2020 has been a crazy year and many people are looking forward to the new year as a reset or a clean slate for new beginnings. Even if COVID is still around, turning to a new calendar year brings renewed hope and possibilities. After 2020, some would argue that it is not worth making goals for the new year because of all the changes and unpredictability in 2020. I feel differently about this – I believe that it is important to make goals in order to keep moving forward with what you hope to accomplish and work towards. Here are some guiding questions to consider as you are making plans and setting goals for 2021:
What are the areas of your life where you want to set goals?
It is necessary to take time to consider the areas of your life that you want to set goals or establish habits. Some of the areas in my life that I consider when making yearly goals are: teaching, writing, family, and fitness. If you are in school, you may want to set goals for the different courses you are taking. Or, if you will be student teaching, you may want to set goals for yourself during this time.
What concrete actions would help you accomplish your goals?
Many people set new year’s resolutions, but few people keep them past January. The problem with resolutions or goals is that they are often too abstract rather than put into concrete steps or actions that can be easily put into action or followed. For example, if you have the goal to study more during the new year, this will be challenging to carry out because the actions you will need to take in order to study more are not set. Instead, try being more specific. So, rather than “study more” – your goals can be to complete your readings for a particular class from 5:00-7:00PM each weekday. This way, you are specific about the work that you need to do as well as when you plan to complete that work.
How will you hold yourself accountable?
You have your goals set! Now, how will you hold yourself accountable to complete the goals that you set for yourself? Do you need an accountability partner – someone to help hold you accountable for the goals you set? Or, do you need a system to track and monitor whether or not you are completing the goals or sticking to the habits that you set? Ben Franklin tracked the virtues that he wanted to uphold in his life and then at the end of each day, he would reflect or note which virtues he upheld. I find a tracking system helps me monitor how I am doing with the goals and habits I am trying to maintain in my own life. When I am not able to uphold a particular habit towards a goal, I am able to consider why and make changes necessary so I can get back on track.
Before 2021 hits, take some time to consider what you hope to accomplish during the new year. I am wishing you a happy, healthy, and productive 2021!