2020 has been a rough year for most of us and we can’t wait until the year is finally over. 2020 will be over in just a few days and we will soon usher in 2021. Personally, I’m having a lot of worries about the coming year because of the news about a variety of things that could potentially repeat what had happened in 2020.
However, despite my anxieties about what lies ahead, I know deep in my heart that regardless of what happens, we should all move forward and thrive in 2021. We are meant and built by mother nature to thrive on this planet, aren’t we?
I’m actually in the process of setting up goals for 2021 and I thought that I might as well share with you guys how I’m going through this process of my annual goal-setting. If you are also in the process of writing up your goals for 2021, read on.
Start with Gratitude
Before I write my annual goals in life, I always start by re-assessing what happened in the current year and list down all the things that I’m grateful for. Starting with a grateful heart always brings in the positive energy and the optimism that I need to move forward to my new goals.
I only wrote three simple goals last 2019 for my 2020 plans and I was able to meet 2 out of 3. I was able to grow my online selling business despite the pandemic and the slow sales. My current inventory is much bigger and I was able to build spin-off stores that will cater to my new target market.
I was also able to buy (in installment) a very small piece of land in the countryside. I don’t have any plans for it yet but it’s something that I’m very excited about.
I failed to save money this year mainly because all of my income was used to help keep me stay afloat in 2020. As I have mentioned in my previous blog posts, sales were very slow due to the pandemic but I’m optimistic that it will soon pick up by 2021.
Write Simple and SMART Goals
I have shared with you above my three goals for 2020 that I wrote last 2019. They were simple and short but the details are of course lengthy. Each of my goals follows the SMART goal setting acronym to make sure that it’s clear to me how I am going to achieve my goal. SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
If you are going to write your 2021 goals, I highly suggest that you also follow this format. For example, one of my 2020 goals was to grow my online selling business.
Specific: I want to grow my online selling business by ensuring that I have at least 30 pieces of new garments posted on my online selling account every two-weeks.
Measurable: Since I have assigned a numerical value on how much I want to post on a bi-monthly basis, it made it easier for me to know if I was meeting my target.
Attainable: I made sure that I source out new merchandise every two weeks. However, this was not possible due to the strict implementation of the lockdown policy last April – June. So in the next few months (July onwards), I made sure to exceed my target to make up for the months that I wasn’t able to source new items.
Relevant: Growing my online selling business is relevant to my overall goal in life which is to have full control of my time. Being an entrepreneur gives me the luxury to work on the times that I want to work.
Time-bound: My goal has a specific timeframe which is bi-monthly. I have to make sure that I post new inventories every two-weeks.
Alignment to Your Ultimate Goal in Life is the Key
My ultimate goal in life is to live a life that I don’t need to escape from. What do I mean by this? I want a life that is intentional, purpose-driven, sustainable, and permissionless. And to be able to achieve this, the easiest way for me I think is to become an entrepreneur. My three simple goals for 2020 were all aligned with my overall goal and of course, my 2021 goals will also be aligned to this.
After the death of some people close to me, I figured, life is too short to do multiple detours to things that are not really important to me. Of course, we have different definitions of what’s important. For me, owning my time is the most important thing in my life knowing that I have a very limited time here on Earth.
This is also why my chosen field of entrepreneurship are also things that I really enjoy and that I’m really passionate about – art and fashion.
If you haven’t figured out your ultimate goal in life, then it’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up. It took me years (decades perhaps) to understand what I really want in life. Set goals that are aligned to at least your midterm goal in life.
Create an Action Plan
After identifying your goals, it’s time to write how you’re going to make it happen. Using my personal goal for 2020 as an example again, my action plan included:
- Location of thrift stores that I needed to visit
- Dates of a scheduled visit to thrift stores
- Budget for each visit
- Backup plan in case I don’t meet the target (e.g. look for other sources of inventory or explore other towns and cities to look for more thrift stores)
Your goal is of course different from mine, but the key things to understand when writing your action plan are:
- How are you going to meet your goal?
- What are the things that you need to do in order to meet your goal?
Track Your Progress
In order to ensure that you are staying on track, I highly suggest that you track your progress. You can use a spreadsheet to do this or you can just write it down on a notepad.
Tracking your progress will also send you a warning signal if in case you’re falling behind your target output. In my case (again, given the same example above), I missed buying new inventories from March to June which meant, I missed buying (and posting) 180 pieces of garments (30 items x 2 weeks x 3 months). I used the succeeding months to make up for it.
If you don’t track your progress then you might end up with either a very good or a very bad surprise by the end of the year. It’s hard to make up for the lost output if you have very limited time to work on it.
Celebrate Milestones and Successes
Again, given one of my personal goals as an example, I celebrate my milestones every quarter. It’s not a huge celebration but rather it’s just a personal ritual that I do. It’s like patting yourself on the back for a job well done. It can be as simple as buying yourself something or treating yourself out to a nice lunch or dinner.
The important thing is, you are acknowledging the fact that you have met your goal. This is very important in habit building because no one else will do it for you.
Correct Your Mistakes as Early as Possible
Correcting your mistakes as you go along can help ensure that you meet your goal by the end of the year. As I have mentioned above, it will be very difficult for anyone to make up for the lost output in a very limited time. If you are making self-assessment monthly or quarterly, then you will be able to identify not only successes but also failures early on.
Stay Enthusiastic and Motivated
One of the reasons why we fail to meet the goals that we set for ourselves is that we run out of steam. That’s why in corporate offices, there are people and systems in place to ensure that everyone does their best in the specific task assigned to them.
However, in achieving our own goals, there’s no one to rely on to manage ourselves but ourselves. I believe that motivation is intrinsic or can be found within. However, sometimes, when we’re tired and frustrated, it takes so much effort in finding that light again within ourselves. Here’s what I do to help myself stay motivated:
Surround Yourself with Like-minded Individuals
Thanks to the internet, it’s now possible to surround yourself with people who share the same passion or goals even without meeting them personally. I usually watch a motivational video every day to help keep myself motivated. This is also one reason why I created this blog. I wanted to have constant interaction with people who are on the same journey as I am – to become financially independent.
Take a Break
Sometimes, we confuse being tired with being less motivated. Whenever we feel tired and exhausted, sometimes it feels like we want to give up whatever we’re working hard for. Take a break. Go for a walk. Sleep the whole day and pick yourself up the next day.
Sometimes we just need to take a break from whatever we are doing in order to regain our focus and energy.
Related Posts: 10 Reasons Why Sleep and Rest Help you Achieve Your Goals
Share your Success
One thing that I also do to ensure that I stay motivated is that I share my success with my family and friends. Whenever I exceed my sales target, I take them out for coffee or lunch, or dinner. It wasn’t possible though in 2020 but in previous years I usually take them out.
Sharing your success with people close to you reminds you why you’re doing all of this in the first place.
Rinse and Repeat
And then do it all over again in 2022 🙂
What are your goals this 2021? Feel free to share your thoughts, tips, and suggestions in the comment section below.