I Didn’t Set Goals for 2021. Here’s What I Did Instead.

January 25, 2021

A new year brings a fresh start and new beginning. 

It is a time to reboot, reset, set goals and make resolutions. In 2020, we started the new year business as usual and then…BAM.

In March 2020 all of that went out the window.  We were in triage for a couple of months: Moving home from college, canceled events, team members laid off. Work and life changed dramatically, to say the least!  With that came a recalibration of our goals: Gyms were closed, kids were home, some financial goals had to be abandoned, and on and on and on… 

How did you respond? 

Were you adaptable and flexible, going with the flow?

Were you resistant and complaining, or worrying and feeling victimized?

Were you holding on and sticking to your original plans believing it would all end soon?

No matter what path you chose, we all had to adjust and change whether we liked it or not. (And whether we were good at navigating the change or not.)

Once we all recovered from the initial shock, we realized the changes we needed to make—what a lot of us called PIVOTING.

I’m going to be honest: I totally got tired of that word. But its meaning is actually so important.

By definition, to pivot is to rotate or turn while a central point is anchored. 

Like a basketball player with the ball in hand has to keep one foot grounded shifting side to side and back to front to see who to throw the ball to next.   Their core is strong but the actual direction is fluid.

So: To make a pivot, you must be anchored with the ability to swing or rotate.

When everything changes, what matters to you becomes even more important. It becomes your anchor! 

I believe during this time, many of us have discovered what really matters to us. And some of us began realizing that we may have been neglecting what matters the most. 

So here we are in 2021.

Hopefully, we’re past the midway point of the pandemic with experts telling us that it will be the fall before theaters open, sporting events resume with fans, and when we may (or may not) go back to work.  We have learned that all we can count on is that we don’t know what is ahead—and that things can change in an instant.  

All that is certain is uncertainty. 

But how do we plan? How do we stay grounded? How do we expand and make personal improvements or changes?

Pre-pandemic, we’d set goals.

 A goal has an aim or desired result.  It has an outcome and a sort of finish line. 

I have set goals for more than 20 years. And goals were very effective for me: We bought our first house because of a goal. I started a new business because of a goal. I finished p90X because of a goal. 

But I didn’t accomplish one of my 2020 goals. Not one! 

In March 2020, the business I led for over 20 years crumbled instantly.  

Being in the corporate event space, we worked with clients in Fortune 100 and 500 companies providing keynote speaking and in-person training and consulting. We went from a full calendar of contracted events to zero overnight.  

The income to the business dropped 100% and slowly over the next couple of months, all of the contracts were voided due to the “Force Majeure” being invoked.  

Everything was unclear about what was to come, so no one wanted to reschedule.  So now what?  We had team members to lay off, an office that sat abandoned, and a panic set in about what we were going to do.  We conjured up immediate ideas, short-term plans and a lot of “who knows what’s to come.” Back In January of 2020, we had set our team up with tangible goals and objectives that were now all irrelevant.  

So for 2021, I decided to not set goals.

Instead, I focused on how I want to expand and do things differently.  On what I want to experience in my life and how I want to feel, regardless of what the world tells me what I should want.

For example, the world tells us to value wealth and the accumulation of money. But what if your goal for a certain amount of money in the bank by the end of 2021 means you have to work more hours—which means less time with your family or  less time on what you love? 

Then the goal is not aligned with your values of family first. 

Rather than asking “what do I want to achieve?” or “what result do I want to measure?” I started asking myself: “What matters to me and what do I envision for myself?” 

So I went back to what I value, and I decided to build a vision based on values rather than goals based on outcomes.

VISION is the ability to see. It is something you imagine or dream; a picture you see in your mind. It is about the whole you and your whole life, not just what you accomplish and cross off a list. 

A vision for a meaningful life is about the way you want to spend your life, who you want to be around and how you serve others. It’s about how you want to feel about yourself.

To build a vision,  I started asking myself different questions, and I started with the past. 

First, I Looked Back Before I Looked Forward.

It is especially important to look back at  2020.  We all experienced the “great pause,” and depending on how you approached it, it is valuable to reflect and evaluate by asking yourself the following questions: 

“What have I gained since the pandemic started?”

“What am I glad is gone?”

“What have I lost that I miss?”

“What do I value more now?”

And then, to reflect more broadly, asking yourself:

“What went well?”

“What didn’t go well?” 

“What matters to me that I have newly discovered?” 

“What do I value more or less?” 

Really allow yourself to soak in how 2020 affected and possibly shifted your priorities and perspectives.

After this, I took my answers to these questions and turned my focus to the future. 

Then, I Cast a Vision.

I included the whole me, all areas of my life: Personal, professional, financial, spiritual, family, and community.  And then I made it tangible and created a Vision Board.

And yes, my 2021 vision board is very different from past years. Instead of concrete goals and tangible outcomes, it includes things like how I want to feel, what I value, who I want to be around, who I want to serve and support.

Now, It’s Your Turn!

It goes without saying that answering these questions and writing them down isn’t going to make your vision come to life instantly.

Change happens when you have consistent, gentle reminders to keep going and keep prioritizing what matters to you. 

I have had the privilege of helping the women I coach create a meaningful vision for their life, step by step—and helping them carry it to fruition through VIP Days spent together, coffee meetings and coaching calls.

If you want to deepen the work that you did by going through these questions, I would love to set up a time for us to talk! 

Your vision is so worth putting into action—and even though it starts with values, priorities, by working together, we can translate it into positive emotions, expansion, momentum and outcomes. 

Click here to schedule a call with me (and when you do, you’ll get a free download of a workbook that will walk you through creating a meaningful vision, step by step!)

"Elle has an infectious high energy that engages and entertains while teaching actionable skills that last long after her presentation is over. Truly a hard act to follow."

— Carlin H. Stamm, Founder and Principal - Foster Business Development

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