Setting Goals in the Wake of a Tumultuous Year

Saying this year didn’t go exactly as planned may be the understatement of 2020. Businesses that made bull-market goals and optimistic development plans had to reevaluate their vision for the year, even to the point of having a plan just to maintain some sense of normalcy within their organization.

So, as the year comes to a close, normal folks are faced with a similar choice to make when creating goals for next year: should our goals be lofty and aggressive or stay on the safe side in case 2021 is similar to 2020. And if a we fell short of our goals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should the same goals stay intact or be revised under more realistic conditions?

The best way to answer these questions is to change the way you make goals altogether by evaluating past achievements and building on that foundation.

Change to a Weekly View

Some businesses evaluate their progress through the year by comparing a week or quarter to the same period of time over the past year. While year-over-year analysis has been the norm for creating a standard of how businesses are faring, using this approach in 2020 is like comparing apples and oranges; it’s just not as relevant.

Instead, consider taking a week-over-week, month-to-month or quarterly update approach to see the progress you’ve made in your job search or career over the course of the year. Once you have strong data points, make your 2021 goals based on the growth percentages experienced this year.

Acknowledge and Make Goals Based on Little Wins

Maybe you didn’t hit the audacious goal you strived for this year, even if you were on pace to do so. But, while other job seekers or workers had to stop job searching or working entirely, you were able to make connections, get interviews or move up in your career.

Acknowledge the areas of your life that fared well during the pandemic and make 2021 goals compared to those basepoints. Build upon the little wins and look toward bringing back a sense of normalcy.

Embrace the Failures and Focus on the Future

For most, 2020 represented a year full of setbacks and struggles. Maybe you weren’t able to land a job at your dream company. Or maybe you stayed at a job you didn’t love due to the pandemic. There are real issues job seekers and workers are facing today that make optimistic goal-setting more difficult than ever. But if you are able to analyze the events of this year, chalk it up to experience, and make plans and put systems in place to protect yourself for potential future events, you can come out of this year with newfound vigor and drive.

Focus on the future: what you can control, what you can’t control, what is in your prevue to affect, what is out of your hands, etc. Embrace the setbacks of this year and walk into 2021 with resolve on plans based on past achievements. Who knows? Maybe next year will be your breakout year. As always, the best is yet to come. You just have to be ready to embrace it.

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