It is safe to assume that everyone would agree that 2020 was one of the most challenging and trying years in living memory. Millions of people had to change their daily lives to try and slow the spread of the pandemic to save lives potentially. For some, that meant switching to remote work, and others stayed on the front lines to keep essential services open. Work was more demanding than usual last year, but a new year has arrived with new opportunities and possibilities for working professionals. 2021 is here, and looking into the future may be daunting considering the year we just finished, but there are ways to have a great 2021 despite 2020. Here are a few ways to set goals and get your 2021 started on the right foot so you can have a great year and leave the hardest parts of 2020 behind you while keeping the lessons learned. Anyone can start their professional year right with smart goals, planning, and the determination to make 2021 better than 2020 in the ways you can personally control, irrespective of whatever 2021 brings your way.
Stop, Think, And Plan
It is only natural to have desires for the future, but it takes some extra thinking and effort to turn those desires into goals you can strive towards. A general desire to do better at work is an excellent theme for a year, but it is hard to tell when or if you have fulfilled that desire. Sit down with a piece of paper to write out your desires, and then think about how you can shape them into more concrete goals. It may be easier to start with more extensive, grander goals and then break them down into smaller stepping stone goals you can accomplish throughout the year. Do not set your goals too high, as you will only end up disappointed. Progress takes time, and not all progress must be massive or game-changing to be meaningful. 2020 was a challenging year, so it is perfectly acceptable to aim for goals you know you can achieve rather than shoot for the stars, as we could all use easy wins this year.
One of the best things to do in the new year is aim to improve your work environment. There are a slew of different ways to improve your work environment depending on what you feel is most imperative for you. What might make one person happier at work in 2021 might not help a different person as much. Think about what changes would help you the most and develop ways to get those changes enacted. If you could use a new desk and light for your home office, you can buy that yourself or expense it if your work allows, but other changes may require working with other people. Improving your work’s safety management system is a fantastic idea that is often overlooked. Still, you will likely need to work with managers and other coworkers to get the project done correctly. If you want to change or improve any aspect of your work life that only affects you, go for it, but you will need help and approval for any more extensive or systemic changes.
Planners For More Than Productivity
When most people think of a daily planner, they imagine only using it for productivity, organization, and professional uses, but there are many more ways to use a planner. There is a planner style or targeted format for every goal, professional or otherwise. Joy journals help you remember the positive aspects of life by writing down the right things and planning to work through the bad events. Daily intentions and affirmations in journals or mentally can help improve your mental state, which makes you more capable of tackling your other goals. Your affirmations or intentions do not have to be ultra profound or impactful. Simple goals like “don’t skip lunch today” may feel small, but they are the first stepping stones towards tackling larger goals. You cannot jump to the larger, harder goals without the foundation of smaller goals propping you up and giving you the skills you need. The new year has arrived, and 2020 is officially behind us, but the memory and lessons of the past year are still with us. We can use the hardships from last year to push us forward this year as everyone strives to make 2021 a better year. Stop, think, and plan what you want to do this year, but make sure your plan is reasonable and attainable. Try to improve your work environment in whatever ways make the most sense for you. You can tackle individual projects on your own, but more considerable workplace changes will require teamwork. Use different types of planners to guide your mental state and work through problems. Celebrate the good and make smaller goals to gradually improve your life as we get started with 2021.