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Anastasiia Neiaskina, 24, Russian, Dubai

“2018 has taught me to be more patient and to never lose hope. I was constantly looking forward to a promotion and work and just last week, I secured a higher paying job, thanks to my never-give-up attitude. This is why I feel, if you work hard, you will be rewarded.

The year also taught me that you should not be afraid of moving away from people who brought negativity into your life and whose actions don’t mean the best for you. In fact, one should value people who care for you.

In 2019, I look forward to taking more care of myself - making sure I eat well and exercise. Since I work as a real estate consultant, my job is doesn’t give me time to prepare my meals or work out regularly - something I need to focus on in the coming year. I need to start reading more, practice different spiritual things and work hard at my new job.”

Priyanka Kurapati, 29, Indian, Dubai

“While 2018 has been a great year for me in terms of personal achievements. My husband and I moved to our own house, that we’d invested in a few years ago. I learnt to take care of myself better, thanks to my husband who is a fitness freak and makes sure we eat healthy at all times. I managed to make some good friends and save a large chunk of my income – to buy my dream car next year.

In 2019, I wish to travel a few countries that have always been on my wish list, specially Belgium for Tommorowland and Finland to see the Northern Lights. I also want to take part in at least one obstacle race in the coming year. Also, we are going to start planning our first baby very soon.”

Musa Batantu, 30, Ugandan, works for Round 10 Boxing Club, Sharjah

“I learned how to save money in 2018. I did this by making two lists – one for the things I need and the other for the things I have to stay away from. The trick is to buy just what you need and not to buy anything extra.

“For 2019, my goal is to financially survive for the next two years by sticking to my lessons learnt in 2018. Life is getting more expensive, with costs like transport going up. My rent has stayed the same – that’s good – but I have to save money to continue living here.”

Ahmad Abdul Fatah, 30, Egyptian, perfumes businessman, Sharjah

“2018 taught me that you must plan your business in such a way that you cut costs one year so you can survive the next. You have to have a budget and you have to stick to it. You save where you can – I cut down costs associated with my business’ computer systems.

“Thankfully, I’m now in a better financial position and God willing, hope to open a retail outlet in Sharjah and Dubai in 2019. I’m going to use the money I saved this year for 2019.”

Josue Derise, American/Haitan, works in aviation

“For 2019, I would like to find a life partner and get married and start a family. This is one of my big personal goals, the next chapter of my life I want to complete. Having lived in the UAE for 10 years, I also want to see the rest of the country; until now, I have spent most of my time in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai so I want to learn about new places and experience something new. I’m sure different places in the UAE have their unique stories to tell.”

Nicola Martin, UK, business owner and fitness trainer

“In 2018, I opened my own business and purchased my own home, and so it was a very big year for me. For 2019, I plan to continue from where I left off and do even better, I want to make my business grow; at the moment, I have four employees in my company, I want to hire more people. My hope is to get more recognised in 2019 for the work I am doing which will help me attract more business and more clients. I put in a lot of hard work to open my business and I learned a lot about myself during that time, which is going to help me a lot in 2019 because I don’t plan to slow down. I want to keep it going and hopefully by the end of 2019, I will have more success stories.”

Nishanthi Mamadha Arachchige, 44, household assistant, Sri Lankan

“My life changed quite a bit last year because I left my long-term job as a teaching assistant in search of better prospects. This year, I am looking forward to better health, especially for my elderly sister in Sri Lanka who recently turned 89. Just as importantly, I am hoping to master the recitation of the Quran in 2019. I’ve just learnt the Arabic alphabet and I hope this will be the year in which I finally complete reciting the holy book from beginning to end.”