Goal Setting Strategies for 2021

January 9, 2021

I have always been someone who loves the fresh start that a new year brings. While setting goals does not have to be only a yearly tradition, I really enjoy reflecting on the goals I hope to achieve in the upcoming year and the habits I need to create to reach those desires. It is so easy, though, to create intentions for the year, think about them for the first couple of weeks of January, and then get caught up in the business of the rest of the weeks and months and completely forget about the goals you set back in January. To combat that all too easy outcome, I am sharing the techniques I am using this year to hopefully achieve my goals. I hope these strategies are helpful, and I am wishing you a happy start to your 2021!

1. Quality > Quantity

From health and fitness, self-care, and relationship goals to professional and academic ones, there are so many areas of life for which we can set intentions and work to improve ourselves. It is so important, though, to practice quality over quantity when setting goals. Creating a list of twenty or more intentions, I believe, can be very overwhelming and hard to manage. That overwhelming feeling can often lead to a sense of burnout or realization that your goals may be unattainable, thus causing you to simply give up. By prioritizing a smaller set of aims for the new year, it will be easier to track your progress, reflect on your habits, and thus achieve success.

2. Specificity & Measurability

I used to be someone who would set very vague goals for my new year such as "be more spontaneous" and "read more." While I do think that phrases such as these can be helpful umbrella categories or overarching themes for your new year, the actual goals should be much more specific. For example, instead of saying "read more," give yourself a numerical value or an intention to read a certain number of books every month or quarter. Creating these more specific, quantitative goals adds an element of measurability that makes it much easier to track your progress.

3. Visible Reminders

Crafting a beautiful list of goals written in calligraphy and adorned with watercolor or stickers, while a great way to harness motivation for the new year, is useless if you simply shove that list of goals into a drawer in mid-January and forget about it until months later. The point is, without frequent and visible reminders of your goals, it will become much easier to forget about your intentions. Whether it be by pasting sticky notes on your door or setting alarms on a digital device, having constant reminders is essential to staying on track.

4. Accountability

When it comes to setting goals, everyone is different in the extent to which they like to share their aspirations with others. While I believe there is value in voicing your goals, I do not think that is the only method of keeping yourself accountable and often goals. Often, goals are very personal and sharing those aims with the world is not comfortable or even very productive. Accountability is still important, though, so find out what techniques work best for you  whether it be confiding in a close friend or simply making a routine of writing out your progress — and stick to that method.

5. Remember That Failure is Okay

Setting intentions for the new year should be exciting and enjoyable. Though of course we all want to achieve our resolutions for the new year, it is important to accept that we may not reach all of our goals and to realize that failure is okay. If you catch yourself being critical of and unloving toward yourself, take time to reevaluate why it is you set your goals in the first place and recognize that beating yourself up does not solve anything. Another facet of this piece of advice, though, is that when you set quantitive or measurable intentions such as running a mile every week or reading three books every month, when we miss one of those goals we say that we have "failed" and completely give up. It is important to remember, though, that the real goal is not in the routine. Rather, those routines of running a mile every week or reading four books every month are really just habits established to reach those larger, umbrella goals of living a happier, healthier lifestyle and expanding your knowledge. By keeping this in mind, you will not feel as discouraged if you miss that one run or fall short one book and will instead get back on track toward achieving your goals.


  1. These are some amazing tips! Thank you so much!


  2. These five points are great and very true! Quality over quantity is something I should really hold on to more, and so is the idea that failure is okay. I'm struggling a little with this at the moment so I need to take in your words and embrace them. :) Thank you for a brilliant post!
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

    Julia x
    Last Post: Plan Your Best Week Every Sunday With These Tips + Free Planning Checklist! 💪

    1. Thank you so much! Have a wonderful weekend too.

  3. I love the use of visual reminders. Sometimes we need that extra boost or encouragmenet to be able to focus on and achieve our goals.

    Ashlee | https://www.alignedwithash.com