Resolutions: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s that time again, time to make lists that we’ll never think about until next January. I’m pretty sure your list will include weight, love, and money. It will probably look a bit like this …

  1. Do more exercise
  2. Make more money
  3. Get a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband

The thing with resolutions is that we rarely keep them. It’s not because they’re impossible to achieve, or because we’re not trying hard enough. It’s far more likely that resolutions fail because we’re going about it the wrong way.




We all want to make more money, look more attractive, and expand our social activities. All our dreams, ambitions, and desires fall into these broad categories. For example:

  • Pay school fees = more money
  • Run the Stanchart Marathon = get fit = more attractive
  • Attend a Rihanna concert = social activity
  • Have Valentines Dinner at Kempinsky = social activity/more money
  • Travel to Fiji = more money/social activity
  • Go back to school = social activity/more money/more attractive
  • Learn a musical instrument = social activity/more attractive

The trouble with most of our resolutions is that they are too vague. Getting specific is a great way to ensure that you can actually follow through. Let’s look at an example of how to effectively make, pursue, and keep resolutions.




Anita’s resolution for 2017 is to lose weight. Her plan is to eat less and exercise more, so she pays a gym subscription for a year, which is great, right? Wrong. Anita needs a way to make sure she will actually use her gym subscription. Most people sign up, show up, and give up by January 3rd. So … how can she get it done?

Well, she can make her resolution more specific. For example, she could say she wants to lose 10kg by the end of 2017, which translates to less than 1kg a month. If she’s the digital type, she can download apps that help her watch what she eats (calorie counters), or check her daily exercise level (step counters). This way, she can monitor her everyday activities and see her own progress.




Then, she can give herself incentive to use her gym subscription. Make friends with a cute boy at the gym so that she looks forward to seeing him. Get a nagging pal to call and make sure she goes to the gym. Or better yet, enroll her friend to physically walk/drive her to the gym. These simple shifts can make all the difference between actually losing weight and adding it onto your New Year’s list come 2018.

This approach can be used for all kinds of resolutions. Want to travel? Set aside 1,000 bob every month and put it somewhere you can’t access it e.g. in your merry go round, in your stingy friend’s pocket, or even in a locked M-PESA account.

If your resolution is to make more money (and we all want to make more money), you can resolve to read a finance article every week, or to follow cash gurus on Twitter, or even to sit your dad down and ask him how he managed to educate 11 children on a government salary. Then, put your newfound skills to use.


Put a new perspective to your new year resolutions by including investments. Check out the course outline and next intake dates on the Academy website.



Abacus is the result of over 10 years market experience and is licensed as a data vendor by the Nairobi Securities Exchange

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