Happy New Year! First of all, can we all just do a collective sigh of relief here that 2020 is over and we are now officially kicking off a brand new year? And while yes, every year comes with the promise of new beginnings, I think we can all agree that this year we are feeling this more than ever.
If 2020 didn’t quite go your way in terms of your career and progress, this is your chance to make it better. To have the 2021 you WANT instead of just settling for the one you think has been handed to you.
In the end, we’re all in control of our own destiny, and that includes what happens next in our careers. But if you need a boost of confidence, check out this year’s 2021 productivity guide. And let’s make this a year to be proud of.
Hold yourself accountable
Now listen, I don’t want to gloss over the obvious—2020 may have presented challenges but plenty of people thrived during it. They found their true purpose, built something incredible, gained clarity, somehow made this year work for them, so we have to be able to first take a sense of accountability in the role we played in our own lives this year.
Ask yourself, what were my goals this year (physically go back and look at them if you aren’t sure) and then ask “why didn’t I achieve them?” and be really honest with yourself. This is just for you—no one else is watching. So if it’s because you felt mentally exhausted, write it down. If it’s because you lacked motivation, write it down. If it’s because you fell out of love with the goals, that’s ok too—but write it down.
Next, ask yourself “what’s going to be different about that this year?”
If you’re lacking motivation, how will that change? If you don’t know where to start, what will you do to combat that? Remember to look inward here. You can’t rely on external forces. For instance, you can’t say “I will gain motivation because the pandemic will be under control” because while yes, I’m sure that will help, that’s not something you can control. You need to have a plan that is in your hands. So maybe that’s “I will start exercising 30 min/day and incorporating 30/min of practice time daily.” or “I will join a mastermind” or “I will Facetime my best friend once a week for a morale boost.”
Focus on what you can control and make it a part of your routine.
Enough of this planning the full year ahead. Sometimes, you need to plan in very small increments so that you can see what’s working and what you like enough to stick with it, while still leaving plenty of room to pivot.
While I think having one larger long-term goal is still a good idea, I want you to try something new this year, and just focus on goals over the next 90-days rather than a full year in advance.
Because odds are you’re a little burnt out and overwhelmed from the year and by starting small, and making sure your goals are attainable, it will help you build the confidence and momentum you need to keep moving forward. And the more momentum and confidence you have, the higher likelihood you achieve those goals—both long and short term.
Here’s my suggestion on how to choose those micro-goals. Ask yourself, what is one thing in the next 3 months you’d really like to achieve? It could be concrete like a new album or it could be internal like “more clarity” or “better mindset”. Once you know that, work backward to figure out how you’ll do it. What can you do every month, week, day, to get closer to that goal?
Have three top goals every week
Along with your micro-goals, I suggest having a “Top 3” or every week to keep you focused on the big picture. Too often we get swept up in the small day-to-day tasks that keep us busy but get us no closer to our long-term goals, and the Top 3 prevents that. It keeps us focused on what really matters by forcing us to evaluate each and every week what the Top 3 things we can do are, that will move our career forward the most.
Some paper planners have this built in, but you can also just write it down in a notebook or a sticky. What are the three most important things for you to do this week, that will get you closer to your big goal?
Then, write them out. It could be something like “network with 5 new people” or “figure out the artwork for the album”. Look at your monthly goals to determine what the most important things to do are on a week-to-week basis.
And there you have it! 2021 can be the year you finally celebrate all those goals you’ve been dreaming up and talking about. The time is going by either way, so let’s make this the year of no more excuses and only forward motion, okay? I’ll be celebrating your successes with you come NYE.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.