Inspired.
Many things happened the moment I made that decision on 1 January 2016. I went to attend a ToastMasters session to learn more about how people practice on public speaking and pick up a tip or two, and I became more conscious about the way I spoke and made efforts to improve with every conversation I had. At the start of the year, I knew I was particularly bad at piecing my thoughts together to speak in a coherent manner where ideas are not just flying around everywhere. I was more of a listener and not a sharer so I guess that naturally had a part to play.
With every conversation, I improved. I started listening to Ted Talks and reading books on speaking better. I come to realise that all it takes is a conscious awareness of improvement with every step of the way to remain motivated and inspired to take action. But the year has not end, and neither should my new year resolution! Just yesterday night, I went to Popular bookstore, thinking I would end up buying a book like “The Leader, The Teacher, and You” by Lim Siong Guan since I already read his book on “Winning with Honour”. But something interesting happened. I actually picked up and bought another book instead!
It didn’t really hit me what I was doing. I was unconsciously still reminded and inspired by what had happened on 1 January 2016 – That decision to be good and better at speaking. As I look back, indeed, I was making a lot of unconscious decisions to throw myself at opportunities that I may train up on my public speaking. I stepped out of my comfort zone inch by inch, but now that I look back, I must say I’m pretty impressed with how far my comfort zone has expanded! While I probably should have made “Measurable” goals, I did not, but it was not a problem because I consciously recognise how much growth and improvement I have made through the year! I also probably would never have had the guts to speak on live TV had I not been training up since the start of the year. My comfort zone would not have allowed for that. Though it was a leap nonetheless, I was glad I didn’t crash and burn.
The year is ending, but your resolutions don’t have to. What have you not done that you wanted to achieve at the start of the year that you can still do it now? It’s only 19 December. There’s still time! Don’t finish the year feeling like you haven’t done anything about your resolutions! If there’s anything Charles Duhigg taught me through “The Power of Habit”, it is that small habits lead to big changes. Whether good or bad habits, no matter how small, will lead to big changes (good/bad) with time.
Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and an Eventful New Year! May 2017 be a special year for you just as 2016 was for me! Start thinking about a new goal to pursue for 2017! Find your theme for 2017 and bravely pursue it with resilience and persistence!