Ah, 2020. At the beginning of the year, it held so much hope and promise. (In fact, here are my literal words from my post called “3 Things to Do Before Setting Your 2020 Goals”:
It feels so promising, so hopeful, so exciting.
That was then! And now, it’s almost become a trite saying … using #2020 as an eye-rolling explanation for why something didn’t get done or isn’t ideal. Let’s be honest, it’s been a hard year. There has been enormous suffering in the world, from COVID itself, job loss and mental health issues and other concerns because of COVID, racial and social injustice, negativity in the media. There are many things that might have derailed you from your 2020 goals.
Though it might be tiring to revisit your 2020 goals, I actually think this is the perfect year to review what you’ve accomplished. In the face of so much adversity, whatever you did accomplish deserves even more celebration. And if you didn’t accomplish certain goals, you get to learn your tendences for when the wheels come off. What falls first? Do you want to change that?
Before I get started sharing how to review your goals (especially in an ”interesting” year like this one), please know that this is not meant to be a judgment on your character, your self-worth, or your success as a human. Heck, if you’re reading this, you’re alive, which is a wonderful celebration in itself. And sometimes, it’s OK if that’s all you can manage. So, use the review as a way to guide yourself in the future, not a way to beat yourself up for anything in the past. Life is too short for that!
How to review your goals before the deadline
The single most important factor in me achieving most of my goals is my weekly goal review. EVERY. SINGLE. SUNDAY, no matter what, I take out my spreadsheet of yearly goals and measure my progress towards them. I measure how many clients I served that week, how much social media time I had, how many hours I slept, and so much more. I don’t beat myself up over not hitting each one, but I do consider a miss as a point of redirect, reminding me to stay focused on that goal for the upcoming week. So, if you haven’t already built in a weekly goal review, do it now!
If you feel you’re falling significantly off track to a goal (say … purely hypothetically speaking 😉 … that you had the goal of 50 in-person speaking engagements … and then COVID hit …), don’t give up! There’s almost always a way to adjust the goal to achieve a similar end.
Personally, for the speaking example, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit 50 in-person speaking engagements given the situation, but I easily pivoted my goal to be 50 in-person or virtual speaking engagements. No matter that I had literally never given a virtual speaking engagement! I developed some incredible presentations, learned about how to use polls, chat, Q&A, and more to engage an audience virtually, started marketing myself in brand new ways, and exceeded the goal of 50 presentations, even when it would have been easier to throw up my hands in defeat.
Let’s be honest, I’m not perfect at practicing what I preach. Another one of my goals was to disconnect from work and connect with Kevin for our 10-year anniversary trip in St. Lucia. Of course, the trip was cancelled, but what I could have done in hindsight was planned a few special at-home date nights, disconnect from work, and still achieved the same feeling (with less of a tan and a few less beachside novels). I didn’t, and worked right through, but when I realized that and it came time for our second cancelled trip (to Malibu), I planned a “Malibu night” at home, where we grilled food that we regularly eat when we’re in Malibu, I had a California road sign and Malibu t-shirt ordered in for him, and even got a lawn game that we regularly play in Malibu shipped to our house. It was a blast, and we were both so glad we settled for Plan B instead of declaring it a loss all together.
How to review your goals at or after the (original) deadline
If you haven’t yet established the weekly goal review, that’s OK! Even though 2020 might be nearly at a close, it’s still a great time to review your progress towards your goals.
If the goal flat out didn’t happen, the first and most important step is to forgive yourself. Goals are awesome, and they contribute greatly to helping us achieve what we want in life. However, they’re not everything. Like I said before, you’re alive, and I don’t mean that tritely at all … it’s a great accomplishment this year. So, forgive yourself first.
Second, learn what you can. There are common reasons why we might not have reached our goals, including:
- The goals you set were too lofty.
- You weren’t truly passionate about your goals.
- You made great progress but didn’t quite get across the line.
- You didn’t have support.
- You didn’t believe in yourself, or you got negative along the way.
Which of those reasons, or other reasons, apply to your goal?
Finally, decide to remove the goal all together if it just doesn’t suit you anymore. This is NOT a failure, and is in fact, a success! Why strive for things that no longer matter? Save yourself the time and effort! If it’s still important but just didn’t get done, consider revising the timeline. There’s nothing wrong with switching the last 0 in 2020 to a 1 and aiming to get it done in 2021 (or in 2 months, or whatever time is right for you!). And if it’s not just the timing, but the goal itself needs to change, feel free to adjust the goal itself, while retaining the meaning behind it. Wanted to spend 3 hours per week with various colleagues in a social capacity, but now feel your time with family is more meaningful? Switch up that goal, switch up the deadline, and preserve the meaning of advancing yourself and creating the life you want.
Goals are flexible, as long as we’re aware of what is happening, what’s preventing us from reaching them, and what our motives are to achieve them.
One more reminder … goal achievement does not embody your self-worth. We can always learn and grow, and challenging ourselves is wonderful, but let’s not get so hard on ourselves that we hinder our forward motion. Here’s to achieving, revising, and being flexible with our goals in 2021!
Now it’s your turn … What is one goal that you met in 2020? What’s one goal that you didn’t, and how will you handle it after reading this?