Goal Setting for 2021

January 4, 2021 | By: Molly Looman

After a year of postponing, re-arranging, and cancellations, it can feel daunting to head into a new year. Usually, this is a time of resolutions, forward-facing planning, and reinvention, but the past year may leave some people feeling nervous about setting too many plans in stone.

While there are still some uncertain waters ahead, goal-setting is an important practice for professionals both in their personal and work lives. There are still plenty of ways to set intentions and goals for the year with confidence.

1. Pick an Overarching Theme

Everyone has set specific resolutions that have been tough to keep up with. Often times we set goals that are too specific or deviate too far from our existing routine to ever be achievable. After a year like 2020, it may be best to enter this new year with broader goals. Some people refer to this as “Finding Your Why.”

Goals are harder to achieve if the motivation is not clear. If your goal is to have healthier work habits, list out the concrete reasons you would like to see this change. These can be the foundation that you return to when it becomes difficult to keep up with your goals.

You can also work backward using this method. You can list out a change you would like to see and then figure out what you need to do to get there. Maybe you would like to be promoted in the next year, work backward from that goal to find smaller goals that help you achieve that.

2. Define Achievement

 Many people are taught to make S.M.A.R.T goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. This is a great method to make goals, but after 2020, it can maybe feel worrisome to put timers on goals or you may even get the feeling that it is more difficult to set realistic goals. Perhaps your definitions of the words “realistic” and “achievable” have changed after a year of sudden adaptation.

 This is why it is so important to define what achievement means to you and to be flexible with yourself. IF your goal for January is to stay positive, define what positivity means for you. Is it greeting more co-workers in the morning, is it listening to one podcast you enjoy a day, is it using less negative wording in your workplace? Defining success will keep you from feeling like you are not moving forward and will allow you to adapt as the year continues.


3. Adjust as You Complete Goals

 One of the benefits of making smaller goals with shorter time-frames is that you give yourself time to correct and adjust. After a goal is completed, reflect on how easy it was to accomplish, how long it took you, and what the process was like. This will allow you to make needed adjustments for the next goal.

 Shorter and smaller goals also allow you to break down the system from the goal itself. IF the goal is to create more traffic on your website, your system can be a posting schedule. That system is a much more concrete item to work on that will give more of a sense of accomplishment and is easier to track.

 This also prevents you from switching between goals too often to the point of neither being completed. It is important as you evaluate goals to be comfortable with eliminating competing or future goals. Keeping this practice fluid and active will decrease the pressure to perform and increase an actual sense of productivity and achievement.



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