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  • Karen E. Osborne

How to Reflect and Grow from 2020 and Set and Meet Small AND Important Goals for 2021

I'm a goal setter and every January I think about what I want and how I want to improve. The two articles I'm writing about today shifted my thinking. Perhaps, they will inspire or help you too.


One of the reasons I chose this first article is the amount of time the author spends on the case for a "gratitude habit." I've been journaling about gratitude every day for several years. Now, thanks to the author, I've added writing personal notes to people for whom I am grateful. I'm mailing one a day.



Another believer in the gratitude habit, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, keeps a gratitude reminder on her desk.

  1. Someone

  2. Something

  3. Myself

I've added this to my morning ritual.


In addition, the author acknowledges our pain and confusion. Yes, there was loss, sadness, upheaval, trauma, and drama in 2020, but there were also moments of joy, insights, positivity, and lessons learned. The author, Tara Parker-Pope, recommends "honest and self-compassionate reflection of the year. Reflection is a way of being ready to move forward into this new year." Rather than focus on resolutions, she says, take time to reflect on the insights you can take away.


I'm setting time aside to look back, digest, and seek the gems that will help me in 2021.


The second article I'd like to highlight shares advice from Kimberly Presley, licensed clinical social worker, and the clinical director at Taylor Counseling Group. She recommends setting five types of goals and keeping them small and realistic.


1. Personal Goals: Ask yourself, "How have I taken care of myself this year? Have I taken time to pour into myself? How's my mental health been? What is one thing I can add to my routine that involves self care?"


Despite the gym closing, I found ways to move every day. Walking in the house and outside (masked and/or in the street to avoid others). I purchased weights and used them three times a week. And yet...10 isolation pounds later, I realize I also ate more. Treated myself to Chai Tea Latte too many times. Ate the apple and pumpkin pies I baked.


2021 Goal: Start a food journal and cut back. "The 10 pounds are new so they're not really part of me yet," I will say everyday. Return to the gym as soon as it's safe.


2. Household Goals: Choose one area of the house to clean out in January/February. Freshen up a space that would make you feel proud.


I'm a stacker and a spreader. Piles of papers materialize almost by themselves and cover far too many surfaces.


2021 Goal: Organize and clean my office including the bookshelves.


3. Relationship Goals: How satisfied are you with your relationships right now? Is there one friend or relationships that you would like to be more intentional about? Reach out and put a date on the calendar to meet with them in the New Year.


This I've done well. Stayed in touch, reached out. But as I mentioned earlier, I've added a gratitude note a day to a friend, colleague, vendor, or family member.


2021 Goal: Keep it up!


4. Spiritual Goals: What's your spiritual practice like these days? How can you get in touch with this area of your life more in the coming year?


This too I've tended to daily. I kept up with my church and philanthropy (which I belive is part of my spiritual life - doing good works).


2021 Goal: Keep it up. Do more when you can.


5. Work Goals: How did you feel about your work-life balance this year? Your work performance? Your work relationships? Choose one part of your work life to focus on and identify a way to change it up to be something that serves you.


My new work is writing. Being an author is a complicated profession. I must write every day, edit what is already written, research for new projects, and market. I need to balance (blend) that with self care, my love life with my husband, friendships, board service, philanthropic service, family (including three grandsons), spiritual life, and professional responsibilities with The Osborne Group, the consulting company I still work with.


2021 Goal: Focus more time on all aspects of writing. Determine how much time I want to spend writing, editing, researching, and especially marketing my newest novel, Tangles Lies (launch date July 22, 2021). Set weekly goals.


I can do this!


What are your reflections on the year we've just ended? What lessons did you learn? For what/whom are you grateful? What aspects of your life would benefit from 2021 goals?


I'd love to hear from you.

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