Each year, I dedicate a full month to dreaming and crafting my goals for the year.
Last January was no exception. I put my imagination in full swing,
and planned out a year of touring, music-making, healthy habits, and celebrations.
Each month looked so full of promise and creativity!
But then, Covid…
Spring 2020 hit like a maelstrom.
Goals, plans, imaginings - all wiped off the table and smashed to the ground.
I know you experienced it, too.
The cancelled plans. The deferred dreams. The now unattainable aspirations.
Now, we come to January 2021. Our inner clocks tell us it’s time to reset and restart.
But unlike 2020, when the change of fortune was dramatic and obvious,
2021 brings a new challenge:
We know we’re not back to “Normal" yet, so what, exactly, is 2021?
How do you plan for a year when you literally have no idea what will come next?
If 2020 was a tidal wave, 2021 is a desert.
Unknown sameness for as far as the eye can see...
How do we plan for the great unknown?
I hope these are helpful for you!
#1. Remember Your Intentions
Goal setting is a means to an end. It’s not about working out every day - it’s about getting healthy. It’s not about vocalizing every day - it’s about becoming a better singer. Keep your intentions first and foremost in your mind and in your heart.
#2. Hold Numbers Loosely
Timelines. Number of pages written. How many steps on your Fitbit.
Despite your best intentions, something unpredictable is going to come up - another lockdown, a change of employment, or even, God forbid, illness. In these moments, give yourself some grace. You’re not going to keep perfect numbers this year. None of us are. And that's okay. Missing one timeline or threshold won’t destroy your goal. Take a breath, take a break, and pick it up again tomorrow.
Which are the very most important goals on your list? Is it to record that new song? Read the Bible in a year? Walk your dog every day? If you can do everything, fantastic! But if life changes or gets stressful, it’s good to know which goal is your most critical. Focus on the most important, until you have the energy to reengage with the less important.
#4. Incorporate Gentleness
Last year, when things really went haywire, I dug deeply into Hygge - the Danish concept of coziness. Since then, I’ve been prioritizing comfort and gentleness in our home. I don’t over schedule a day or a week. I plan an end time for my workday. I limit my social media. I make sure we have lots of options for hot beverages and warm lap blankets. Candles and mini-lights are now standard in all rooms. We’re all dealing with unprecedented levels of emotional stress. We need to consciously and gently care for ourselves and the ones we love.
#5. Plan to Revisit and Revamp
We have no idea what 2021 will bring to our world or to each of our lives. There’s no way a list of goals created in January will be viable throughout this year. So, I’ve planned days to Revisit and Revamp my goals. These are different from my usual first-of-the-month planning. I’ve chosen three days, one approximately every quarter, and have already booked them into my calendar. On these days, I’ll pull out my list of 2021 goals. I’ll check off and celebrate any goals I’ve already accomplished. I’ll remove any that no longer work. I’ll revamp any that can still be accomplished, but in a different way. And I’ll ask the question, “Are there new goals or dreams that have surfaced in this season?” If the answer is “yes,” I’ll find a way to work them into the plan.