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Make 2021 Count: Having A First-Class Year- Fela Bank Olemoh


Opinion By : Fela Bank-Olemoh

Outlining Ways To Make The New Year 2021 Count 'Having a first-class year'.

Hi there, good to be back.

Though 2020 threw us all some curveballs, we have a new opportunity for a fresh start this year. One of my favourite quotes is: “You don’t earn a First-Class in your Final Year.” To achieve that, you start working hard from your first year in school. Like academics, living a First-Class year requires deliberate commitment and actions.

In my last article, I shared my thoughts on the Art of Self-Audit and in this new year, I will like us to build on that.

Mark Twain, often said: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

Whilst we may still be facing the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and economic uncertainties, you need to ensure that you start the year 2021 with the right mindset.

One of the greatest discoveries of all time according to Oprah Winfrey – is the knowledge that a person can change his future by changing his attitude. This indeed rings true as I recall a memory from back in my university days, when we rightly predicted the students who came out tops in our class. These students had the right attitude – they were usually the first to appear in lecture halls, deliberate about acquiring the needed materials for each course, they were ardent listeners and note-takers that took every assignment and test very seriously. They were not necessarily the most intelligent in class or most talented, but like the American football champion and author, Robert Griffin III said: “Hard work pays off – hard work beats talent any day”. These first-class graduates didn’t only perform better than the other intelligent students by working hard, they also started the work early. We noticed these traits in them right from the first year, so their first-class status at graduation wasn’t really a surprise to us. Some of us who were not as dedicated turned out… Well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Here is a lesson for this new year; To have a first-class 2021, it’s very important to start now!

Ask yourself, what should I be engaged in now to make the best of this year?

Let me share with you four things I think you should do to make this year a fantastic one for yourself.


The discipline of self-examination helps you to evaluate the current realities in your life in order to put things in perspective. It gives room for honest feedback necessary to aid growth in every area of your life. To properly examine your life, you’ll need to be brutally honest with yourself and also schedule regular “Me Times” as well. According to Socrates, “an unexamined life is not worth living”; you will agree with me that your life is worth living so commit to regular self-examination.



Warren Buffet said; “An idiot with a plan will always beat a genius without a plan.” It couldn’t be said any better; to have a first-class year, you need a plan. So, what’s your plan for 2021? Do you have clearly set goals? What have you put in place to stay committed to achieving them? These and more are questions you have to answer as you start the year.

Like the traffic lights, the red light means “stop”; you must endeavour to stop and plan. This helps you to set broad objectives that should align with your projected future.

The yellow light means “get ready”; at this stage you need to be certain that the goals you’ve set are specific, relevant and achievable within a stipulated time frame.

The green light means “go”; and this is when you take action and start working out your plans, to bring them into reality. Start early and be consistent because life always rewards consistency.



Statistics from the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania USA show that interpersonal strategies like having an accountability partner increases the chances of keeping new year resolutions for over six months. So, why not apply that logic to your personal goals this year, and get yourself an accountability partner?  Such a person can be trusted to keep track of your progress, and ensure you’re actually doing the things you set out to do. More so, when we accept accountability we are putting ourselves in a position of responsibility which will allow you to make the necessary changes needed to have a successful year.


This is what I call the God Factor, it should be the foundation upon which you build every other thing you do. You need to evaluate your relationship with God. Is it a strong relationship? Fantastic! Stay connected. If not, it’s important to reconnect because you need God to have a first-class year.

So, as you begin this brand-new year, give it all it takes and approach it with the right attitude.

I challenge you to self-examine, set clear goals, have an accountability partner and strengthen your faith.


The ability to thrive in this year 2021 is within your reach but you must play your part.

Remember You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT.

Fela Bank Olemoh is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Education Intervention, A leadership Coach, Public Speaker, Pastor, Sport Enthusiast, History Buff and Columnist. 

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