Year 2012 is almost coming to the end, and in a few days, we will welcome a new year, 2013. Although some has gone so far by saying the world would end on 21st December, and yet, we are still alive and breathing today, doing our routines as usual.
Again, when the end of year approaches, other than those shopping spree that girls and women love most, it is common for most of us to talk about our resolution for the forthcoming year. Mind you, when I say about resolution, does not mean I refer to those 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480 or VGA etc. etc. things, but, our personal plan and/or goal(s) for the following year to come.
Of course, everyone of us is a great planner. We just take a sheet of clean paper (A4 recommended), a pencil or pen, and then write down those plans and goals that we want to achieve (hopefully) next year. To list the goals are as easy as eating (or easier), BUT, are those goals attainable?
Nowadays, one word that is widely used from Perlis to Sabah, regardless of age and political background, is ‘Transformation’. Yes, I bet those of my readers from Malaysia know (or sick?) with this word. Everything want to transform ek? What is so special with the word ‘Transformation’ until all talk, eat and sleep with it?
The dictionary define Transformation as;
“A function that changes the position or direction of the axes of a coordinate system”.
Err, OK, that is meant for Mathematics. Let us look for other definition;
“A rule describing the conversion of one syntactic structure into another related syntactic structure”
Nearer to what we understand eh? OK, look for another;
“A qualitative change”.
Yes, that is it! The key word here is CHANGE. Transformation is basically a change from one condition to another, and usually from worst to better, or from better to best. It is a rare case a transformation happens from best condition to worst, although it is possible.
Transformation As A Stepping Stone
Now we understand that Transformation means we step from worst to better condition. Transformation means a change, an improvement from current condition. A betterment for whatever situation that we face now.
In order to transform ourself to be better person, we need to know which area that we have advantages and which those are our threats. Yes, SWOT analysis! SWOT analysis is not confined to organizations, but as individual, we can use SWOT to evaluate, to understand our current position and to repositioned ourselves.
For those who do not know what is SWOT, it is an abbreviation from four words – Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threats. The first two is on personal level (inner force), we know our Strength and Weaknesses – and the latter two are ‘outer force’ or external factor that affect us.
SWOT analysis is useful if we want to attain certain goal or specific target, usually ‘measurable’ but not necessarily. For example, suppose my goal is to ‘tackle’ a girl named ‘A’. I can initiate a SWOT analysis to evaluate my current position, example as below,
STRENGTH: Clever, Smart, Understand ICT Stuff.
WEAKNESSES: Fashion, Music, Latest Trends.
OPPORTUNITY: ‘A’s Closed Friends, Parents
THREATS: Other guys (?)
Again, this is juat an example OK! After initiating SWOT analysis, I will know what are my negative points, and work towards reducing, if not eliminate, those things. And it will be a very useful reference for myself to know which are my territory, and which are my Achilles Heel.
In respect to Transformation, it is essential for us to understand where we stand currently before embarking for a transformation. A good example is how Government of Malaysia implementing its’ 1 Malaysia Transformation Program. Before executing the program, the Government has listed down and identified which key areas that were useful, and then the next step, crafted a proper plan for them.
Therefore, it is safe to say that Transformation is a stepping stone for a betterment and improvement for ourselves. But, is it enough?
Planning Or Else, Failing
Planning, in simple words, means ‘setting the target’, or in another perspective; a roadmap, a chart to execute some actions or missions. Planning is highly recommended or rather a must if we are doing critical-level activities, which a failure simply spell a doom for us.
In return, you may ask, is it essential for us as an individual, to have a proper planning. OK, just ask yourself, suppose you want to go to a strange place, do you simply drive your car without any guidance or you will consult a guide with good reputation?
When we discuss about planning, as I mentioned earlier, we need to have a clear purpose, a clear goal, what we want to achieve at the end. After we successfully identify the goal, then it is easier to determine the necessary steps required to reach it. Suppose, for example;
Target/Goal: To reach Pasir Tumboh, Kelantan by 6 p.m. or earlier.
Then, we can define the preceding steps or tasks. We ‘work backward’ because it is a lot easier. Therefore, the preceding steps are;
7) Start driving at 9 a.m.
6) Refill the fuel, buy snacks/drinks.
5) Top-up Touch-N-Go
4) Determine the best route – Lebuhraya Pantai Timur
3) Inspect vehicle for any problem(s)
2) Packing things and stuffs.
Working Backward, as we call it, is suitable for goal or target that has definite end, and not continuous in nature. For a goal with indefinite end (e.g. maintain a CGPA above 3.00 during duration of study), usually a open steps/tasks are implemented (e.g. read note 3 hours every night).
When the plan is carefully implemented, it is easier for us to execute it since the steps are clearly explained, rather than just relying on ‘instict’ or ‘situational-based’ actions.
A Lot Or A Few?
Another interesting discussion is, when we list down our target/resolution/goal for the next year, is it necessary to list all that crossed our mind or selected few that is ‘logical’.
Personally, I will list down all my target regardless the ‘logic-ness’ behind it. My reason is simple – what came to our mind are ideas and most probably it will only emerge only once at a time. Thus, it is wise to jot down the ideas/targets.
Next, of course, not all the targets are attainable. Thus, we need to filter out those are doable, the impossibles, and KIVs. How to select and filter is up to you, but you can weigh-in your financial, commitment or any other factors that will affect the implementation of the said goal.
After a careful selection, I am sure that you will left with few targets/goals that relatively attainable, based on your current constraint. OK, stick to it, and Insya Allah (God Will), you will able to attend several if not all.
That is transformation then – from planning to executing!
About Unfinished Target/Goal
OK, now we have successfully plan the next year goal. But another issue is, how about those goal/target that is yet to be completed?
In my opinion, if you think the target/goal is still relevant in the next year, should be no problem to include it inside your 2013 plan. However, bear in mind that carrying over from year-to-year, the unfinished business, might increase your burden since there are a lot more things to do.
If those target are no longer important as in the year it was intended, then just drop it from the list. Except, if the target is high priority in nature and must be present every year if not yet completed (e.g. ‘To Get Married’ or ‘To Buy A House’ or ‘To Send My Parent To Perform Haj’).
Transformation (Almost) Complete!
Congratulations! You have set the goals, chart the path, now what’s left is to execute those plan in the following year and (hopefully) all are according to the plan.
In conclusion, to plan for next year, is a transformation to our personal life, since we are trying to elevate from the current condition to a better environment/situation. Therefore, now it is time for us to transform and improve ourself and be the best man/woman/boy/girl on earth.
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NOTE: Somehow, this is my latest post written fully in English after a quite large number of Bahasa Melayu posts before. Therefore, forgive me for all those major/minor grammar, contextual mistakes or unpolished sentences – it takes some time to ‘re-familiarize’ myself with full English, since the very last time I wrote a super long essay was thesis writing during final year in UIAM (not counting those PTD exam essays).
Owh, maybe I need to re-sit for the EPT/MUET eh? Enjoy!