Looking forward to 2021: Goals and Plans

I don’t know about you, but I always take some time to look backward and forward at the end of a calendar year. It is always interesting to see the twists and turns that happened during the previous year, and to take those lessons learned and apply them to the next year. After last week’s post which reflected back on 2020, I thought it would be neat to share how I take all of that and look forward into 2021.

If there is one thing I learned in 2020, – an understatement, because in reality I learned much more – it is that nothing is set in stone. The twists and turns of this past year were more like a gut-wrenching roller coaster ride, and all kinds of plans I had were thrown into disarray.

It is interesting- being a planner, the uncertainty of 2020 has led me to put MORE plans in writing, not less. However, my attitude towards those plans has completely shifted, and I think that is the most important lesson which I will take into 2021 and beyond. From a business perspective, the action of putting more of my thoughts, hopes, and yes, plans, on paper has really forced me to cast vision farther into the future, and that is what I will be focusing on this coming year.

It’s been said that the difference between goals and dreams is that a goal requires action. The act of sitting down and intentionally setting goals (personal and professional) by definition makes dreams attainable. I like to have both long-term and short-term goals. For some people, breaking down a big goal into smaller, more achievable pieces helps. Even having a daily to-do list (which, let’s be honest, can sometimes be a ‘goal’ or a ‘dream’!!!) helps because it helps identify which of your daily activities are helping you achieve your long-term goals, and which are not. Although there are always things that have to be done (laundry, for one, never seems to be moved OFF my to-do list), it is good to be intentional and make sure there is at least one thing on your daily list which is helping you achieve a goal.

So, all this talk of planning, lists, and goal-setting can sound very optimistic…and I think THAT is where my application of the hard lessons learned in 2020 comes in. Goals are just that- goals. Just because they’re on paper, you did not fail at a goal if you didn’t achieve it in a particular timeline. It just becomes a goal for a different time frame. Unexpected things happen. Little and big events can throw timelines into disarray and leave one feeling like a failure. I don’t think I ever cross everything off my daily to-do list! The point is: don’t stop setting goals. Obstacles will come, timelines will shift, but it is always important to grow and move forward- around, over, or through the obstacles.

Here at STM, we have some big goals for 2021. While we may not reach every single one by December 31, our daily actions will be intentionally focused on getting us to those ‘mile markers’ we set back in December 2020. And that, in itself, will mark our growth this year.

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