By: Nanette Fairley
January 12, 2021


I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Research by Strava, found that most people gave up their New Year’s Resolutions by Jan 19th!!!  Yet, I do believe in goal setting as one key to the energy and motivation we draw upon to move forward each year. Goals enable you to create the world you want to live in, to design the life you want to lead – in short help you be the best version of you this year.

But aren’t goals only for the workplace? What if I have retired? It’s just as important to set goals around retirement or planning for retirement – otherwise what happens? Life gets in the way and time flies past. In 2020 I was in awe of, now 100 year old, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who had a goal to walk 100 laps of his garden to raise GBP1000 for the NHS. An obvious over achiever, he raised more than GBP39 million and became the sweetheart of the UK at a very challenging time.

In January 2020 I wrote my 20 goals for 2020. It seemed like a good idea at the time! But, like many, my 2020 was a bit of a write off. So I had a major rewrite mid year – and that’s OK too. But I had a place to begin with that revision, rather than a blank sheet of paper.

When reflecting on all the best tips on goal setting I offer these six to focus on when writing your goals for 2021:

1.List all your accomplishments in 2020 and review what you learned.

Look for themes – What did you find you enjoyed more this year than you expected to? What new skills did you learn or discover? e.g. Did you learn that you like the remote connection of Zoom we all learnt to use in 2020? Or did you discover that you felt too isolated without so much in person interaction? Take these learnings and build more of the positives into your 2021 goals.

2.Be holistic in setting goals.

Develop 2021 goals for each aspect of your life (check out our Wayfinder questionnaire which will give you several ideas on topics). Some examples include goals around:

  • improving your wellbeing – physical health, mental health or cognitive health
  • achieving a financial target – two friends of mine have a goal to pay off their property this year and I am confident they will!
  • learning something new – a skill or take on board new knowledge
  • having an experience, perhaps one from your bucket list. One of my mottos is the old Emirates tagline – ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’
  • investing time in closer relationships with your family and friends
  • broadening your network and circle of acquaintances – as an introvert I need to actively focus here. I find when traveling alone I can go for days or weeks living in my own little world, so making new connections is a non-negotiable goal on my agenda
  • achieving a travel goal – that may need to be mostly local in 2021 but may still be possible
  • giving back to your community or a more global cause.
  • changing some behaviors’ that aren’t working for you e.g. becoming more forgiving or developing your assertiveness skills or your listening skills.

3.Be clear on why you want this as a goal.

I love the quote from Dr. Peter Fuda, who works in the leadership and transformation space, he says “Your ‘why’ is the most important part of ‘how’ you achieve anything.” Test your reason for wanting to include each goal in your 2021 list. This will also help you narrow down your goals and hold you to the most important ones.

4.Don’t limit yourself – dream big!

An ambitious aim is inspirational, stretching and definitely something that can get you out of bed in the morning. People will cheer you on and help you stay accountable.

5.Break your goals into bite sized pieces

Small steps move you forward to your ultimate goal and small steps are easier to measure. And we’ve all heard that old adage – what gets measured get’s done! So break your big, hairy, audacious goals down.


Review your goals regularly through the year to see if you are on track, or if circumstances need you to change them. But most of all review them so you can pause to acknowledge success as you tick off big and small milestones on the way to the end goal. I like the celebrations best – usually mine are chocolate related! Oh and try not to beat yourself up over those you did not achieve. I know, harder said than done!

Goals are relevant no matter what stage of your life journey you are in. So what’s next for you in 2021?