Work Goals You Can Actually Achieve in 2021

A planner with goals written in it sits on a wood desk next to a green plant, a candle, a laptop, and a blue pen.

How you can set yourself up for success in 2021?

Undoubtedly, your work goals will look a bit different for 2021, as working from home has become the defacto working arrangement for so many of us. But maybe we can use this unconventional working period to determine the actions we can take to feel more fulfilled, excited, and motivated in the new year.

Below, we’ve listed work goals that can help develop your career in a holistic way. Whether it’s getting organized and boosting your productivity or learning to communicate and bounce back from failure, these goals will make 2021 a good one.

When mapping out your work goals, make sure to use the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based. If you’d like, pick one or two items below to work on each month. The key is to start off small and slowly build a cozy, manageable routine. Then, once you get the hang of it, you can add more actions and build progress. 

Good luck and here’s to a happy, fulfilling, and healthy new year. 

Develop a morning routine

Countless articles have been devoted to the morning routines of successful people and for good reason. Morning routines can boost productivity, cultivate mindfulness, and make you feel happier and fulfilled. 

But don’t worry, you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to benefit. You can select one or two options below to start off small and build your morning routine. You’ll be on your way to a mindful and productive day in no time. 

  • Journal for 15-20 minutes and write down any thoughts that are occupying your mind. You can address things that you’re excited about or concerns about upcoming tasks. By articulating your thoughts on paper, you can work through what’s weighing on you. You can also use your journal for pep talks and get psyched for the day ahead.
  • Using your 2021 planner, check-in with your goals and create a to-do list of your top priorities
  • Start off the day on a thankful note and express what you’re grateful for in our Gratitude Journal.
  • Get some fresh air and go for a morning walk. 
  • Meditate or do yoga to ease into your day.

Set quarterly goals

Quarterly goals aren’t just for corporate offices. Breaking down your big, dream goal into 3-month increments can help you stay on track and make regular progress on your goal. 

Why do quarterly goals work? Because let’s face it, we’ve all set goals for the year, only to have forgotten about them come February. Creating mini goals for each quarter makes them easier to keep track of and achieve. Plus, it’s easier to recalibrate your goals after 90 days, rather than waiting an entire year to see what went wrong. And the positive feeling you’ll get from reaching your quarterly goals will motivate you to keep going. 

For example, let’s say your dream goal is to work and live in a new country. But maybe you’ve never realized this goal because it seems overwhelming. You have to find an overseas job, score housing, and on top of that, you might have to learn a new language.

Here’s how you can break down this big goal into quarterly goals:

Use our 3-month planner and list your top priorities for the next three months. You can devote one quarter to job searches. So, for the next three months, you would commit to:

  • Looking up overseas companies in your field
  • Researching American companies with international locations 
  • Developing contacts on LinkedIn
  • Talking to people with international jobs and ask them how they got started

And then for the next quarter, you can tackle the next set of priorities. Maybe it’s learning a new language or acquiring new skills.

Setting 3-month goals ensures that you’re making regular progress on your goals. This is also a great method for people working on big projects. 

Set yourself up for a promotion

Thanks to your 3-month planner, you’ll have your quarterly accomplishments readily on hand. At the end of each quarter, take stock of any new skills and experience you’ve acquired. Then, make sure these are reflected in your resume and LinkedIn profile. It will be hard for managers not to notice all the hard work you’ve been putting in.

Learn new skills for your ideal job

They say dress for the job you want, but it’s also helpful to develop skills for the job you want.

Do you want a job in social media? See if you can help out with your company’s social media account and slowly build up your resume that way. Or sign up for social media and marketing classes on Skillshare or General Assembly.

You can also look at job descriptions of your ideal positions, make a list of common skills they’re looking for, and either brush up on those skills or develop them.

You can also learn a new skill that’s not exactly aligned with your job, but would contribute to your personal development. If you’ve always wanted to learn French, go for it. Have you always wanted to try creative writing? Take an online class. You never know, these new skills could come in handy at your current job.  But more than that, they’ll be personally fulfilling.

Set aside time each week to learn your skill and keep track of your progress in your 2021 planner or 3-month planner. Soon, you’ll be surprised to see just how far along you’ve come. 

Have regular check-ins with manager or employees

Now that many of us are working from home, we can’t rely on office gatherings or water-cooler conversations to check-in and foster relations. In the new year, commit to having regular check-ins with colleagues. Whether it’s a weekly team meeting or a bi-weekly personal meeting, you’ll foster relationships and open channels of communication. 

You can maximize your meetings with a 1:1 notepad. This helpful tool gives structure to your meetings. There’s a Topics section where you can write down agenda items so colleagues can come in prepared. There's also a section where you can write down next steps and action items. This ensures that your meeting ends on a productive note and makes it easy to refer to when you need to follow up. 

Learn from mistakes 

Whether it’s missing an important deadline or getting frustrated at a colleague or getting rejected by a dream job, we’ve all made mistakes and experienced failure on the job. 

Rather than sulking or getting frustrated with yourself, take the time to gently reflect on the problem. You can use our Lessons Learned Notepad as a way to examine the issue. The pad incorporates the “5 Whys” technique to help you dig deep and find out what’s underneath the feelings, and what’s really at the heart of the issue.

In the new year, we can’t guarantee that we won’t make any mistakes (after all, we’re only human!) but we can set out to gain clarity and become more resilient.

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