Once you’ve set your goals, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to accomplish them.
In this guide, I share multiple steps you can take to ensure that what matters gets done in 2021.
But think of it like a buffet. Take what you want and leave the rest.
Here’s what to do to ensure you make monumental progress this year.
Determine Your Focus(es)
After over three decades on this planet, I am only now beginning to recognize that I am not a monomaniac. I admire those who are, as well as their accomplishments.
I, on the other hand, thrive on multitasking and engaging in several projects simultaneously. I’ve tried doing it the other way, and to my surprise, it left me feeling sad.
So, do what feels right for you. But make sure you have a focus (or multiple focuses, as the case might be). If you don’t, you will start many projects but finish none.
Get into the publishing habit and you will win 2021.
Take a moment and envision everything you’d love to accomplish in 2021. Then, begin to work backwards and figure out what actions you need to take today to bring about that result.
I remember sharing this with a showing agent who had never heard of this approach before. It kind of blew her mind.
Although crude, it’s that old saying:
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Although I forget the source, apparently actor Will Smith’s secret to success is biting off more than he can chew, and chewing until it’s digested.
There are little things you can do today to work towards desired outcomes. Start making time for them. Put them in your schedule. And be realistic about the amount of time and effort it’s going to take.
Which brings me to…
Schedule it in
If you don’t schedule it in, it doesn’t exist!
Don’t leave things floating around in your mind. Ideas should be captured. Goals should be written down. Priorities should be scheduled.Don’t leave things floating around in your mind. Ideas should be captured. Goals should be written down. Priorities should be scheduled. Click To Tweet
In 2019, I earned my location and time independence. But in 2020, I quickly discovered that having nothing in my calendar was kind of sad.
If I had something in my calendar to look forward to, I felt happier overall.
Bottom line – your goals will not take care of themselves. Document them, organize them, review them, and most importantly, schedule them in.
Ask for Help
As noted, I thrive on a full schedule with a variety of projects. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t menial, time sucking tasks I’d rather hand off.
- Proofreading, editing, formatting, and scheduling posts in WordPress
- My podcast – editing, show notes and transcriptions, uploading MP3s to Amazon S3, lead magnets, formatting, scheduling in WordPress, syndication, and distribution
- Keeping websites up to date, including SEO
If these tasks were off my plate, I’d be able to focus more on the creative aspects of what I do and spend more time generating business.
I’m preaching at myself more than anyone else. Getting help and hiring can be hard, but that shouldn’t stop you from speculating on possibilities for collaboration.
Whether in your creative or business efforts, if your work isn’t systemized, you’re basically flying by the seat of your pants. Another term for this is “total chaos.”
If your projects are small and manageable, and you find your work fulfilling, and you intend to keep things that way, then perhaps there is no value in systemization. Otherwise, there is.
I’ve written a helpful post on how to create systems on a creative, so if you’ve never done this before, and don’t know how, it’s worth a peek.
But whether it’s organizing your schedule, using a scheduling tool (like Calendly) to book your meetings, automating your social media posting, or otherwise, you can benefit a great deal from simple, basic systems that tame the chaos.
You can do a lot with a tool like Zapier. I’ve known about this tool for a long time, but I’m just beginning to recognize the possibilities.
At times, it may seem as though there’s nothing more uncreative than making systems but trust me when I say anyone with ambition will benefit from them.
Embrace Minimum Viable
In an earlier post, I shared about how minimum viable products can help you overcome perfectionism.
Personally, when I don’t insist on perfection, I seem to make more progress faster.
For example, when building a new website, it would be easy to fuss over the logo, fonts, color scheme, placement of elements, and so on.
But if you just start blocking everything in and worry about the finer details later, you’d be able to bring your website to market faster.
And in most cases, that is more advantageous to you, since the website could be up working for you, helping you get traffic, leads, business, and so on, sooner.
Start with wireframes or low-resolution versions of your product and start getting feedback right away. Add the icing later, after you’ve generated interest in your creation.
Follow Inspiring, Knowledgeable People
Curate your social media feeds. Start muting those who add no value to you and instead start listening to – and interacting with – those who inspire you.
If you humble yourself, you will quickly discover there’s always more to learn. And when you follow inspiring people, it will change the way you think. You will become a possibility thinker!
The late Dr. Schuller has a book called Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking. And while it rooted in Biblical ideas, regardless of your faith or persuasion, it’s worth a read. If I’m not mistaken, David J. Schwartz talked about it in The Magic of Thinking Big (affiliate link) as well.
You will know when you’re thinking big because your ideas will seem uncomfortable, but they will also actively excite you beyond measure.You will know when you’re thinking big because your ideas will seem uncomfortable, but they will also actively excite you beyond measure. Click To Tweet
Is inbox zero just a dream? Do you find your inbox get cluttered overnight?
There’s a good chance you’re subscribed to too many newsletters and email lists.
I recently heard SuperFastBusiness founder James Schramko say that even if you get someone to handle your email for you, chances are they won’t do it perfectly.
Suggesting that email is your responsibility, and you should be the one to handle it!
But make sure your process is clear and simple. Know which emails to respond to, which to delete, and which to unsubscribe from.
(By the way, I used to believe in putting some emails in another category – later. The problem is I never get around to them. Perhaps later should not be a category.)
If you do this, your inbox will become much quieter and more manageable.
You will not crush your goals in 2021 by adding more to your to-do list or schedule. Ruthlessly eliminate anything that’s not in complete alignment with your focus or focuses.Ruthlessly eliminate anything that’s not in complete alignment with your focus or focuses. Click To Tweet
Many entrepreneurs, like Quazi Johir, say they set out to accomplish three to five things per day, ignoring all else. Of course, knowing which three to five things to focus on is critical!
Do you find yourself trying to finish 10 to 20 things per day? Maybe it’s time to prioritize your list and make time for the few key things that will move the needle on your career or business.
Spend Less Time Watching the News (Unless it’s Part of Your Job)
Whether we like to admit it or not, 2020 is the year many of us spent glued to the tube.
And even if it wasn’t the tube, it was Flipboard, or YouTube, or Facebook. We kept an eye on the headlines, worried about what might happen next.
I don’t think 2021 is going to be any different. It will probably get worse before it gets better.
You should stay up to date, but not to the detriment of your mental and emotional health, which always ends up impacting your physical health too. Think of it this way – if you can’t sleep because of your worries, your physical health is already suffering.
Many people will say 2020 was a year unlike any other (because it’s a theme that’s been repeated in the media), but when you take a cold, hard look at the facts, it was a year much like any other. So, all that worrying was for nothing.
If you want to crush your goals, focus on them instead!
Follow Your Heart
When goal setting is a slog…
Planning seems like a chore…
And being in action only leads to frustration…
Remember ONE thing – your heart has the answers.
If something does not inspire you, motivate you, or excite you, it could be of some benefit, but it probably won’t yield huge results.
Now, I’m not talking about exercise or other habits that you may not want to do but benefit you anyway.
I’m talking about your projects and focuses. If they don’t make you want to jump out of bed every morning, they should at least prompt you to conscious and deliberate action. Otherwise, you’re off course and should reconsider.
Setting goals is great. But you must put some action behind them if you want to reach them.
Thinking, reflecting, and planning are all critical to your success. But all things being equal, action always carries more benefit. So, this year, develop a bias towards action!All things being equal, action always carries more benefit. So, this year, develop a bias towards action! Click To Tweet
What are you doing to ensure you reach your 2021 goals?
Let me know in the comments.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
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