Four steps to setting goals in the New Year
I love this time of year. The holidays are my absolute favorite, but not just because of the lights and food and family time. I also love that we have the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and decide where we want to go. And if we’re being honest, we all need a fresh start after the craziness of 2020.
Progress isn’t going to appear out of thin air, which is why I love teaching people the habit and skill of setting goals. Here are four steps that will help you make real life-change in 2021:
Decide what you want
Before you make those workout plans or sign up for that conference, the most important thing for you to do is answer one simple question: What do you want in 2021? (Notice I said simple—not easy. In fact, this is one of the hardest questions we’ll ever answer.)
You have to decide what you want, because if you never define your finish line, you’ll never cross it. Or worse, you’ll chase someone else’s version of success. This isn’t about what your mom wants you to do or what those influencers on Instagram tell you to do. This is about you deciding what you want to do this year.
Set goals around what you want
Once you know what you want, you can set goals in the areas where you want to grow—whether that’s your marriage, kids, fitness, health, business, career, faith or community. Your goals should be specific, measurable and have a time limit. For example, if you want to become a long-distance runner this year, you might set a goal to run a half marathon (specific and measurable) by the end of the year (December 31, 2021).
Create a plan
Once you’ve set your goals, break them down into weekly steps. As you do this, you’ll begin to create a path to get to where you want to be.
Let’s say you want a better marriage. A specific action you can take is to have date night every week or plan a weekend away every few months. If you want to take on more responsibility at work, ask someone in your field to mentor you or sign up for a class or conference that will help you sharpen your skills. Give yourself specific actions to take and deadlines to back them up.
Put it on the calendar
Now that you’ve set your goals and created your plan, you have to put it all on the calendar. You and I both know that if something isn’t on the calendar, it’s not going to happen. If you put your goals on paper, on purpose, as a priority, you’re much more likely to achieve them.
Remember, you’re looking at a fresh start and a clean slate. You can make 2021 anything you want it to be.