For many of us, 2020 was a year to forget.

But with the new year now in full swing, we can now start looking ahead with a real sense of optimism.

With that in mind, it’s important to start thinking about your goals for 2021 and look forward to a fresh start and the possibility of a ‘new you’.

Setting goals is really important for personal growth, especially when you consider that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t.

But with only 8% of people actually achieving their resolutions each year, how exactly should you go about setting your goals for 2021 to achieve maximum success?

 

Review previous goals

The very first thing you should do involves some reflection on how the previous year went for you. Think about the goals you reached, the successes you had and the struggles you encountered along the way. Did you meet your main targets? Were there any areas you could have worked harder on? Asking yourself these questions will allow you to think ahead and plan more effectively this time around.

 

Write down your new goals

Thinking of new goals can be tough, but remember, they don’t have to be grand objectives – they might instead be small wins that keep you moving forward. Brainstorming new goals and writing them down is an important part of goal setting. By doing this, you’ll be able to remember your goals more effectively and remind yourself of the reasons behind setting them in the first place. Writing down your goals also allows you to be more accountable with yourself throughout the year. Effective ways of keeping track of your goals include pinning post-it notes on your fridge or writing a short blog about them to refer back to.

 

Be ‘SMART’ about setting goals

Once you have written down your main goals, you need to be sure they follow the SMART formula. SMART goals are extremely important in the goal-setting process because they ensure your new goals are realistic and attainable.

Specific – What do I want to accomplish? Why is this goal important?

Measurable – How can I measure my progress? How will I know when this goal is accomplished?

Achievable – How can I accomplish this goal? How realistic is this goal?

Realistic – Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time to set this goal?

Time – What timeframe do I want to achieve the goal within? What do I need to do and by when to make it happen?

 

Create your plan

Creating a plan for how you will reach your goals is key for keeping yourself motivated during this process. A proper action plan will help you focus on individual phases, and help you keep away from the confusion of not knowing your next steps on the road to achieving your goals.

Your plan should include the steps you need to take in order to meet your goals, what happens after each step and how you’ll track your progress along the way. Putting the time and effort in to begin with will help you to be more successful when setting and reaching your goals.

 

Motivate yourself

Motivation is what keeps you going so that you don’t give up on your goals. Finding what motivates you can be difficult, but it is this motivation that will help you to keep momentum, even on the days when the idea of meeting your goals seems impossible.

Each person’s motivation is different and yours may change along the way. If you’re struggling to find your motivation in the first place, there are some things you can do:

  • Create a vision board and put it somewhere you will see it on a daily basis.
  • Talk about your goals to your friends and family.
  • Find ways to reward yourself along the way.

Breaking your goals down into smaller targets is also a good idea. You can break your goals down into a weekly or monthly ‘wins’ that help you get one step closer to attaining your overall goal.

 

We all have the capacity to achieve great things, and by setting ourselves achievable and realistic goals we give ourselves the opportunity to make 2021 the year of growth.

If you’re currently looking for a new role and need some tips on improving your CV, read our article ‘What makes a good CV?