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Many people approach goal setting by choosing a few things they would like to achieve in the year ahead.  When it comes to setting goals for 2021, setting the right goals and following a proven goal setting process is the quickest route to achieve your goals.  In this guide I’m going to lay out a simple 2021 goal setting process that will make you think differently about setting goals.

To give yourself the best chance of achieving your 2021 goals, it’s important to start the process by celebrating the goals you achieved in 2020.  This gives you a confident platform to choose 2021 goals that build on your success in 2020.

It’s also important to choose 2021 goals for each area of your life that are crucially important to you.  An important additional step to consider when goal setting for 2021 is to create a clear plan of action for the first quarter of the year.

If you want to plan for 2021 effectively, use my simple goal setting process to give you the framework to achieve your biggest goals in 2021.

A proven process for 2021 goal setting 

Use this proven process to set 2021 goals.

1. Celebrate your 2020 goal achievement

The best way to start your 2021 goal setting is to celebrate your goal achievement from the past year.  Taking the time to identify your biggest accomplishments helps clarify the things that matter most and builds confidence in achieving bigger goals in 2021.

It’s important to write down every single goal you achieved in 2020 and understand why achieving the goal was important and the difference achieving that goal made in your life.

Identify the goals you achieved in every aspect of your life.  Look for common themes with the goals you achieved.  If you can compare the goals you achieved with the goals you set at the beginning of the year.

Finally, write down the five biggest goals you achieved in 2020.  Simply acknowledging what you achieved highlights your capabilities and provides the excitement and motivation to set bigger goals in 2021.

Read also: 11 crucial benefits of goal setting 

2. Identify your 2021 goals 

Choose 2021 goals for all aspects of your business life and personal life. When setting goals for 2021 ensures that your goals are clear and well defined.  Look to set goals for your business or career and every aspect of your personal life that is crucially important to you.

This could be setting goals for your finances, your health, your personal relationships and for big dreams you want to achieve in 2021.  Take the opportunity to write down every goal you want to achieve in 2021 as your starting point.

Imagine getting to the end of 2021 having achieved your goals.  This process will give you clarity on the purpose of your goals and the importance of your goals.

It will help you get clear on the future you want to create for yourself.

Read also: my full guide on setting goals.

3. Choose your top ten 2021 goals

Once you’d identified all the goals you want to achieve in 2021, the next step is to identify your most important goals.  The key to successful goal setting is to choose only your most important goals.

I suggest setting ten goals you want to achieve in 2021.  Setting too many goals can take your focus away from your most important goals and makes it more difficult to manage your time and energy.

This process also helps you clarify the goals that mean the most and will create the biggest impact in your life.

4. Make your goals measurable 

Once you’ve chosen your top ten goals for 2021, ensure that each goal has a measurement attached to it.  Without specific measurements for your 2021 goals, you have no clear destination to reach and can’t track your progress along the way.

If you really want to achieve your goals in 2021, set goals that are measurable.  The measurements you assign to each goals can be a number or an event.

By assigning measurements to your goals, you can track your progress towards achieving your goals.  These measurements give you clarity on whether you have achieved your goals or you haven’t.

Making progress on measurable goals builds motivation and momentum,  Having measurable goals also ensures you prioritise your time, energy and focus towards achieving those crucial 2021 goals.

Read more on setting measurable goals.

5. Write down your quarter one 2021 goals 

One of the most important things you can do if you want to achieve your 2021 goals is to identify the goals you want to achieve in the first quarter (January to March) of 2021.

Setting quarterly goals is a step people often miss when goal setting.

Having quarterly goals helps you identify the important projects you want to achieve in that important first quarter of the year.  Achieving your goals in the first quarter of the year will give your the confidence and motivation to achieve your bigger 2021 goals.

Identifying your quarter one goals helps you prioritise and brings a clear focus to your daily activities so you can start the year strong.

Choose five goals you want to achieve in the first quarter of 2021.   Having five breakthrough goals to work towards each day also helps to narrow focus, improves your time management and increases productivity.

Read also: 8 time management tips to manage time effectively

6. Create an action plan 

Choosing your 2021 goals is the first step.  Creating an action plan, which identifies your most important activities, is the best way to actually achieve your goals.

When you are clear on your goals you can identify a monthly, weekly and daily action plan that will help you make progress towards your goals.  Knowing the steps you need to take to achieve your goals ensures you don’t get overwhelmed or distracted.

For each of your 2021 goals work backwards from the result you want to achieve so you can set monthly, weekly and daily outcomes that move you closer towards your goals.  This process will help you schedule your most important tasks each day.

Determine what needs to happen each week to reach your goals.  Then decide what actions you need to take every day.  Finally, put your actions into a schedule so you know exactly what to do each day.

Read also: Tips on how to prioritise and stay focused

Summing up 

Use this simple 2021 goal setting process to achieve even bigger and better goals this year.  Identifying your biggest achievements from the past year will give you the confidence and motivation to set goals in 2021 that really matter to you.

By setting goals for the first quarter of 2021 you will start the year focused and ready to reach your goals.

Give this process a try and let me know how you get on in the comments.

Recommended reading 

How to set SMART goals 

The importance of writing down your goals 

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a time management coach based in Colchester, Essex, UK.  He is the Founder of time management coaching company Lucemi Consulting.  Mark provides time management coaching programs to leaders and entrepreneurs who want to free up their time to achieve bigger and better results in business and life.

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