Goal Setting for The Year Ahead - 2021 Edition - Sticks & Stones Education

Goal Setting for The Year Ahead - 2021 Edition

Goal Setting for The Year Ahead - 2021 Edition

Start the new year off right with Personal Goal Setting for the savvy Eduactor: The Year Ahead - 2021 Edition!

2021 is right around the corner and I think most of us cannot wait to see the back of 2020. It has been a very challenging and difficult year to say the least. Not one person has skated through the year without impact or consequence.

goals typed on an old fashioned type writer

I have ordered my new Reflections Journal for 2021 and I am finishing off my 2020 journal. And to be completely honest, many of my 2020 goals will be repeated in 2021 because I simply lacked the focus and skills to make them happen.

Like many of you, I fell into a pit of despair and panic and at times I was wallowing in a puddle of apathy. 2020 was a year full of anxiety, number watching, constant wondering what was going to happen next. I found it so difficult to focus on positives. So we need to forgive ourselves, and we need to move forward. 2020 sucked. And I am going back and filling in the blanks in my Reflections Journal so I don't have too much empty space. I'm also decorating because who doesn't love a snazzy journal? But ...

I need to forgive myself, and I need to move foward...
We set goals or New Year’s resolutions and we often end up quitting within days or weeks. We have high expectations but then reality sets in and achieving a goal is never an easy task. If it were that easy to achieve goals we’d all be cruising through life without a care in the world. Life however doesn’t work like that.

 new years resolutions to do list

I started passively setting goals years ago where I would sit down either on New Years Eve or New Years Day and do a sort of web of things I would hope to achieve during the year. I would put the year in the middle and circle it, and then I would just write down all the things I wanted to manifest for that year. I would put it away, or have it in my diary, but to be honest I rarely looked at it again. That’s why I refer to them as passive goal setting. It was like throwing wishes to the wind and hoping something would take flight.

blowing a dandelion and wishes on the wind

It wasn’t until Sandi and I started designing our first Personal Reflections of an Educator Journal that I really started writing down goals, planning steps to work towards them and researching books and blogs and videos that would help me be a more organised and successful human being.

Cambridge Dictionary defines Goal as an aim or purpose. It goes on to say a purpose or something we’d like to achieve.

So with 2021 looming it’s time to start thinking about where we’d like to go and what we’d like to achieve in the not so distant future.

One of the books I’m reading is (well, truth be told, I'm listening to it on Audible and my goodness it is so much to take in!) ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. It’s a book full of epiphanies and light bulb moments. Goals require sacrifice and hard work.


MAKE OUR GOALS SMALLER: Our personal goals are most likely to be big ones. Take a look at your goal and then break them down into smaller, more achievable goals. Goals need to be made bite-sized. We aren’t going to wake up on January 2 with our goals achieved - if only life were that simple!

Small steps allow us to maintain momentum over the long term. This means that we are more likely to achieve our goals; complete the tasks. The more wins we have, the better we feel, and the stronger we are motivated to keep moving.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: If we reduce distractions it can help us to focus on what we are trying to achieve. Distractions will keep us from achieving our goals. Distractions can help us procrastinate and I am the Queen of Procrastination.

VISUAL REMINDERS: We can put up some visual cues or reminders to inspire us to keep moving forward towards our desired achievements. This could be a photo or a quote on our bedroom mirror or we could go all out and create a vision board. I create one each year with my friend Sonya. She actually wrote a blog article for us about creating your own vision board and you can find that HERE.

Our Personal Reflections Journal has a vision board spread, or you could simply add one in yourself. Make sure you review it regularly otherwise out of sight, out of mind.

If we set too many goals, they end up competing with one another for our time and attention and our success. We may have multiple goals we want to accomplish in 2021 - but we need to be smart about it.


Our goals may be personal goals about our health and wellbeing, about our family or personal professional goals. Rather than dilute ourselves and our success, we should prioritise our goals and ask ourselves what goal will have the biggest impact? What do they say in an airplane? Put your own oxygen mask on first, then care for others.

We can still achieve all of your goals, but we may need to take a pause and redirect our focus on the goals that will be more impactful.

“The secret to getting results that last is to never stop making improvements. It’s remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop.”
- James Clear

“Decide the type of person you want to be.
Prove it to yourself with small wins.”
James Clear

What are the goals do you want to achieve in 2021?

Aim for the stars … I know I will be.

shoot for the stars and catch your dreams - stars in a jar


This article was also published on the Reflections of an Educator blog, written by Gaby Flavin December 27, 2020

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