Dear Dalitso

Everyday lessons for tomorrow

Prisoner of Hope (2)

January 12, 2024
Letter #32

Dear Dalitso

We are already way into 2024. In fact, the countdown of the number of days left in the year has already begun. So, what will you be in 2024? I urge you to consider being a prisoner of hope (see previous letter). I will use this quote from Jeff Bezos to summarize the essence of the previous letter. ‘Complaining is not a strategy ‘. You must work with the world as you find it, not as you would have it be.

Remember your life today is a reflection of the sum-total of the decisions you have made and those made by others (maybe parents or even peer pressure) over your life. Going forward you have the choice to put energy into things you control or things you don’t control. All the energy you put toward things you don’t control comes out of the energy you can put toward the things you can (it’s a loss).

By now you should have a plan for the year. I will ask again- what will you be? It is an open canvas- well to a certain extent- we don’t get the chance to really start over. You may still be paying a price for the bad decisions last year. To my friends in the Christian faith, you are either halfway through the fast or you have just completed it. The idea of January fast is very simple- ‘it’s a time to commit your plans to the Lord through prayer and fasting’. So, I hope you have committed your 2024 plans to the Lord already. If not- don’t worry, there is still time.

The Essence of an Annual Plan

If you are new to planning, I got your back. Here is a simple outline of a plan.


What would like to achieve by the end of the year? Remember this must be specific measurable, achievable, realistic, and within a specific period. You may state your goal may be as ‘to lose weight’. That sounds like a great goal. But it’s not specific, and not measurable. It may be achievable and realistic. How about you say to lose 20kgs by year-end. Is it achievable? Maybe.  Take note that you can break it down even further at some point.

Objectives (Why?):
This is where you clarify why you want to achieve the goal. It maybe to look good. It may be to be more productive and healthier. So, try to think through why you want to achieve this goal. Try to come up with maybe three objectives and make sure you can evaluate progress as you go along.

Specific Actions (How?):

You will not find this in the traditional templates. At this stage, you can begin to think about all the actions that you need to take to achieve the goals. The idea here is to list the actual actions you will take to achieve your goal. It may be to (i) run/walk 15km per week, (ii) join a gym, (ii) grow a vegetable garden, (iv) cut down on takeaway food to maybe once a month. You can list as many as you like. This is what you are going to track.

What will success look like? How will you know if you are on your road to success? In this instance we go back to the goal- you want to lose 20kgs by year-end. So how many kgs should you lose per month?

Journal your progress.
Make sure to keep a journal of the progress you are making. It will help when it comes to the next actions that you need to take or corrective measures. You will be able to determine the actions you enjoy and those that you are struggling with.

Review Framework.

You can review your plan monthly, quarterly, or at the half-year mark. You can review progress by just measuring your weight. But that will not be adequate. You have already seen in the objectives that it takes many related activities to achieve the goal. My recommendation is that you review either the level of objectives or the specific actions that you committed to.

I have tried to provide a very basic framework. But life is rarely about one thing. So yes, losing weight or saving money for a holiday may sound like healthy goals. But many other competing issues deserve your attention. For instance, you intend to lose weight, but you also want to go back to school, to start a new relationship, to get closer to God, to build a home. This is where I would urge you to think of life in its categories. You can have financial, spiritual, and physical wellness and self-improvement goals. Your life is multifaceted. Focus on what is achievable. All the examples of goals I have mentioned above are not necessarily directly competing rather they complement to produce a better version of yourself, but they may make onerous demands on your time. So, try to be modest. Don’t take on too much especially if it’s your first time doing this. The approach to the plan that addresses the different dimensions of your life remains the same. The goal will need to be broader- something like ‘my goal is to become a more knowledgeable, healthier, and spiritually balanced person with financial freedom by the end of the year ‘. In your objectives you will have to address each category (I) knowledge, (ii) health, (iii) spiritual, and (iv) finances. In everything focus on what you will do.

The rest remains the same. I hope this does not intimidate you in any way. I am looking forward to hearing your victory story of 2024.

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