Goal Setting: How To Lower The Bar in 2021

As another new year is just over the horizon, talking about goal setting is almost inevitable. But today, I’m talking about why you should be lowering the bar for yourself in 2021. 

Now that I have your attention, I’m not telling you to give up or throw your list of goals out the window – I’m telling you that bigger isn’t always better.

Here are five ways that I suggest you lower the bar when it comes goal setting to make 2021 your best year yet:

1 – Set smaller goals

You always hear the phrase “dream big,” and I am all for that… but in order to reach those big dreams I suggest you set smaller goals for yourself. Why? Because you need momentum. How good does it feel to achieve a goal you’ve set and to cross it your list? That feeling is going to help you power through and make big changes. 

If you only have lofty goals for yourself that might take all year to reach, you will be working your tail off to make it happen and will likely lose steam.  You won’t be able to look back and easily see the progress you have made, documented in all its glory. Instead, turn one or two of those huge goals into smaller ones that will help lead you to the big goal you had initially set.

This way, when you have reached one goal, your brain gets the dopamine from your success and is excited for more. Plus, it gives you a reason to celebrate… and that’s never a bad thing, right?

2 – Set fewer goals

When writing out a list of goals, it can be easy for one thing to spiral into many other separate ideas, and by the time you are done you have pages full of things you have set out to accomplish by the end of the year. 

Yes, I did just say to make smaller goals instead of one big one. But those smaller goals need to be relevant to your bigger, long term goal. 

When you are setting the goal to make a certain number of sales from your website each quarter, that can easily turn into:

learn how to code your website to give it a facelift,
start a podcast to spread the word,
teach yourself how to use Photoshop to make those top-notch graphics for promoting on social media,
host a monthly webinar to get people coming back,

and so on until you have a million different goals pulling you a million different ways, all stemming from that first goal to increase your sales.

Not only can setting too many goals take you in all sorts of directions, it can also affect your momentum. Accomplishing goals takes stamina, and if you have too many goals it might feel like you aren’t making any progress. It can also make you lose sight of the original goal you set for yourself and why you wanted to achieve it in the first place.

3 – Don’t spend too much time on your goal setting

That’s right. Not only have I told you to set fewer and smaller goals, I am now telling you to cut down on the time you spend planning them.

Accomplishing goals takes time and energy. So does the planning process, especially if you are more Type A and like everything to be well thought out, structured, and organized. 

Yes, of course, putting thought into your goals is important. You should have well-intentioned goals that are going to move the needle forward. But if you spend all of your time planning, you will have less time to put towards action, making it less likely that you will achieve anything. You may have heard the phrase before, and it certainly applies here – sometimes done is better than perfect.

It is also smart to spend more time on Quarter 1 and 2 goals initially and less in 3 and 4. A year is a long time and a lot can happen before then. You don’t want to put in a large amount of time and resources towards something that might have to change anyway.

4 – Pick the right people to share your goal setting ideas with

When you have something exciting in the works, it’s normal to want to tell people about it. You might even want to shout it from the rooftops. I’m not saying you can’t talk about your goals at all, but I would suggest picking the right people to share them with.

Sharing your goals with the wrong people can actually hurt your confidence and belief that you can do something. Don’t let people who don’t understand or don’t have experience in that area give you guidance and information. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner but your family and friends have always worked a 9-5 job under someone else, they likely won’t be able to give you the support that you really need when you are wanting advice.

The right person will help you when things get tough. Before sharing your goals with someone, think about whether you leave a conversation with that person feeling good, energized, and uplifted, or if you always have a sour taste in your mouth. It is important to have the right people in your corner before opening yourself up to opinions that might do more harm than good. If you don’t have someone that can really understand what you’re going through (and even if you do) consider an accountability partner, a coach, or a mastermind! 

5 – Don’t swipe other people’s goals as your own (unless you really want to)

Look, we’ve all been sucked into the idea that our peers are doing it right and we need to keep up with them, whatever it takes. Maybe your mentor has a goal of having a seven figure year, so you’ve decided that you do, too! Maybe a fellow business owner has announced they are writing a book, so now you have decided to write a book, too. It’s okay to write the book… but only do it if you want to.

Don’t let yourself think that just because someone is doing things a certain way that it’s the only way to do them. There are many ways to run a business that can light you up. I see so many people desert their initial goals because they came up with something better – when oftentimes, it’s not really better, it’s just different.

Shiny object syndrome can derail your well-thought-out goals easily if you make a habit of thinking this way. Instead of letting this happen, make sure that when you set your annual goals for the new year you really commit to them. If you hear some amazing new idea, ask yourself: how is it going to get me to my one thing? 

If this brand new goal actually makes sense for you, that’s okay! It might just need to be stored in a “parking lot” for later if it doesn’t require a sense of urgency. Having a parking lot for these ideas gives you permission to say yes, but just not right now. Then, every month or every quarter, go visit the parking lot to see what makes sense for you.

I hope that these five suggestions on how to lower the bar in 2021 have helped you make a plan. As you go back to the drawing board, remember that bigger isn’t always better, even when it comes to your goals. 

If you’re ready to take action and start implementing now, check out my newest book, The Implementation Code, to get tangible tips and advice on how to go from having a to-do list to getting things done!

How have decided to lower the goal setting bar for yourself this year?