How the pandemic changed my approach to goal setting

 the pandemic changed my approach to goal setting

The start of the new year for me often means vision boards, yearlong goals and the hope of new beginnings.  This year proves to be different. After all the chaos of 2020, many of us are burned out, myself included, and despite wishful thinking, the change to 2021 did not bring a magical cure for all the things we are going through.

 When I initially thought about the things I want to do this year I felt overwhelmed and honestly skeptical. In 2020 each new month was something disastrous and had me wondering what’s next?  What else can go wrong? And to be honest it was depressing as fuck!

I decided that for 2021 I don’t want to let all the chaos ruin my hope (although it’s hard). I want to have things to look forward to in the rapidly changing world and the uncertainty of it all. So, I am changing my approach to goal setting from making yearly goals to quarterly ones

Setting Quarterly Goals

Creating quarterly goals will allow me to work towards something I’m excited about but still makes room for things to change. It doesn’t feel as overwhelming and the steps are manageable. Best of all, it is flexible and makes room for future uncertainties while keeping me focused on the immediate future.

I’ve decided to focus on my finances, career and health in this quarter. If you decide to take a similar approach, you can focus on anything you want.  It can be personal, work, health, relationship, hobby, finances etc.  Like all goals (yearly, bi-annually etc) it’s important that the quarterly goals remain specific and realistic. Ex, making 1 million dollars in 3 months is not realistic (unless you plan to rob a bank, have an already established business or have rich parents), but saving an extra 5% of your monthly income might be.

Keep the focus (and sanity)

I personally decided to keep track of my goals in a google doc and organizing them in a table. In it, I am listing my goals in one column, the necessary steps, and the outcome in another. It allows me to see if I’m making too many goals for the quarter.  Having the goals laid out in front of me keeps it clear and breaking it down into smaller steps makes it less overwhelming and actionable.

Implementing quarterly reviews.

One thing 2020 thought me was how much the things we want to nge and shift over time and 2020 just put it in overdrive for me. I started the year wanting to work in tech, move to New York for 6 months and upgrade to a condo etc.  Then once covid shut things down, I wanted to move back home, work my regular job and just be closer to my family in general and oh! I definitely want a townhouse now (with a backyard and a dog). Because things were changing so much it felt like I was working towards things I didn’t really want which bummed me out and made me feel like I was linking my productivity, or lack thereof, to my self worth

This year I want to set aside time for a quarterly review to make sure the things I’m working towards are still things I want. In the outcome section of my planner, I’ll be going over the following questions

  • Did I achieve what I set out to do this month, why or why not
  • Did I enjoy the process?
  • Do I want to continue these for the next quarter?
  • What will I change or fix in my approach?

I’m hoping these steps will keep me focused but not overwhelmed and just factor in the uncertainty of life in a pandemic.

If you’d like to try a quarterly approach as well you can download a free quarterly goals planner

Quarterly Goals Planner Template – Download