Can you believe it?! 2021 is finally here!
This past year was filled with so many ups and downs and shifts and pivots that I’m sure many of us were more than ready to leave it all behind us. And although I’m not necessarily big on New Year’s resolutions per se, there’s always something rejuvenating about a new year to help set new year goals.
Whether it’s personal goals, professional goals, or the desire to welcome more happiness and joy into your life, this is the right time to step into the new year with positivity and motivation. So, in the spirit of getting a head start on goal setting, let’s cover a few ways you can start planning now to make 2021 your best year yet!
I think it’s safe to say that last year shook things up a bit, whether we were ready for it or not. But fortunately, there is so much we can always learn from disappointment or setbacks that help us navigate new (and better) opportunities for ourselves. And although no one can predict exactly how this year will unfold, we can always lean into our planning to help guide us in the right direction.
Step 1: A year in review
It’s important to reflect on your previous year to help get a clearer understanding of the future. So take some time to review everything that happened for you last year – the good, the bad, and everything in between. This is a great exercise on reflection to help create space and plan ahead to fill in the gaps this time around in the new year. Try not to focus too much on solving anything quite yet – just really take this opportunity to digest the previous year.
Step 2: Make a list
Now that you have your previous year mapped out, it’s time to extract the things that went well last year and the things that did not. When you categorize your successes separately from the areas that could use improvement, this is going to help you better organize and analyze your future goals. Again, this could be personal, business-related, relationships, etc., and perhaps it’s easiest for you to break things down by month. For example:
- Was able to travel and went on a nice trip
- Started a new job
- Hit savings goal
- Said goodbye to a toxic friendship
- Had to postpone an in-person gathering due to COVID-19
- Started working from home
- Learned how to cook healthy meals for myself
- Created an online dating profile
- Reconnected with an old friend
And as you’re compiling your list, be sure to add everything you can think of. Don’t forget to include the small stuff too, because you never know how a small win could be a catalyst for an even greater opportunity in the new year.
Step 3: What do you really want (and why)?
Do you want an extra million dollars in your bank account? Well, sure, why not? But to achieve your goals and uncover a year of fulfillment, you’ve got to get specific about what you want and why. So yes, you should be making a list of your goals, but think hard about what you really want. I like to break things down by category based on different areas of my life - so here are some categories to get you started:
And now that you’ve got some primary areas you’d like to focus on, start adding in your specifics. And to do that, it’s important to think about why you’re setting this goal. So you should bet setting up your list with the following headings:
Column 1: Category
Column 2: Description of the goal
Column 3: “The Why” (the specific reason why you want to achieve your goal)
So, for example:
1 - Money
2 - Save an extra X dollars per month
3 - Use my additional savings per month to start investing in the stock market.
When you start to add a “why” to your goals, you are setting yourself up for a much more successful action plan. When you have a concrete reason, you’re not just setting a goal, you’re setting an intention. And don’t forget to refer back to last year’s list you made in Step 2 – seeing a list of how things played out in the previous year is going to help reevaluate and restructure your new goals!
Step 4: Make it a habit
Now that you have your goals set, it’s time to take action. But you see, the reason we sometimes get side-tracked on our goals every year is usually from feelings of overwhelm and procrastination. We may start the year feeling happy and energized, and motivated to tackle our resolutions, but as time goes on, things may naturally start to fall off. So the real trick to making sure this year is your best year yet is to lock in new, daily habits right away – seriously, the time is now! ;-)
2020 has shown us what’s possible when change is forced upon us, and we have no choice but to do things differently to adapt. So it’s important to take this lesson and apply it to your goals. Making small, habitual changes to your everyday life is what’s going to help you solidify your desires. It doesn’t matter how big or small the step is, it’s still a step in the right direction, especially if it’s intentional.
Circling back to our example from earlier, if you want to start saving extra money each month to invest in the stock market, it’s going to require change. Getting in the habit of saving even just a small amount is something that’s going to bring you closer and closer to that goal. For example, instead of buying a coffee from your local coffee shop every day, take that money and put it towards your saving. You see, there are little changes we can make daily that create a much bigger change in our life. It’s understanding that the habits that we do consistently will help us achieve our long-term goals. The habit you start today (and stick to!) could be what changes or transforms your life for the better.
So maybe 2020 was a challenging year for you. Maybe you’re ready to leave behind a year of self-doubt and fear. Maybe you’re ready for this year to be the year you awaken your limitless potential. You see, it’s our attitude toward what we see possible that enhances our personal power. And if you’re ready to really take your life to the next level this year, I urge you to get your hands on our special Limitless You pack. It contains four multi-sensory meditations for a more confident, empowered, and fulfilled you – the perfect tool to help you implement new, healthy habits for your best year yet!
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.