The new year always seems an apt time to set ourselves new goals and ambitions. As with many things, it can always seem that little bit harder to set attainable goals when we aren’t in education anymore. Those standard ‘get good grades’ related goals are no longer an option, so what now? Here are some of my ideas for goals for 2021 for graduates.
Of course, setting goals should always come with some idea of how to achieve them. So first things first…
What does an achievable goal for 2021 look like?
Set monthly goals
It’s lovely to see a full year ahead of you and dream about all of the exciting things you could achieve, but it’s not always helpful to set a year-long goal. Consider setting yourself monthly goals and breaking your bigger plans down into 12 chunks. This way, you can set yourself actionable steps each month to achieve that goal, and celebrate once you’ve reached it.
It can be discouraging to set a goal that will take a year or more to achieve, as you’ll often wonder if you’re falling short or become disengaged with it. So go ahead and set those vast goals, but remember to break them into monthly chunks for a better idea of how to achieve them.
Be more descriptive and actionable
I’ve always been terrible at setting really ambiguous goals. What does ‘get better at running’ actually mean? How will I know if I’ve ‘done well at my job’? How will you ‘be more present’?
It’s a good starting point, but you should be as descriptive as possible. Set out what success looks like to you, is it being able to run without stopping for an hour? Is it getting a promotion? What does being more present mean?
Try setting your goals out in a similar way to this:
Overall goal: get better at running
Measure of success: be able to run for an hour without stopping
Monthly steps: January: run for 10 minutes without stopping – go for one run a week. February: run for 15 minutes without stopping – go for one run a week. March: run 20 minutes – go for two runs a week… and so on!
If you’ve never read five books in a year before, why are you now saying that your goal is to read 30? It’s probably quite unrealistic, and therefore unachievable.
Ask yourself what targets you think you’ll be able to hit and whether you’re being a bit too ambitious. Setting yourself a few goals that you know you’ll be able to reach with some consistency and determination, and a few others that will push you a bit further.
Ideas for goals after graduation
One area that graduates can focus their goals for 2021 is careers. By setting ourselves goals at work and with our continued professional development, we can ensure that we don’t settle, are always learning new things and can climb up the career ladder at the pace we choose.
Some career goals you could set are:
- Decide what you want to do
- Get a pay rise
- Get a new job
- Win a new contract
- Get onto a graduate scheme
AD – if anyone is looking for some help surrounding getting a job or graduate scheme for 2021, Newton Europe has some brilliant resources that could help you to achieve your goals. Newton has their own graduate scheme that opens every year in autumn for consulting too, so keep an eye out later next year.
Now we’re in the big wide world, money is something that we’re having to consider a lot more, for most, than when we were at school.
With our monthly salary and committed payments, we need to learn how to budget, save where we want to and be responsible with all of our finances. Some ideas for money related goals are:
- Learning how to budget
- Saving a certain amount
- Seeking a pay rise
- Buying something you’ve been working toward for a while
Remember as set out before, break down each goal into monthly chunks and try to use numbers to achieve them. For example, if you want to save £1,000 for the year, you’ll need to save £83 a month and around £19 a week. Not too bad when you break it down and see where you could save that money weekly.
2020 has been a year for looking after ourselves, but just how well have we all done it? Whether we’re wanting to make more of an effort with our mental or physical health, clearly defined goals can help for the year ahead.
If you’re wanting to dedicate more time to looking after yourself or spending time on your hobbies, remember to be specific and break it down. Instead of writing ‘look after myself better’, write ‘spend 15 minutes each day doing X’ or ‘meditate X time a week’.
Some ideas are:
- Spend less time on your phone
- Take up a new hobby and stick to it
- Start a daily journal
- Set clearer boundaries with work and friendships
All goals are relative to you and what you want, so the above ideas might not resonate, but hopefully the formatting of each makes sense and is something that you can use.
What are your goals for 2021?
Check out my posts for more self-care advice ahead of 2021.