Planning for Success in the New Year

If you are like most people today, you are looking forward to 2021 and saying goodbye to 2020. The year 2020 has brought a variety of challenges, but the promise of a new year brings us hope.

However, just because the month will change from December to January, doesn’t mean that everything will automatically get better. I am not saying this to sound negative, but without a plan, it’s just a change in days. How can you make sure that 2021 brings you closer to your goals, whether they are personal or professional? The answer is to start now. Don’t wait until January to start planning for 2021.

The first step to getting ready for 2021 is to get a new planner.

This step can involve purchasing a pre-made planner, creating a bullet journal, or even finding a digital tool such as your Google calendar, WeekPlan, or Todoist. Your planner can be simple or elaborate. The most important step is to start using it now so that you can create a daily habit. Personally, I use a bullet journal that I create for myself each year. I then change the format a bit throughout the year as my goals change and there are new things I want to accomplish. The flexibility of this style is what I like about using a bullet journal, but it does take some work, which isn’t for everyone. A digital planner, if it’s an app, can be with you all the time, which makes it easy to check each day.

Your second step is to write down your goals.

What are some BIG GOALS you want to accomplish in 2021? Save up for a trip? Find a new job? Get into a better exercise routine? Write down that BIG GOAL somewhere in your planner. Say, for example, that you want to find a new position this next year. That’s a BIG GOAL. Now, how do you make it happen?

Start by setting smaller goals that lead you closer to your BIG GOAL. A few smaller goals that will put you on the path is to 1) update your resume, 2) conduct career research in your field, and 3) build your network. Even though these are smaller goals, they still take time and effort. Don’t forget to make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Here’s an example of a SMART goal for updating your resume:

Specific – Update resume for an accounting manager position.

Measurable – Update one resume to include skills gained from my degree program and recent experience.

Attainable – Updating my resume is a goal that I can achieve.

Relevant – I will use my resume to target accounting manager positions, which are well-aligned with my interests, knowledge, and skills.

Time-Bound – I plan to have the resume ready to go by February 1st.

Make a list of tasks you need to complete for each of your goals. To update your resume, you may need to view Career Services’ Resumes & More page or schedule a review.  To research career options, you may visit the Career Exploration area.  Finally, gain tips to expand your networking connections by perusing the Networking page. Once you have the list of tasks for each of your smaller goals, put them in your planner! Writing them down and making them time-bound will help you feel more accountable.

Plotting your goals now, and spending some time including them in a plan, will help put you on the path to success in 2021!

Written by Katy Peper