Set your annual goals to make 2021 a better year

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2020 was a punch to the gut for most of us. I doubt anyone finished the year and said that was an awesome year.

Some things perhaps went better for you. While other parts of your life were derailed during 2020.

Personally, 2020 was a mixed bag for me — some good and a little bad. I cannot complain many people had a tougher year than me.

None the less, I want 2021 to be a better you for me. I bet that you do as well.

I am sharing the process I use for setting my annual goals. Hopefully, it helps you make 2021 a better year than in 2020.

This week I am discussing why you should write your goals down, and review them on a regular basis.

I believe writing down your goals will greatly increase your likelihood of achieving them.

At the beginning of each year, I spend time codifying my goals. I recommend you do something similar.

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I use PowerPoint to record my annual goals.

Some of you are shaking your heads — thinking to yourself that writing down your goals is a waste of time.

You are wrong!

Research shows that people who write down their goals are much more likely to achieve them than those who don’t.

Here is a link to an article about the research.

You become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

Dr. Gail Matthews’ research

Main question — what is the best method for writing down your goals? There are multiple known methods such as the SMART framework.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
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Some of you are probably familiar with this framework from work. It is a good one.

I have to admit that I don’t use it for setting my personal goals.

Instead, I stick with short statements that describe what I am trying to achieve. Simple works best for me.

The reality is that there is no best method for how to write down your goals.

Do whatever works best for you.

If you are a visual person, perhaps you prefer a vision board. Great. I am a big fan of using images to help me remember my goals.

The one main recommendation I will make is to be as specific as you can.

Don’t write a soft and squishy goal like I want to exercise more this year. Instead, define the details so that you can measure your progress.

No need for me to look like this guy
No need for me to look like this guy
Don’t set squishy goals for 2021.

For example — I want to read more this year and watch less tv.

Last year I watched more television than I normally do. As much as I would like to think that the travel videos I watch on YouTube are educational.

All that tv does not make me smarter. I bet it is having the opposite effect.

Instead, I want to spend more time reading, so I set the goal of reading at least one book a month.

I created a simple slide that will help me track my progress. A little accountability goes a long way.

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Even with COVID I only read three books last year.

Last month I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. It was excellent.

Full of interesting ideas and practical advice for how to build good habits and break bad ones.

I am already implementing some of his recommendations. I am off to a good start. Sure hope I can keep it up next few months.

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Excellent book — I recommend it.

Write down your goals.

This step alone will greatly increase your likelihood of success.

It is that simple.

And I think we all want more success this year. If you have not set your goals for 2021 — get busy. It is almost February and the first quarter of the year will be over before you know it.

I am Doug Keating and this is my letter to sons.

Like this article — find more like it

I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.

Leader and learner. Father of two young men. Novice blogger,, Founder of All The Way Leadership!

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