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goal setting 2021 blog post

Goal setting for 2021? Here’s what you need to ask

This time of year, holiday parties are in full swing and many of us are getting ready to set goals for the year ahead. It’s one of my favourite things to do during the holidays. Not to be confused with creating new year’s resolutions. 😉

Whether you plan on doing this for yourself or at work with your team, research has shown the benefits of goal setting from improved overall mental health to increased productivity and motivation in the workplace.

Before you get started setting your goals for 2021 if you’re looking for a way to celebrate the end of the year with your team at work, check out this post here.

New Year’s resolutions tend to get a bad wrap because they often lose steam a few months later and in some cases, as early as a few weeks. Likely because they weren’t strong enough, to begin with, and the intention behind it was lacking. 

Edward Locke, a leader in goal-setting theory found that 90% of the time when goals are set correctly, are specific and challenging, lead to higher performance compared to goals that are easy and/or generic such as a goal to do your best.

This means higher performance in the workplace AND I would add in life! I’ll also add the clearer your goals are and with the right intention and energy, they’ll also help make your goals more sustainable.

The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. 

– Michelangelo

With a global pandemic this year, so many of us had to put plans and some of our goals on the back burner for a variety of reasons. Whether you knew how to pivot and still set out to achieve your goals or not.

Heading into 2021, don’t let the uncertainty stop you in your tracks from setting out what you dream of doing. No matter how big or small your goals, they deserve to see the light of day by YOU making them happen.

When setting your goals for 2021, here are a few questions to ask to set yourself up for success amid uncertainty:

  1. What’s important about this goal right now? When we’re setting goals for the year ahead, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new year and 12 months ahead of you. We want to be crystal clear on why we’re setting goals, both short and long term and allow for some flexibility to adjust as needed. Is this a goal that is meaningful for me or am I setting it because I think I should achieve it? Is this a goal I can build upon later but work towards in the immediate term?

There’s no shame in questioning and challenging your beliefs when you’re creating your goals. It’ll help you create your plan to get there so you maintain momentum. Understanding their importance is also helpful so you’re creating meaningful goals that don’t fall off a month from now. In the immediate term, it helps you to stay in the present and plan accordingly while still having the flexibility to build long-term.

2. What’s within my control to help me achieve this goal? This is an important question to ask as we continue to come out of a global crisis. Restrictions look different for everyone depending on where you are in the world and depending on how big your goals are, this question allows you to get perspective and keep your options open. Note that this can apply to both your short and long-term goals. What can I do currently that takes me closer to achieving my goal? If you find yourself closing in on your options, (can’t travel, limited in-person events, etc.) be sure you’re not shutting down options that take you outside your comfort zone!! That’s where the growth happens, so dare to consider opportunities that stretch you to help you achieve your goals.

3. When do I want to complete this goal? This one’s a tough one for me personally as someone who doesn’t enjoy working with hard deadlines. In an uncertain time, while things continue to unfold, timelines can also be a bit challenging to work with, yet they still serve a purpose. The importance of having a timeline or date for when you want to achieve your goal gives you direction and allows you to focus on what you’re working towards. Otherwise, it’s like saying you want to do something with no real commitment to do it at all and with no time in mind.

4. How will you hold yourself accountable? Now that you’ve created your goals, how will you hold yourself to them? How will you measure progress? Creating goals is one thing, executing on them is another. This is where commitment, boundaries, time and focus all come into play. Be realistic and honest with yourself about how you’ll hold yourself accountable. Don’t be afraid to ask for support if you need it along the way or an accountability partner to check in with as you progress.

With these reflective questions to help you create goals for 2021, be sure to write them down! Your success in achieving your goals increases when you put pen to paper.

Make setting your goals a fun practice! This shouldn’t be a chore or a bore for that matter but something to look forward to. Do it with a friend and inspire each other to soar to greater heights as you plan for the year ahead.

Now, I’d love to hear from you!!

Do you set goals for yourself? If so, do you have a practice or ritual you do when creating them? (markers? fancy paper? …tell me what you do below!)

Wishing you a happy holiday wherever you are in the world and sending enormous love for a healthy and happy 2021.


Lisa De Nicola

Lisa De Nicola is an Intuitive Leadership Coach and a Corporate Magic Maker (a Trusted Advisor who believes in Magic) dedicated to helping businesses bring out the essence of their biggest resource - their people. She coaches bold leaders to help them become the Director of their life so they can do business and life on their terms. With 15 + years of corporate experience working in the world of talent for multi-national, global organizations, Lisa shares her knowledge, spiritual tools, practices and business insights to leaders looking to transform the way they lead from the inside out.

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  • Thanks for this!! I am excited about considering the accountability piece for my goals this year—which I hadn’t before. I am quite focused on the process of setting and achieving goals. However, I will find an accountability partner for 2021 which will make the process more fun at the very least.

    • That’s awesome to hear Jenn! It’s a great little nudge to have when you feel like you need it. I set mine up too already for the first part of the new year. This year I’m going in with a different lens too. I find when you have a shift in perspective, it shapes your goals as well!

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