How to set goals for 2021 (that you can actually stick to!)

We made it through 2020, which was the year that many of us would like to forget. However you want to say it, we have finally said goodbye to 2020. 

And now that we’re into 2021, it’s time to start setting out our new goals for the year, goals that we can actually achieve and keep well beyond January 31. We’ve all been here before. We know that setting our goals is the easy part, while seeing them through is where things can get a little tough.

So, how do you set goals that you can really keep? Artist and visionary Pablo Picasso put it succinctly, saying, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

So, put your own goals into focus and as Picasso says, create a workable plan that sets you on the track to success for the year ahead. Here's how to set some goals that you can actually achieve throughout the year.

Know what goals you want to achieve

Be specific: razor sharp specific. Don't start your mission with a statement such as ‘I want to save the world’ or ‘I will clean the world’s oceans’. (Don’t get us wrong, they’re both amazing goals), consider starting small. Maybe you and your family can become a foster pet parent, or register yourself and some friends to participate in Clean Up Australia Day in March 2021 (let's hope this event does still go ahead this year!). Making specific goals that are actually achievable will mean that you not only know exactly what to do, but you’re able to reward yourself when you undoubtedly achieve your goal. 

Set realistic goals

Whether your goals are about your state of mind (maybe you want to meditate more), or your healthy body (you might be aiming to ‘up’ your exercise routine), or your connectedness (perhaps you want to see your friends more often) you should focus on setting yourself realistic goals. As with everything else, start out slowly and responsibly and always be kind to yourself. 

Set yourself goals that are simple, yet realistic. For example, if better health is your goal, try drinking at least 1.5 litres of water each day and cutting down the size of your afternoon cheeseboard (add some grapes and cherries to that brie and Stilton!). If you want to aim to meditate, start off with 15 minute sessions daily and work your way up. If you want to be more connected, make a short list of people you want to visit and make some time to see them, ring them or even Zoom or FaceTime them. Start small and you’ll be able to notice the gradual changes, while you get into your groove. 

Set measurable goals 

This might sound similar to being realistic with your goals, but it's also important to make sure that your goals are measurable and moveable. Let’s say you’re comfortably walking 30 minutes, five days a week. You’re feeling good because you’ve stuck to a goal and you’re feeling great with all those extra endorphins running through your system.

Now you've achieved that goal - don't stop there! You can reset this particular goal and now walk for at least 45 minutes, five days a week. Or change your route and walk up the big hill, rather than around it. The point is, once you’ve achieved your goal, you can put a great big green tick next to it and set a new goal that challenges you just that little bit further. When your goals are moveable, you’re able to work towards different goals, as you achieve the previous one. It’s never a ‘one and done’ approach.

Track your progress

Now that you’ve got your achievable and measurable goals, make sure you track them! Use an app, or write them down. However you do it, make sure you are actively tracking your small (or big) steps towards achieving your goals for 2021. Give yourself a great big green tick or a shiny unicorn sticker. Even consider creating a goal jar, putting $10 in every week towards an end of the year (or end of the season) treat for yourself.

If you slip up, get back on track

We all drop the ball sometimes and it’s no different with our goals. Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” If you miss a workout, eat too much, miss out on an opportunity or otherwise slip up, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, simply move on, “forgive” yourself and focus on the next positive step. 

Most importantly, do whatever works for you

Setting goals makes you feel like you are achieving things, and moving forward in life. Use the S.M.A.R.T goal setting principle; make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Focus on setting your personal goals and follow the steps above to enable you to achieve more in 2021 and make this year your best year ever. After all, you deserve it!

So, get fit, get healthy, stay connected, save money or even take a staycation holiday And while you are setting goals, get your life plans in order too. Whether it’s updating or making a will, checking your superannuation provider to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your retirement savings, or looking into insurance, no one is better equipped than you to start the process. Just make sure you get advice from a professional if you need to.

Life insurance can be one way to give you the peace of mind you need to keep your goals on track, as your financial position will be one less thing your family needs to worry about, if you were to pass away.

Estimate the level of cover you need to make sure your family is looked after if you were no longer there to provide for them. Try the Real Life Insurance Calculator today.