Refocusing Your 2021 Goals
By Dani Keast, Project Manager, cStor
Taking Stock of 2020
I started my goals list for 2021 by first looking at the list I made in 2020. My business goals were a list of four. I wanted to enthusiastically give them all that green checkmark of accomplishment, but unfortunately, I couldn’t. The one goal I did not accomplish of those four is the only one that sticks out. It’s mocking me. Its type is in large font, it is bold, underlined, italicized and suddenly in red ink. At a moment that I should be thrilled with completing three career-oriented goals, I am beating myself up over the one that is unfinished. Sometimes we fall a little short of perfect, especially if that goal was in 2020.
There was a Forbes article this past month that referenced setting goals for the new year. The article is a great jumping-off point for your own list, and I highly recommend it. One point that forced me to refocus was where Joan Michelson wrote, “To develop your 2021 goals, it may be tempting to just grab your 2020 goals, and update them… I urge you to try another way this time, especially after all the upheaval of 2020, because it gave each of us an opportunity – even forced us – to reexamine our goals, plans, careers, perspectives, relationships and priorities.”
I think the term ‘upheaval of 2020’ speaks loudest, and updating that unfinished goal was exactly the plan I had in mind. I can scratch through “2020” easily; all I have to do is put ‘2021’ over the original text. Though I’ll admit, that doesn’t give me the opportunity to reexamine anything. If I do force myself to reexamine this past year, it’s easy to see that businesses looked a lot different in 2020. For instance, we had to increase our safety efforts; we had to make changes and adapt to a new type of “average working day.” Our co-workers began working remotely, and we started wearing masks around team members, using phone and online conference tools, forgoing in-person meetings, etc. What lessons did that teach our company? What perspectives were gained?
For now, I can let that one unfinished goal mock me, but it won’t prevent me from my new, redefined goals. Instead of kicking myself for the goal I didn’t complete (or rewriting a new completion date and pretending 2020 didn’t happen), I’m taking Ms. Michelson’s advice to go another way.
Regroup, Reprioritize and Reexamine
In Project Management, we use the term “Lessons Learned” to conclude an engagement. It’s the section of closure where we focus on both the negatives and positives we learned through the project’s lifecycle. Now, if I were to attempt to draft all the “Lessons Learned” for 2020, it would easily take me a month. Instead, let’s regroup, reprioritize and reexamine. That singular incomplete goal can be kept as my “negative lessons learned;” the act of not accomplishing something can teach you a valuable lesson. However, I’m not going to settle for positive lessons learned. I’m renaming my positives, “Bonus Achievements: The lessons we never knew we would need.” That reenergizing name can now sit next to my rude, mocking, unaccomplished goal. It can have its own bold, italicized type – this time in purple, my favorite color.
2020 Bonus Achievements:
- All projects completed with our clients’ and employees’ safety as a priority
- Transformed multiple onsite engagements to successful remote projects
- Helped essential businesses stay open
- Stayed connected with my team, even from far apart
- Remained positive
That list is exactly the list I needed to see after a year like this. I can confidently say that even throughout those stressful situations, we were able to work together with our clients through some of our most challenging projects. All of those completed engagements, the ones we finished together this year, should go in your ‘Bonus Achievements’ category. When you are drafting up your goals list, whether it’s business-oriented, company-driven, or otherwise, I urge you to acknowledge these and all of your ‘Bonus Achievements.’ Build your 2021 goals list based on the perspectives gained and the priorities realized.