There’s no doubting 2021 has been turned on its head. Those New Year’s resolutions which you set might have well and truly gone out the window. But that doesn’t mean the rest of 2021 is a throwaway. While no doubt different to what you planned, the goals which you set for the remainder of the year can still keep you on track and guide you through 2021 as it continues to unfold. Maybe if you have never set goals before, this extended time at home is your cue to start building your goal-setting capabilities.
But why is goal setting so important? For starters, goal setting is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable and improve self-discipline. Goals provide structure and a source of motivation to keep persisting and reach your potential. Setting goals can give you a sense of power and control throughout periods of unexpected disruption.
Goals are a great way to bring your visions into reality and are important to have in times of uncertainty, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time to leverage those adaptability skills which COVID-19 has fine-tuned and apply it to your goal setting strategy!
Goal setting 101
You might have heard of the acronym SMART. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time. The SMART principle is applied for most goal-setting strategies, and goal setting during COVID-19 is no different. The idea is that you make goals which are clear and targeted towards what you want to achieve (specific). They should be measurable so that you can track progress, reasonable and within reach (achievable), worthwhile to you and your needs (relevant), and made within a designated time frame.
What happens to the goals I originally set?
As 2020 has changed so drastically you may have to accept that some of your original goals will need to be re-oriented. It’s important to recognise that life is full of uncertainties and unpredictable outcomes. While the specific details and process for achieving your goals may have changed, the long-term visions you had before can essentially stay the same.
Setting your goals for the rest of 2021
Armed with the SMART strategy, setting goals should now be broken into short, medium, and long-term time frames. This is especially important during COVID-19 to help bring you a sense of structure. An example of how you could divide your goals might be:
Short term goals (daily/weekly)
- Try 1 new recipe
- Exercise 4 days a week
- Finish assignment by Friday
NB: Little goals should bring you a sense of accomplishment or achievement. Pick goals which are achievable based on your personal capacities each day.
Medium term (monthly/yearly)
- Graduate with a GPA of [insert your goal]
- Apply for summer internships
- Practice 20 minutes of Spanish every day
- Learn how to garden
Long term (those big life goals you might be afraid to admit)
- Visit 30 countries
- Build my own home
- Start my own business
As you can see, these goals are diverse in terms of their focus and scope. Goals can be far-reaching and targeted towards your career, designed to build your life-skills, or aim to promote your emotional and mental wellbeing. One thing is certain – goal setting is one of the best ways to bring clarity to your life when the future is uncertain.
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