By Alex Kamau- London

I remain unconvinced by New Year resolutions largely because of the painful futility of failing to keep them. However, the power of incremental change is without contest. As 2022 ends, imagine without obligation trying the following for 2023 and beyond: Forgive and make peace especially with close family members. It is so tragic that the place to make peace disturbingly and increasingly seems to be at funerals and deathbeds. There is neither value nor dignity in so doing.

Pick up the phone and call that sibling, parent, child or even friend who you fell out with; and without the temptation and self-righteousness to assign blame. Don’t ruin blood relationships in the name of money. Being the adult in any acrimonious or bitter entanglement can be powerfully empowering. If they are unwilling, at least you’ve done your part and tried.

Free yourself from toxic and draining friendships/relationships. Few people ever become better than the frequent company they keep. Why do you insist on hanging on to that venomous friend who will talk about you as soon as you walk out of the door; that friend who is a habitual liar; an entitled receiver and seldom a giver; that conniving friend who thrives on playing you against others? Cutting them off will leave you better, freer and happier.

Having many friends can be very draining and ridding the toxic ones is invaluable and great for your overall wellbeing and especially mental health. Stop Blaming Others. Going through life blaming others for your pitiful circumstance is lamentably silly. Your rich sibling, friend or neighbour doesn’t owe you anything. So long as you are not sick or disabled, nobody owes you a better life. Look closer to your feet or in the mirror and you’ll perhaps see the answer to the present you that you so much dislike or are angry with.

Those that blame others are less likely to take the responsibility to fix their lives, and tend to lead bitter and ultimately unfulfilled lives. Give away what you no longer need. It is a well-known fact that most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time, implying some people reading this have clothes they don’t wear 80% of the time. You clearly don’t need them.

Review your wardrobe and if there’s something you’ve not worn in 2022, give it away. That which you no longer fancy could become somebody’s best. You could also give away unwanted utensils, books and furniture to others. It is a generously cost-free way to de-clatter. Keep your private life off social media. Endless posts about your marriage and love life demonstrates crippling insecurity. It could rightly point to a profoundly dysfunctional relationship. Those in a mutually fulfilling relationship confidently understand they don’t owe the world a running commentary about their love life. It is their sacrosanct space.

The less people know about your private life; the easier it will be to manage a break up, marital turbulence or the unavoidable turmoil consistent with most normal relationships. Persistently sharing on social media the hotel you’ve just checked into, the plane both of you are travelling in to a romantic getaway, the love message your sweet hubby or darling wify just sent you over lunch is exceedingly stupid. Just Stop! Dress and groom well.

This year, purpose to dress and groom well from inside out. Italian and French women are known to be rather confident and with their carefully thought dressing manner from inside out a curious standout feature. Their meticulous taste of lingerie is well documented.

Studies done on pupils showed better dressed and groomed pupils were calmer and better prepared to learn than the scruffily dressed ones. Interestingly, studies done in behavioral economics showed well[1]dressed single women of average beauty wearing high heels were more likely to attract a date compared to prettier but hopelessly dressed ones. Identify what accentuates your beauty and desirable features and wear more of it- repeatedly without remorse.

Better and carefully thought dressing and grooming does magic to self-confidence. Delink happiness from money. So many of us mistakenly believe more money equates to greater happiness. Studies have shown that every extra million actually brings only marginal happiness, and as we know from the law of diminishing marginal returns, an inflection point is soon reached beyond which, every extra shilling brings negative value and even woe.

Money isn’t a catalyst for happiness. Riches especially stolen ones bring only ruin, a lesson powerful and corrupt politicians need to learn. Give up that bad habit. It could be as basic as not lying and giving promises you have no intention of keeping especially about money, inconveniencing others, smoking, drugs, procrastination, talking over others etc. It is acknowledged that the small pinches in our lives are responsible for the ruinously painful crunches we experience later.

The sum of your bad habits defines your darker side and may cost you valuable friendships. Drop them one by one and gradually rebuild a better you block by block. Learn to question things. Question and test what you hear against alternative or superior sources.

Don’t blindly accept as true what you hear from your friends, politicians, charlatan bloggers and preachers. Many Kenyans are regrettably a rather gullible lot and this may explain why many needlessly submit to pyramid and deceptive quick money making schemes only to lose millions; why many pay to access false miracles from gospel-entrepreneurs and continue to give away money they desperately need for essentials to finance the flashy lifestyles of others on account of religion.

Tithing or offering borrowed money is lamentably foolish. Just think and act right! Finally get a mentor or become a mentor yourself. If you have ideas but are unable to follow them through, get somebody to mentor you through to fruition. Conversely, if you have made it in your field as a professional, politician or a business person, why not identify somebody with potential and mentor them to become as good as yourself[1]or better.

The late President Moi to his eternal credit identified among others five young men in the 1990s and patiently mentored them to varying degrees. One was Mudavadi, the other was Wetangula and the then Uhuru Muigai; and two others- a District Officer called Rigathi; and a feisty teetotaler called William Kipchichir Samoei Arap Ruto.

The rest is history. Were President Moi to wake up today, he would be in a good place. As for Uhuru I don’t know who he mentored. This is by no means a New Year resolution prescription and nobody should be under any obligation whatsoever to follow all or any part of it. May 2023 be a great year for you and provide you with 365 opportunities to both rewrite and right what you feel could have been better. Happy New Year! Waikui 2022


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