How to Make 2018 Your Best Year

Esther Ngumbi
4 min readJan 1, 2018


2017 is gone. 2018 is here.

We are in deed in 2018 — the first day of the year. The page is fresh. And because it is a fresh page you can write a great story. You can make 2018 your best year yet.

But before we start this fresh page and writing the 2018 story—Let’s take a moment to look back.

Lets Reflect.

Time spent in reflection is never wasted. It is an intimate date with yourself-Paul Wong

Take at least 15 minutes, an hour, or an entire day to deeply reflect on the year that is just behind us.

What worked for you?

What are the successes you achieved? What allowed you to achieve them?

What were the challenges? How did you overcome them?

Are you happy with the way 2017 closed? What are you exactly happy with?

What key lessons are you bringing forward in 2018?

Now that you have reflected, and answered all the questions above about the year that is behind us — it’s time to come back to the brand new year-it’s time to start writing the 2018 story.

Set Your 2018 Goals.

As Mark Hansen said — You control your future. What you think about comes about. By recording your goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands-your own.

Goal setting is a powerful process that allows you to think of your ideal future, while motivating you to turn your vision of this future into reality. Goals help you to focus and allocate your time and resources efficiently.

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”-William Arthur

Setting goals is crucial to accomplishing great things in life. Embrace the concept of setting goals. After all setting goals will allow you to:

1. See your long term vision while giving you short-term motivation.

2. Organize your time & resources so that you can make the most of what you have.

3. Track progress.

As you set goals remember to set SMART Goals.

· S-Specific

· M-Measurable

· A-Attainable

· R-Relevant

· T-Time bound (trackable)

Think little goals and expect little achievement. Think big goals and win big success-David Schwartz

Next — Write Down Milestones You Will Use to Track Your Goals

Milestones allow you to know if you are/are not achieving your goals. Milestones serve to motivate you and to give you the momentum you need to accomplish the set goals.

A goal without a plan is just a wish-Antoine Exupery

And as Nelson Mandela said, “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

And to be thankful for all the small victories as you work towards large milestones. After all, it is not the endgame that matters most, but how you got where you are.

And While You are at It-Learn to Keep a Diary

Get into the habit of keeping a diary or a daily tab to document your progress.

Keeping a journal of our thoughts,insights, ideas and things we learn everyday supports personal development and promotes mental clarity, exactness and context.

Note down things that stand out. Things you are happy with. Ideas you are happy about. Note down fresh thoughts that come in your mind. Get into the habit of writing things down. This will be useful and will help you keep track. It also will always be a good reference source.

As Jack London said — Keep a note book-a diary-a journal. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap onto it every stray thought that flutters into your brain. Paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.

Most Importantly, Remember to Commit to Growth-Intentionally Commit to Grow-Be an Avid Reader.

Growth comes from knowledge. Knowledge comes from reading.

Rick Holland said it well— The world belongs to those who read.

Henry Thoreau- A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.

Be an avid reader. Read things about what is happening. Commit to learn something new every day and keep reading. Successful people in our world have a habit of reading. They read every day. Create your reading list and stick to it.

Reading is to the mind what exercise does to your body-Joseph Addison

Bring Others Along — Be a Mentor

If you want a harvest in one year-grow crops.If you want a harvest in ten years, grow trees. If you want a harvest that lasts a lifetime-grow people-Chinese proverb

As you accomplish your goals and keep achieving milestones-look around and behind you for others that are struggling to reach their goals and milestones. Extend generosity and kindness. Become a mentor and help others to be successful just like you.

We rise by lifting others- Robert Ingersoll

What you leave behind is not what is in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others-Pericles

But Above All — Be Flexible

Be stubborn about your goals-but flexible on details and methods

As you work towards achieving your 2018 goals, be flexible. Make it a routine to assess your progress. Give yourself an honest feedback and learn to adjust along the way. Many a times the path to success is not easy. There are many road blocks along the way. Instead of giving up when you hit a roadblock, try to alter things.

Remember winners are flexible people. They realize there is more than one way to do things and they and are willing to try.


If plan A does not work

Be flexible

After all- The alphabet has 25 more letters.



Esther Ngumbi

Esther Ngumbi is an Assistant Professor in Entomology and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign