2020 is almost over. It started pretty well, didn’t it. We made our resolutions and watched the fireworks light up the January sky, but then things went downhill pretty fast after that. The next thing we knew, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving us with no choice but to stay in quarantine or practice social distancing in the absence of a cure.

2020 has been a year of isolation, hardship, and loss for many people.

But with 2021 right around the corner, we once again find ourselves looking forward to hitting that restart button – to a fresh start – wondering what next year will bring.

In the coming days and weeks, many of us will make a list of goals and things we want to achieve, and things about ourselves we’d like to change, strengthen, or improve.

Personal Development

Goals vary from person to person. Some people may want to hit business-related goals, while others aspire to have better relationships with friends and family. Some want to succeed in the career paths they’ve chosen for themselves…or were forced to choose.

While goals and personal development vary from person to person, the philosophy and process (the science) of achieving our intentions and goals pretty much follows the same pattern, requiring, planning, commitment, focus, and dedication.

Identify What’s Important

Before writing down what you want to achieve, figure out what’s most important to you right now. Is it your health? Relationships? Money? Travel? Goals and priorities change as we go through life. What was important last year might not be as important this year.

And since you can’t change everything at once, identify the number one priority in your life right now because that’s where you need to focus your time, effort and energy.

Make a List of Things You Want to Achieve

Once you’ve identified what’s most important to you, start listing the goals you’ll need to achieve to make that priority a reality . For example, if your health is your top priority, list the goals you want to achieve with your health, e.g., lose weight, lower your blood pressure, add lean muscle, etc.

Break your goals down into small steps or tasks so you won’t feel overwhelmed, making it likelier you’ll achieve them.

Make your goals obtainable, measurable, and specific. It looks something like this: I intend to lose 20 pounds by June 1, 2021, by exercising three to five times a week and eliminating junk food. Is it obtainable? Yes. Is it measurable and specific? Yes. So your goal would be to lose about a pound a week.

Know Your Strong Points

The next item on the journey to personal development is knowing what your strengths are; use these to help you reach your goals. How? Try to match each strength to an item on the list of things that you want to achieve. For example, maybe you know your way around a kitchen and can make healthy lunches to help you lose weight instead of eating out. By doing this, you won’t be starting from scratch. Look at your goals and consider the strengths you already possess that give you an edge in making your dreams come true.

Improve What Needs to be Improved

Along with your list of strengths, are there any particular weaknesses that might get in the way of your dreams coming true? Do you have a sweet tooth, or are you tempted to eat late at night? Do you tend to keep junk food in the house that you turn to for comfort when feeling down?

Here’s another example. If you have the skills needed to finish complicated projects but cannot manage your teammates effectively, it’ll be hard to achieve team goals; team management would be an area of improvement for 2021.

Give yourself the gift of being brutally honest; what are your strengths…and what are some possible areas that might get in the way of you achieving your goals?

Lastly, try to find a healthy balance when working towards your goals; don’t be a slave to your goals for the next 365 days; own your goals – don’t be owned by them. Obsessing over stuff and beating yourself up won’t help. Strive to enjoy the process and the journey. It’s about progress, not perfection. With this approach, you’ll be amazed at how fun and enjoyable the ride will be and how many more of your new years’ resolutions you will achieve.

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

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