With 2020 in the history books and the new year already in full swing, I’m feeling the pressure of setting goals for 2021. There’s a lot that goes into goal setting, and sitting down to make New Year’s resolutions has always seemed a little overwhelming to me. (I’m not alone in saying this.) This is especially true this year, after realizing during 2020 that I’m never in ultimate control of my life, no matter how organized or proactive I might be.
But don’t get discouraged by goal-setting. Making and keeping a goal will boost your confidence and increase your capability. And not measuring up to the goals you set will also positively affect you. Even if you don’t meet your goals, failing to set them is always a lost opportunity reach your full potential.
This year, don’t be that mom who sets a goal and never thinks of it again. Or the person who sets a goal and then laments her inability to reach it. And don’t be that dad who ignores goal-setting altogether. Don’t justify your inaction by declaring yourself “too busy” or “good enough.”
Instead, change the way you think about success and failure. Change the way you think about making and keeping goals. Become the person who aspires to do something great and does!
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you start your path to a more deliberate 2021. And to truly take it up a notch this year, think about better managing your time as you work towards your goals.
1. Remember, a True Goal Reflects True Desire.
Whatever your goal is, it will be much more fulfilling to complete if it reflects something you really desire. If you’re struggling to keep your 2021 goals of eating Keto and avoiding chocolate, try reassessing the goal. Is a life devoid of bread and sugar really what you want? If not, change the goal. It’s difficult to put effort into something simply because it’s the popular thing to do or because all your friends are doing it. If Keto is not your thing, but you really want to eat healthier or lose some weight, make that your goal. And then find a way to get it done without the diet that keeps weighing you down.
2. Keep Your 2021 Goals Simple and Specific.
We all know this. But somehow, it’s hard to remember. Lizzy and I decided to run a marathon a few years back. As we started training, I engaged in a complicated program of rotating through exercise routines on various days of the week. Most of the time, I decided to favor my weak knee and only run until it started hurting. This training schedule never worked. It wasn’t until I ran every day for a specific distance, and then methodically increased that distance, that I was able to finally run the 26.2 miles required. Training this way also helped to strengthen my knee. Life’s a marathon. Keep your goals simple and specific to run the entire distance.
3. Stretch Yourself, But Make Your 2021 Goals Attainable.
It’s easy to set a goal that’s too hard to meet and become discouraged. It’s also easy, however, to set a goal that’s met too simply, and become lax.
For example, I’ve always wanted to wake up early, and a few years ago, I set 5:00 a.m. as my goal. Every morning when the alarm went off, I decided I’d rather be dead than alive, and I’d hit snooze until 6:00. I finally realized that I wasn’t even trying to get out of bed at 5:00 anymore. Until I could get out of bed at 6:00 as soon as my alarm went off, I had no business setting 5:00 as my goal.
Gradually, though 6:00 was still hard, I was able to avoid hitting the snooze button on my phone, and I moved the alarm back to 5:45 and once again worked on getting up without hitting snooze. After several more 15 minute incremental moves back, I’m finally at 5:00 a.m. And I have no intention of moving the clock back to 4:45. Though 5:00 is attainable, it’s still a stretch, and that’s the perfect place for any goal to be.
4. Don’t Let Your Schedule Be Your Enemy.
Just because you miss your goal one day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try the next. My goal for the past several years has been to run Monday through Friday. In the beginning, if I missed a day, I got into the terrible habit of thinking, “I skipped a day and my schedule’s thrown off. I guess I’ll just wait until next week to exercise, and start again.”
Don’t fall prey to that trap! If you have a goal to run Monday through Friday, don’t let missing Tuesday and Wednesday keep you from running Thursday and Friday. If your goal is to floss every night and you go a week without flossing, don’t skip the rest of the month. A broken diet one day doesn’t have to mean a broken diet the next. Doing something toward your goal is always better than doing nothing.
5. Learn From Failure.
What we do in life isn’t about outcome. It’s all about input.
We can’t control other people’s choices, we can’t control many of our circumstances, and we can’t get rid of our natural tendency to shirk what is hard to do. Our goals provide a framework or a structure in which to grow in spite of our natural setbacks. Sometimes that framework looks messy. We can control the effort we put into accomplishing something, but we often can’t control the results of that effort. Although that can be disappointing, it’s ok.
When we act intentionally to reach a goal, we learn every step of the way to finally reaching that goal. And that sets us up for future success, no matter how many times we have to work at the same goal over and over again.
Measure your success by how hard you’re working and how much you’ve personally changed rather than how many quotas you’ve met or how long you’ve been doing something for.
Don’t Forget to Reflect on Your 2021 Goals Throughout the Year.
Goal setting can be a great way to start off the new year. It’s also important to remember to be reflective throughout the year on the goals you’ve set. How realistic were they? How many have you kept? Are you setting any new goals? Working to accomplish a goal will teach you about what’s important to you and how hard you’re willing to work at what matters to you.
Take some time to set simple and specific goals that will make you a better parent and a better spouse. And then pay attention to the ways your hard work strengthens your family.
PIN FOR LATER: