Setting Your Goals (or Intentions!) for 2021

Were you someone who sat down at the end of 2019 to plan your goals for 2020? If yes, you might have found yourself with long to do lists about where to travel year, how to spend your free time, and relationships you wanted to grow and develop. And if you're somebody who has lived through 2020, you might have found yourself not able to leave your home, without any free time (whether it's because work-life balance has become a joke, you are homeschooling in addition to your day job, or just general unforeseen circumstances), and relying on video conferencing to maintain connections.

Where could that possibly leave us for goal setting in 2021?

Whether you realize it or not, a lot of growth has happened in 2020. You have probably learned about how to integrate your home and work life together. You have learned more about the word consent than any Human Resources class could ever teach you. Or you may have learned where your breaking point is, either by getting really close to it or accidentally crossing the threshold on a 2:00pm conference call ending in tears.

Goal setting might not look the same for 2021 as it has in past years, but there is still a lot to learn from this year, and it's up to you to decide which habits you want to take with you when we all start appearing out of our homes as the months progress. It's also up to you to decide which goal setting methodology (or combination of methodologies) will work best for you.

Below are four methodologies that you can research more and consider incorporating into your own year-end rituals for both your personal and professional life:

Choose One Word For The Year

Some people find it helpful to choose one word by which to guide their year. It can be a way you want to feel, a value you hold, a mantra you want to embody, or just something that speaks to you in the moment. How you feel about your word may evolve as the year progresses; consider choosing a word that can be malleable. One person who has become very well-known for this methodology is Ali Edwards, who annually hosts courses around her methodology called "One Little Word." Write your word down somewhere that you will see it and consider finding an accountability buddy to discuss monthly progress with.

Create a Map Of Your Goals by Theme

Former Google Career Coach, Jenny Blake suggests creating a goals mind map broken out by different sections of life, for example: finances, family and friends, romance, career, mind, hobbies, health, and fun. By breaking down your life by area, you can better focus how you want to better your life in each of these areas. Consider choosing both some quick hits and stretch goals, as well as using your word for the year to guide your goal selections to make sure that your goals align with the way you want to feel.

Dive Into Your Resources

Part of planning your goals for the year involves being aware of your resources. Those resources are time, money, and energy. This year Hello Seven created a free workbook to help you do an Annual Money Review. The authors of Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans offer free worksheets online to supplement their book including an energy engagement worksheet and good time activity log. A great way to plan where you're going next is by really taking inventory of where you're starting.

Journal About It

Do you have a journaling practice? Journaling can be a powerful way to have a thoughtful conversation with yourself to better understand your own emotions, responses, and dreams. Katie Dalebout has a How to Journal workshop and wrote a book providing journaling prompts for those starting at the beginning. Susannah Conway creates a free Unravel Your Year workbook each year, +60 pages of questions and worksheets to help you design the year you hope to have. There are dozens of guided journals to help you plan your year including Meera Lee Patel's Create Your Own Calm, the complement to Michelle Obama's book Becoming called A Guided Journal For Discovering Your Inner Voice and Elise Blaha Cripe's journal called Big Dreams Daily Joys.

And if planning your whole year sounds overwhelming, consider just starting with one week. Justin Shiels created a free printable to help you track your goals, daily to-dos, habits, and mantra for just one week.

Don't forget, there are many resources available to help you on your journey. There are coaches you can work with to enhance your career, leadership skills, nutrition well-being, financial well-being, and more. Many of them even offer free content online. There are books, articles, videos, and plenty of other content ranging from free to a significant financial investment. Figure out what works best for you in this new year that we're entering, clear some space and make some time for yourself, and imagine what you want the next year to be. And don't forget, enjoy the journey!


What are some of your favorite ways to goal set for the new year?

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​​The mission of the Women’s Leadership Forum of Greater Philadelphia is to advance the development, growth and sustainability of women’s networks and initiatives in companies throughout the Greater Philadelphia region by sharing their professional insight, supporting other networks, and influencing the companies on diverse issues.​​​​​

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