There is a new energy this year and everybody seems to be pushing a little bit harder. As the situation gets more challenging, people are getting a little more innovative about finding solutions and transforming their lives. True change though, comes from an overhaul of habits and patterns of action that have over time become a person’s character. There is a lot that may need to be tweaked to achieve real progress in your social, business and spiritual life.

I came across a long list of things to steer clear of this year and I have chosen 40 relatable ones that anyone can easily handle for a great overall personal positive change. Let’s go:

  1. Procrastination – All plans and no action leads to failure. Get on with what needs to be done and stop postponing it. There is a high likelihood that the more you delay, the less easy it would be to start. Don’t get carried away with that debatable theory that you thrive best in last minute scramble. No; nobody thrives under continued stress. Procrastination is a poor habit. You can and should break it. Period!
  2. Being like the Joneses – Be yourself, be unique and be authentic. If you try to be anybody else, you will come across as fake. Just project the best image of yourself.
  3. Blame Game – The thing worse than feeling entitled is shifting blames. Own up your mistakes and find solutions. That is the sure route to growth.
  4. Laziness – Need I say much? A little folding of hands or sleeping beyond the alarm-clock-prompts culminates in overall poor results. Get off that couch and take action.
  5. Unnecessary travels – Note the word ‘unnecessary,’ please. If you have no need to be out of your station, then, sit down and focus. It may be considered elite to keep saying “Oh, I just came back from so and so place,” but after a while, no one cares to know. People mostly look at your result so strive to deliver results, cut off the unnecessary travel expenses and stress and focus on what needs to be done.
  6. Carelessness over health Issues – If there is a great time to be alive, it is now. There is so much happening around the world and wouldn’t you love to be a part of it all? Don’t ignore health signals. Be deliberate about your health check-ups; prevention is better than cure.
  7. Not setting goals – There is a saying that if you don’t know where you are going, everywhere will look like a destination. Get intentional about what you want to achieve this year and how you want to achieve it. Start small if you are not already in the habit of setting goals. Set weekly goals and then go monthly before you get to the annual goals. Let your goals be accompanied with plans – detailed steps on how those goals may be achieved. Then, get on with it.
  8. Excuses – There are obviously a thousand and one reasons why you shouldn’t be where you are but look at you. Don’t give excuses, don’t take excuses, it is action that will bring results.
  9. Toxicity– Whether it is in the people surrounding you or the vibes you put out, cut toxicity out. Surround yourself with positivity and growth.
  10. Overthinking– Intuition is great, it has helped me many times over but don’t be too quick to read meanings into situations and jump into unfounded conclusions. Stay as close to the facts as you can and make simple deductions.
  11. Fear of failure– Fear of failure can keep you in perpetual inertia. Learn a thing from renowned Thomas Alva Edison who continued relentlessly despite disappointments because he knew he was unto something great, he believed it was possible and he saw failure not as an identity but an event that he could learn from. He went ahead to become the father of inventions. If you believe in what you are doing, dive right in and keep fighting till you win.
  12. Mindless scrolling– Social media is great for real connections and fast information not virtual noise. If you don’t put a check on mindless scrolling, you could lose substantial portions of the day just roaming around the web.  Set out a timetable to regulate yourself if you find the need.
  13. Mindless spending– Draw up budgets and practice sticking to them. This will not just eliminate wasteful spending; it helps to build your character generally.
  14. Mindless gossip– If you have ever been at the receiving end of the meanness of gossip, you will despise it. Don’t help to spread unverified information about anyone. You have probably heard that it is small minded people that discuss people – what they did or did not do. The ones identified as great minds discuss ideas, policies and innovations. Don’t encourage anyone to bring gossips to you and don’t generate or spread any, no matter how juicy. This year, positive vibes only.
  15. Mindless eating– Excellent cuisine should be appreciated, celebrated even. Cooking is an art, a very lucrative one too. And now, eating has become a lucrative business. Foodies are springing up every minute. They eat a few spoonfuls of food in front of the camera and they bag sponsorships and endorsement rights. I am yet to see an overweight foodie so please, be wise.  Control your habits and the portions you eat.
  16. Regret– I read once that the things you regret are the things you did not do. Don’t let your life be littered with regrets. If it is worthwhile, fair and good, give it your best shot here and now.
  17. People-pleasing– This is so lame. Again, do the best you can at all times and be true to yourself.
  18. Negative self-image– The most important valuation, after God’s, is the one you give yourself. Be kind to yourself. Appreciate yourself. Encourage yourself. When all the noise is tuned off, be your own best friend; be candid, be objective and be nice. The way you feel about yourself is like an inner jacket; it can keep you warm and protected no matter the harsh weather coming from the exterior or keep you shivering and needy no matter the encomiums pouring in.
  19. ‘I can’t ’ mentality – Why can’t you? Unless you have legal, medical or religious reasons why you can’t, then you can. Replace ‘I can’t’ with ‘I’ll try.’ You will be amazed at the new horizons that will open up to you.
  20. Overloading schedule– Alright, we know you want to achieve so many things this year and as they say in Nigeria, “no dulling.” However, your expectations need to be smart and realistic. Besides, when you burn a candle at both ends, it burns out quickly. Strike a balance and leave room for rest, your family, and recreation.

(We will publish the rest of the things to avoid this year in Part 2. Stay with us.)

Fatherhood with Ibe


A personal mail came to one of my handles and it just broke my heart. There was no name and no address but it was filled with sorrow and I want to do the writer this one favour and share it with you all.

“I read about the man that came to talk with you because he suspected that his son was into some sharp businesses or even money ritual.  I wish that was my father. If he was, I would not be in this situation. I would not be dictating this message. I know that you don’t publish people’s responses but please publish mine so that people can learn a lesson from my dilemma.

I am dying and my parents are my indirect killers. They may as well have taken a dagger to pierce through my throat because they raised me and pushed me into the path of destruction.

I am almost 20 years old and the end of my life started a little over four years ago when I was just 15 years old. I don’t want to say where I come from so that if you do publish this, people will not attribute what has happened to me to the place I come from. My tragedy is a direct result of my parents’ greed and carelessness and has nothing to do with my nationality, tribe, religion or economic standard. I was born first of four children to a business man and his wife who is a classroom teacher. We now live in Nigeria but my mother is not a Nigerian.

By the time I was 13 years old, I knew that I was a pretty girl. My classmates and friends always told me so and I began to get undue attention from people of the opposite sex. I had my first boyfriend at 14 and like most kids my age, we tried to hide the fact from my parents. I would sneak away to visit the boy and our relationship was intense but not sexual. Then my mother caught on and made a huge drama. She called my father and they were quite upset and started shouting at me, asking if the boy and I had become intimate. I was shaking like a leaf but assured them that all we had exchanged were some kisses. My Dad accused my Mum of being careless with me and told her to prepare me since it was “obvious that I was emotionally ready.” I steeled myself to receive some lectures about how to preserve my dignity as a young woman, but there was nothing like that. My mother told me that since I was craving male company, I had better do it with someone that will serve a good purpose. Throughout the long vacation of my SS2, I lived in the guest house of a man who was old enough to be my father’s uncle. Of course, I was his sex toy.

He gave me gifts and pampered me and in a short while, it was no hardship anymore. I even began to adapt to the new lifestyle. I travelled abroad with him a few times and put my education on hold. After a almost a year, one of the old uncle’s friends took a liking to me. He was ready to double whatever the old man was doing for me. I believe he may have made an arrangement with my benefactor. He started coming to pick me up to go to his own guest house whenever the old man was not around. I told my parents and they sat down with the new man and brokered a type of deal. I moved into the new man’s house.

This became a pattern and I kept going round till my parents told one of the men to get me my own car and another, my own house. Everything was registered in my mother’s name and was used by my parents. I couldn’t get access to my money without my parents’ approval and they never gave it. They always told me to ask the man I was with.

“You don’t know that a woman has her time?” My dad asked. “Build your account for when they no longer desire you.” He advised. But I saw from their lifestyle that they were living big on my own money. They were not keeping anything for me. I also saw that they were preparing my little sister for the same lifestyle. I told my mother to spare the little girl and allow her to finish her education but no one listened. I believe that the girl herself was made to think that my lifestyle was enviable; she wanted same for herself and my parents were set to exploit her.

My 18th birthday was like an auction. I was the product on display but my little sister was the surprise package. Nobody in attendance was less than 30 years old. The men knew what was up and they bid as expected. That night, I changed owners again and my parents sealed a deal for my little sister too. My life changed after a certain man’s wife sent thugs to beat me up and throw me out of their guest house. A kind person picked me up from the roadside, took me to the hospital and lodged a complaint at the police station. I was hospitalised for almost a month but my parents collected money from the man and cancelled the case so as not to implicate the man and his wife.

When I left the hospital, I could not walk. I had to move around in a wheelchair. I returned home but my parents had no use for a daughter that was not earning money. They did not give me adequate treatment but kept telling me to exercise the leg so that I can get up and resume life. When I started getting sick, it was just like a joke but I went on from one ailment to the other until now that I am a sorry sight now. I can’t even lift my legs and hands anymore. I am locked away at the backside of my parents’ servant’s room, waiting to die. Unless there is a mighty miracle, I will not complete my education, get married, have children or even have a chance to get back at my irresponsible parents.  The only contact that I have with the outside world is my younger brother who sometimes comes to help me do things that my mother should have been doing for me.

The worst thing is that my little sister is set on this path of destruction too. My brother said he will save her. He’s just a kid but I hope he does and I hope someone else out there will read my story and say ‘NO’ to parental exploitation of children, ‘NO’ to child abuse and a big ‘NO’ to sex with a minor. I hope other children live to enjoy their childhood and I wish all parents were like that man in your story.”

What a strange story! I edited out the more gory descriptions of the girl’s trauma but I believe everyone can get the message. It is pathetic and quite a shame. I hope she gets a miracle and lives her life as she should. I pray her younger sister gets help before her life is ruined too. I hope justice is served to all the people that took advantage of her naivety and ruined her life.

So long!