New Year, New Goals

  • Posted on: 1 January 2021
  • By: Leonard Shostak

As we start a new year in the Gregorian calendar (hello, 2021), many of us make resolutions and set goals for the upcoming year(s). We do this to help ourselves guide our personal and work lives into the future with some sort of a plan.

After reading the description of a coaching workshop (a Facebook event) I was going to attend, I suddenly I realized that I had not even thought of my goals for 2021; and none of my clients had brought it up.

Granted, we have all been under lots of stress, and every day seems more surreal than the previous. Maybe it’s the project manager in me, but I believe - to live a rewarding life - it’s still important to reflect on the past year, adjust previous goals or create new ones, develop plans and timetables, and monitor our progress.

During the coaching workshop, my group discussed why each of us makes sure to set resolutions and goals that are actually attainable. While we agreed it is a general critical success factor every year, we also looked at how much more important it is to do so to help us get through the stresses of quarantine, political instability, and who knows what else that each of us has had / is still having to deal with.

We also talked about how so many goals and resolutions fell through in 2020; and how those “failures” impacted our own and our clients' morale. Obviously, it’s not a “failure” if something out of our control makes it impossible to attain a goal. But, if you’re like me, I’m more motivated when I've reached goals; I can get down on myself when I haven't. Unless I “unpack” it, it doesn’t matter whether it was my fault or out of my hands. “I should’ve done better” plays in my head.

Having so many extra unknowns in 2021 compared to a normal year made the workshop participants wonder how we can best support our clients in 2021. What do we need to do differently?A lot of it was still the same: Think about the resolutions and goals that you’ve set in the past and how those can be adapted to the coming year. Only now the coming year is “a whole new world” that requires much more (or less?) robust contingency plans.

With 400,000+ Americans dying (and counting), loss of work or massive changes to how we complete it, financial hardships, and closer living arrangements, I believe this will take some more time, effort, and specificity.

That is truly okay because we constantly change as we grow and are exposed to more and more information. When setting your goals/resolutions ask yourself, “What does my body and energy tell me about how I feel about the resolution / goal? Is it giving me a ‘fuck yeah,’ a ‘fuck no,’ or something in between? And why?”

When we experience setbacks and run into roadblocks, let’s remember that this is a brave new world; and, therefore, we must be patient and compassionate with ourselves.

It is also good practice to plan—and then actually spend—time throughout the year to reevaluate how things are going and adjust accordingly, perhaps at the end of each month or every quarter. Remember, the whole purpose of setting goals and resolutions is to improve ourselves—not to stress ourselves out even more! (That’s what family is for!)