How To Write Goals That Will Help You Start 2021 Right

Last week, I shared How To Start 2021 In A Bold New Direction. It was an opportunity to reflect on 2020 and start shifting your mindset to see what’s possible in the new year, even in the face of obstacles. This article is part 2 – we’re going to look at how to write goals that will help you start 2021 right. 

We’re going to dive right into creating goals. 

However, instead of just reading through this article, I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and actually complete the activities. 

Use the next few minutes to actually write your goals for the year.

Ready to start 2021 right? 

Let’s get started. 


Before you write new goals for the year, you’ve got to face some hard truths: 

  1. You won’t achieve what you want overnight. 
  2. The only way to achieve what you want is with deliberate and sustained action. 

For example, I will not have 10,000 subscribers to this blog overnight. I won’t have a thriving 6-figure business overnight. I won’t lose 30 pounds overnight. But, I do have 10 hours at my disposal this week. 

What progress can I make with that time? 

There’s nothing wrong with starting small. In fact, according to the science of building and sustaining habits, starting small is a good thing. 

Fill in this statement: I won’t __________ overnight. Say it out loud and just sit with that for a moment. Come to terms with it. 

Now, let’s build goals that account for that truth so you can start 2021 right.

321 Liftoff | How to Write Goals That Will Help You Start 2021 Right


Sure, you could just name a goal out of thin air. But, what is that goal in service of? And, how does it fit into the broader arc of your life? 

I’d recommend naming a few guiding principles before you start identifying new goals. 

When I create new goals each year, here’s what I’m telling myself: 

  1. Examine every life domain. Family and relationships, self-improvement (physical, financial, habits, routines, etc.), career/professional development, my portfolio of skills and side hustle projects – all are fair game for growth. 
  2. Consider those domains in context. Sometimes, you’ve got a lot on your plate. That’s okay. For example, we just moved across the country – my goals need to account for the fact that we’re busy getting settled. 
  3. Challenge yourself to grow this year. Acknowledge your comfort zone and imagine the experiments you could run to start stretching beyond that space

What might your guiding principles look like? What do you need to take into account before writing your goals? 

321 Liftoff | How to Write Goals That Will Help You Start 2021 Right


I think this is one of the most important steps to start 2021 right. 

Reflection creates space for us to challenge our mental models and build new ones. 

If you want to shape your life through goals, start by shaping your mindset. 

Those guiding principles, listed above? Here they are translated into questions: 

  • How satisfied are you with the status quo?
  • What would you like to start, stop, or stay the same? 
  • What would 10% better look like? 10x better? Now, what’s something in between that’s an exciting but healthy stretch that you could achieve this year? 
  • Does that make sense in the greater context of your life right now? 

 From there, you should have enough to jot a few goals down. But, we’re not quite done yet. 

321 Liftoff | How to Write Goals That Will Help You Start 2021 Right


What happens if you fail to achieve your goal? If the answer is nothing, is it really worth the time and energy you need to put in to achieve it? 

It’s important to visualize what you gain from achieving something – but I also think you need to see what happens in the absence of that achievement. 

So, once I’ve settled on a goal, I challenge myself to answer a few other questions: 

  • Why does this goal matter to you? 
  • What’s at stake if you fail?
  • How will you know if you’ve been wildly successful? 
321 Liftoff | How to Write Goals That Will Help You Start 2021 Right


Starting is hard. There’s a huge mental lift required to begin a new thing – that’s part of the learning process. 

That’s why you’ve got to plan your attack – well in advance of “day 1.” 

Here’s what I ask myself (and write down so I don’t forget when I encounter obstacles): 

  • What are the first few actions you can take to get started? 
  • How could those actions be made smaller? 
  • How will you keep track of your progress?
  • When will you do the work? 
  • How could I make the choice to do it as easy as possible every day? 

So, what goals or ambitious projects might help you start 2021 right? 

Want more on goal setting and habit building? Here are two books that shaped how I see the process. First, Atomic Habits, by James Clear. Second, Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt. 

One more way to start 2021 right? Subscribe to my blog (see below).


Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.

It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.

It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.

And, that’s why it’s worth it.

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