A Happy Better Year 2018: 5-Step Guide To Actualize It

Hello, friend. It is with great joy I say, Congratulations! You made it to the New Year, 2018. It is a great testimony because there were times in the course of the just concluded year, 2017 that it seemed it was all gone. All hopes appeared to have been lost. At one point or the other, we were almost swept away by the great wind of life’s challenges. But in the midst of the storm, the ever faithful and merciful Lord God stood with us in the boat and with a word of command to the roaring sea, there was a great calm. The tempest stopped and we safely arrived at the shore of 2017. Thanks to the Lord.

Dear reader, in you and me, lies the power to succeed; embedded in us is the seed of greatness.

Surely, before the year began, the Creator had already put everything in place for our happiness, and all that is left for us is to take the necessary steps to actualize the plan of God for our lives. And what is God’s plan for our lives especially as young people? To live in obedience to His words, creating a happy and better future for ourselves.

The last year may have been nothing to write home about. Maybe it was full of many mistakes and errors, blames, disappointments, failure, lost hopes, lack, etc., and this may be giving you fear and worry as you begin the New Year. You may be asking: The economy is dry, how do I get that job? My exam is approaching, how do I succeed? I’m fed up of heartbreaks; I need a working relationship that will lead to a happy home, but now, how I do start and not face disappointment again?

I understand…

But do you know that all of these can be converted to stepping stones that will take you to greater height this year?


It is the beginning of a New Year; another opportunity and great privilege to change your seemingly mess to a message that will change your world for good. A time to begin afresh the journey to a bright and fulfilled future.

Yes, it is another year; the much awaited year, 2018.

Amidst your fears and worries, you hope to succeed. You love to be happier, better and more successful this year than last year. Candidly, this is my earnest desire too. But do you know what? To actualize our hopes or desires, certain things must be put in place and followed through. And that is what I want to show you in this post.

What are the steps I need to take in order to achieve a greater level of success this year? Before answering the above question, let’s look at the following illustrative story.

Jany is a skilled driver who can cover great distance without losing a single ounce of strength. He owns a car with which he intends to travel to the desired destination.

Jany decided to begin a journey. But just before this, he had just returned from one a few days back; a far journey in which he had both good and bad experiences.

At various points, he missed his right paths that lead to his destination because he had no map which directs him and consequently, it took him extra time, strength and fuel to retrace his steps.

For Jany’s failure to take along a spare tyre, he had to go through the struggle of getting a new tyre when he had a flat tyre (no proper gaging) on the way. Unknown to him, one of his headlights had developed a fault and realizing this when it was nightfall, it became terrible driving with one headlight; the journey was slowed down increasing total journey period.

Thank God he had enough fuel in his car’s tank. Although fuel was sufficient, he arrived at his destination far behind schedule with struggle and pains.

Now, Jany is ready for another journey of similar distance using the same car.

Here comes the question…

If you were Jany, what would you do before embarking on this second journey to make it a better one; a journey where you will ensure you do not suffer the inconveniences and pains you went through in the previous trip?

Before you continue reading, take a pause here. Write down at least, 3 things you would do if you were Jany before you begin this new journey.

Done now? Ok, welcome back!

So what and what does your list contain?

Well, for me, what I believe Jany needs to do before starting another new journey is to have a thorough review of his last journey. If I were Jany, I would consider both my good and bad experiences; what went well and what did not. Those things I needed to do that I failed to which consequently made the journey unhappy one.

Here are some examples:

  1. Finding out beforehand the right paths that lead to my destination
  2. Making provision for a spare tyre after properly gaging the fixed one
  3. Checking the car’s headlights if they are in good working condition
  4. Ensuring there is enough fuel, water, and oil in case I need more, etc.

Now back to the question: What steps do I need to follow through so as to achieve a greater level of success this year? What do I need to put in order now, the beginning of the New Year so as to end it well as expected?

It is exactly what Jany needs to do before embarking on his new journey. That takes us to step 1 of this guide.

Step #1: Do a year end review

The first step in setting the ball of your happy better year 2018 rolling is to do a year-end review. Why is this important? Celestine Chua shared some vital tips in her article, “Why I Do Year End Reviews (And 6 Questions For Your Review)”

Life is a journey; not a destination. The year 2018, beginning from January 1 to December 31 is a great journey. Living in the euphoria or excitement that it is a new year is not enough. It’s not all about the exchange of good-will messages. It’s not all about the new places we visited, or the new and expensive wears we got for ourselves, etc. While all of these things are good and important, much more important are the things we must do and the changes we must make to ensure that the new year is better than the just finished one.

How do you know what to do, or the changes to make?

Of course, it’s to review the last year. Just as Jany needs to review his last journey experiences, so we must review our last year, 2017 experiences – both failures and successes – before continuing this fresh year if it must be more fruitful and successful.

The year 2017 in review

How do you reflect, appreciate and make better decisions and become happy and better in the year 2018?

Below are 17 questions that will greatly help you if objectively answered and properly worked on. For better results, don’t just read through the questions; I recommend that you get a good jotter or notepad and write down each of the questions and take time to answer each of them.

  1. If you had to describe your 2017 in a sentence, what will it be?
  2. What new thing did you discover about yourself?
  3. What new ability or skill did you acquire?
  4. What positive impact did your current friends make in your life?
  5. What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?
  6. What 3 or more decisions you took which you regretted taking?
  7. What did you plan to achieve at the end of 2016 which you were unable to? And why?
  8. What major goal did you lay the foundation for?
  9. What were your fears or worries that never came true?
  10. What best gift did you receive?
  11. What major problem did you solve in your family, organization or others’ lives?
  12. What purchases did you make that turned out to be useless?
  13. What activities made you lose track of time?
  14. What new good habit did you cultivate?
  15. What old (bad) habit did you break?
  16. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life last year?
  17. If you could relive your 2017, what would you do differently in the various areas of your life?

Step #2: Carefully examine your review

Now, having reflected on your last year’s journey, I believe you already know what went well and what did not. Or have you not found that out? Then do so. Carefully go through the questions and your answer to each of them and see where poor decisions were made, the mistakes you made, the changes that must be effected, etc. Write these down for the sake of constant reminder or remembrance.

In my own review of 2017, I discovered that I made some mistakes that I wished I had not made. There were poor decisions I took which I never knew until they began to produce results which were not favourable. Some of these included poor leadership decisions, wrong purchases, associating with the wrong people, etc.

You may have also had similar experience(s). Maybe you made some decisions and took steps that brought you pains and regrets. Don’t worry.

Successful people are not those who don’t make mistakes. They do, but one thing that separates them from the unsuccessful ones is that they try their best never to repeat them by applying the lessons they learned. For me, I have resolved to be more self-conscious in my steps and ensure the best action steps are taken in every situation I will find myself this year so that I become better and live more meaningfully this year. Would you want to be successful or more successful in the year 2018? Then, you must resolve to do the same.

Step #3: Have PDG’s for the year

Making the journey through this year a happy better one than last year’s requires that we set important goals to work towards.

What are your PDG’s for 2018? I know you may be wondering what the letters, ‘PDG’ mean.

PDG’s simply stand for Personal Development Goals.

Your PDG’s for 2018 are well-structured and clearly written goals on how to develop yourself and become a better person in the various areas of your life in the new year.

To have a better sail on the sea of 2018 and arrive at its shore happier and more fulfilled, you have to set new year’s goals you will achieve which are your Personal Development Goals. Among others, these goals should include the following:

  1. To build a stronger relationship with God. To achieve this goal, create practical steps to move from just having a distant relationship to quality and more intimate fellowship with your God.
  2. To increase your knowledge bank. This should entail the inspirational/motivational books/messages to study/listen to in 2018. In your review, is there a knowledge gap? Are there things you should have learned that you did not learn? Include them here.
  3. To enhance your professional and career development. The examinations you have to sit for, courses to enroll for, seminars, conferences or workshops to attend, relevant professional or career associations and groups to join in order to boost your professional or career achievement.
  4. To build meaningful relationships with mentors and coaches. The importance of having mentors and coaches cannot be overemphasized. Dan Gheesling throws some light here.Where you are aspiring to be,      there are people who are already there. Set a goal to connect with these more successful people in 2018 as they will add great value to your life and work.
  5. To develop new relevant skills and improve on already existing ones. This involves the hand skill,       computer skill, writing skill, etc. to learn, improve and master to enhance your ability to serve people and earn more.
  6. To create products or/and services. Using your present skills and knowledge, set a goal to start a                  business that offers products/services that people need to multiply your impact and increase income level.           See some useful professional guides on developing products and services.
  7. To break negative relationships or friendships. It is possible that some of the poor decisions or mistakes you made in the previous year stemmed from the wrong people in you mingled with. To avoid repeating mistakes, set a goal to cut off those relationships/friendships that do not add positively to your life.    Need some help on how to break negative relationships? This article How to break your negative relationships by Bruce Muzik will greatly help. Also, this one by James Clear, “Habit Guide: How to build good habits and break bad ones” will be helpful.
  8. To increase financial capacity. Set a goal to attain a better financial level through proper money management practices such as budgeting, wise spending, saving and making an investment.
  9. To break bad habits and behaviours and form good ones. From your last year review, did you discover a bad habit that made the year less successful? Create a plan to break it this year. This could be binge or compulsive eating, excess sleep, procrastinating, smoking, comparing yourself to others, etc. Draw out a        plan to replace them with good ones. See this guide by Dean Yeong on breaking, building and transforming habits.

NOTE: Your new year PDG’s are not new-year resolutions.                                           

New year resolutions are what almost everybody makes and majority fail to stick to their so-called resolution. A research has shown that just a few weeks into the new year, people had begun to give up on their resolutions. As Strava, a social network for athletes found out in their study, Friday 12th January, the second Friday of the year, was the day people’s motivation to stick to their resolutions began to falter, and they called this day, Quitters Day” Why does this happen? Resolutions are mere verbal declarations and as such, they are not taken seriously.

PDG’s are more than mere verbal resolutions. They are for the few who truly desire to live better and achieve more in the new year Unlike resolutions, PDG’s are to be written down with the plans or steps to follow so as to bring them to reality.

Step #4: Break your PDG’s into specific objectives

Each of your PDG’s is broad. To make them achievable, each of the goals should be broken down into smaller units or more specific targets with set dates to achieve the targets. Let’s take PDG 1: Building a stronger relationship with God, for example. This is a big goal. How do you improve your relationship with God? It requires that you come up with specific targets you will hit every day. This includes: Praying, studying the Bible, meditating on the Word, taking fast, etc. Again, how many minutes/hours will you spend daily praying? How many chapters of the Bible will you cover in a day? How many days will you fast a month? Etc. Breaking your goals into specific targets and attaching deadlines make it possible for you to measure your progress.

As a second example, let’s consider PDG 9; increasing financial capacity. First, you may need to get a higher paying job. If needful, when will you start submitting applications? Then, what percentage of your income will you be saving monthly? What is your budget for each month so that you don’t spend your money on unimportant things? If you need more saving and investment tips, see 9 saving and investing tips for all ages by Marcie Geffner. Having all these on ground make it easier to achieve your goal.

Step #5: Take Action Steps

The next step in creating a happy better year is to move into actions. Follow through the specific targets for each of your goals. When you have developed your PDG’s for 2018, then start the journey. Begin to take practical steps to achieve each of the set goals. And remember, it is a gradual process. Don’t be too much in a hurry as unnecessary haste leads to great waste.

This is it! This is what you need to become a happy better person and become more successful as you journey through the New Year. I’m confident that you will have a happy better sail and achieve more if you do your best to follow the steps in this guide among others.

What experience you had in the year 2017 which you would love to share? What goals are you currently pursuing you wish to achieve by the end of the year? Do share in the comment box below.

And if you find this article helpful, kindly hit the share buttons so that your friends can benefit from it also. Many thanks and God bless you.

 Below are some additional useful articles to help you lead a happy better life in the new year, 2018

  1. 3 easy ways to be more successful in 2018 by Inc.com
  2. 18 easy ways to become a happier person in 2018 by Entrepreneur.Com

Be a happy better you; have a great and fulfilling year, 2018.          

Author: Oghovemu Okpu

I’m a writer and founder of Happy Better You (HBY); a personal development platform where I help you with the tips, resources and inspiration you need to become a happy better version of yourself so that you can live the happy better life you were created to fulfill.
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