Simplify your Goals for 2021

Does planning goals for 2021 seem overwhelming? It was to me. That’s why this year I decided to simplify.

I don’t make traditional New Year’s Resolutions, but I do like to work towards some sort of resolution. The difference is that instead of just naming my resolution at midnight I create steps to achieve a specific goal. These steps are more than a path, they are actionable items that can be measured and celebrated as accomplishments.

However, these days time slips by so fast. And my mind is in a bit of a fog. I’m not sure I have the concentration to complete anything big or long term. And although the idea of accomplishments sounds encouraging, when steps are missed they can act opposite and be discouraging.

So, I asked myself the following questions in order to come up with a simple and achievable goal. Notice how they start out broad and narrow down as they go. Think of it as a funnel. Ask yourself the questions over again if necessary to dig deeper.

Beyond 2021, what do I want to accomplish?

I could make a long list. I believe in constantly learning and improving. Plus, I have several hobbies, and I’m always thinking of opening a small book shop. But, ultimately, my dream is to be a published writer. There are no guarantees to getting traditionally published. And if I decide to go the self-published route again, I want my next work to be better than the last.

What do I need to do make this happen?

Once again I could make a long list like querying and securing an agent. Or editing and artwork. Or research and plotting. And of course, in order to be a published writer, I have to first be a writer, which means I have to 1. write and 2. write well.

Based on the above, what goals should I set?

My two goals are to write more and to write well.

How do I make this achievable?

I don’t have it in me to commit to a writing routine at the moment. For now, I’m going to concentrate on writing well and then later in the year concentrate on writing more. In order to write better, I will seek out writing advice on blogs, like Nathan Bransford, and read writing craft books. I will also read at least one popular book from each genre, and multiple books from genres I write in.

How do I make this measurable?

Since most of this involves reading, I have set my Goodreads 2021 reading goal at 40 books. This is something I already track, so it will be easy to keep up with throughout the year. I have also subscribed to several newsletters and will read at least one of these a week. I plan to revisit my goals in June and update as necessary.

Final thoughts

I could add rewards and punishments and will probably do so when I revisit it in June.

The way I simplified my goals for 2021 was to be honest with myself. These same questions are good for any goal-setting, work or personal. The key is to be honest with yourself about what you want and what you will commit to. Don’t set a goal that you won’t put in the effort to achieve. You’re training your brain to ignore yourself.

And in times of struggle, and pandemics, go easy on yourself. If like me, you can only commit to small changes, then let that be your goals for 2021. Be happy to at least be aiming at something.

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