Skip to content
What will be different on 12/31/21?


Happy New Year! 2021 has been long anticipated. More than any other new year, maybe ever. I’m pretty sure I’ve been seeing “2021 can’t come soon enough” memes since August. So, here it is! 2020 is in the rear view mirror! Bring on all the glory of 2021!

Of course, we all know that the turn of a page on the calendar is not going to make anything miraculously change. That’s not how it works. And while it seemed like 2020 was a truly awful year, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we have learned a TON from the last year. We have grown as individuals, businesses, and as a country. All of that new knowledge can help us make 2021 the year we want and need it to be.

What has 2020 taught us?

Before we start exploring what we want to accomplish this year, let’s focus on the knowledge we have gained. Consider how you have personally grown or changed this past year. You may have had a whole bunch of alone time or spent more time than ever before with your immediate family. Either way, it has likely changed you. How has your relationship with yourself or your family changed? What have you had to work on to create happiness? How has the pandemic, the racial unrest, or our country’s political divide changed you or helped you grow? Jot down your thoughts on these questions.

Next let’s look at how your business has changed. Some businesses have experienced tremendous growth. If you were in video production or delivery service, 2020 was probably a great year for you. Unfortunately, the vast majority of businesses struggled through shutdowns, stay-at-home orders, and economic uncertainty. Many of us have had to learn new skills, re-imagine how we operate, or completely reinvent our products or services. These changes can be incredible teachers. What have you learned about yourself as a leader? How have your problem solving skills evolved? How has your team and your company transformed? How has your clientele adapted and how have your relationships with them progressed? Make note of these incredible changes.

Now take a moment and review your list. Acknowledge all the ways that you and your business have grown. If you’re open to shifting your thinking, rather than thinking of 2020 as a dumpster fire, consider thinking of it as being a year of tremendous growth and change. We cannot change the circumstances, but we are in complete control of how we perceive them.

What do you want to accomplish in 2021 and beyond?

Now that you have decided to leave all the frustrations of 2020 behind you and take your great learnings into the new year, let’s start thinking about what you want to get out of this year. How do you personally want to be changed by the end of this year? Where do you want your business to finish the year? On 12/31/21 what do you want to be able to feel great about accomplishing?

I’m not talking about New Year’s Resolutions here. I’m talking about real plans for growth, change or improvement. Resolutions are generally overly optimistic and unrealistic. They usually try to fix a top-of-mind problem. Studies show that 80% of resolutions only last until the second week in February. The beginning of the year is a great time to develop plans, goals, and action steps. It gives us a solid point of reference, allows an easy quarterly breakdown, and coincides well with many fiscal years. But it takes some intentional thought and work to make sure we are setting goals that will move us forward, past mid-February.

Rather than setting resolutions that may fade when life gets in the way; I’m talking about realistic goals that can be broken down into quarterly plans and action steps. In order to set good 1-year plans, you need to know where you want to be in 10-years and 3-years. What is important for the long-term? Do you want to grow to a certain level? If so, how big? What will you measure? Do you want to be the best in your industry? What does that look like? By being mindful of your long term goals, your 2021 goals will be relevant and keep you on track.


With your long term goals in mind, it’s time to think about what you need to accomplish by the end of this year in order to reach the bigger vision you have for your company. If your 10-year goal is to double in size, what progress needs to happen this year in order to make that happen? Are there structural issues that need to be addressed in order to get you there? What kind of staffing will you need to take your business to the next level?

The size of your company will determine the number of goals that make sense for you. A smaller business with just a few people in leadership positions may only have 2 or 3 goals for the year. A bigger company with multiple leaders may tackle more goals. The most important thing is to make sure they are realistic and relevant to your long term vision.

This brings us to SMART Goals. You have probably heard of this method of goal setting in the past. It’s widely used, because it works! Here’s a quick recap of the method:

  • Specific: your goal needs to be about one thing and very detailed. Stating that you will “grow” is no good. Do you want to grow in revenue? Profit? Number of people served? Number of products sold? The more specific, the better.

  • Measurable: This component will allow you to easily see if you were successful in meeting your goal. It takes your plan and assigns numbers to it. As you write your goal include the change you will see in numbers. State your starting point, the growth amount, or the percent change you’re working towards. Again, the more specific you are, the better.

  • Action: What is the action that will get you to your goal? Will you grow by securing new customers or selling current customers more product? Will you develop new products or ramp up your sales team? Just wanting to grow is not enough. You need action (or multiple actions) to get there.

  • Realistic: As you are writing your goals, it’s crucial to give them a reality-check. With everything going on in your life, in your business, and in the industry, do your goals make sense? There’s no reason to set unrealistic goals. You’ll end up frustrated and discouraged.

  • Timely: This entails adding dates to your goal. You might need start-by dates, end-by dates, milestones, number of times per week/month/quarter, progressive changes, or something else. Include dates that will keep you on track.

Taking the time to craft well thought-out SMART Goals is key to achieving your long-term vision you have for your company.

Break It Down

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Similarly, once you have your 2021 goals, your next step is to break it down. As I stated before, setting goals at the beginning of the year works out nicely for quarterly priorities and action steps. The “Timely” portion of your SMART Goal may guide how you break things down. Some steps may need to be put in place before other components can be tackled.

Take each goal and determine what needs to happen Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. Create action steps for each quarter and determine who is accountable for each one. Lastly, take each action and put it on your weekly team meeting agenda. Do a quick check-in each week as to whether the task is “on-track” or “needs attention”. If it’s on-track, there’s no need to spend valuable meeting time on it. If it needs attention, plan a time to focus on how to address it and get it back on-track.

Want goals that last all year rather than resolutions that fizzle out after 6 or 7 weeks? The steps are simple, but they certainly aren’t easy. If you would like help setting your business up for a great year, I would love to help! Email me at to schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how we can set you up for a great 2021!

Related Posts