Life Choices · Writing

Why I Am Not Setting Any Goals for 2021, And Neither Should You

The Old Approach

This year will be the first time in a long time that I am not actively goal-setting for an upcoming new year. Goal setting is a process of planning and selecting a target or objective you want to achieve.

There are two reasons why I am abstaining from any goal-setting undertakings.

First, considering the uncertainty of the present, I do not see the strategic value of long-term planning. Secondly, my 2020 activities are more than enough to carry me through the next decade.

Regarding the first reason, how realistic is it to set goals when it is impossible to account for the plethora of indeterminable factors outside of one’s control that could affect a goal’s outcome?

It can also be argued that setting specific long-term goals might lead to people cheating or circumventing the process just to tick “the box” of meeting said goals, which usually results in producing poor quality outcomes.

Think about it. How many people actually follow through on their goals? According to recent research, only eight percent of people actually achieve their goals.

Now, this is not to strip every ounce of value from goal-setting or that we should completely eliminate setting goals altogether.

An Alternative to Goal-Setting

I believe it is more important to focus on continuous improvement. In Japanese, the term for “continuous improvement” is called kaizen. Kaizen not only means continuous improvement but also means change for the better, gradually and methodically.

Kaizen recognizes that small changes now can have significant future impacts.

The key takeaway is to remember that everyday self-improvement efforts and progressive and disciplined actions lead to small wins, which helps you move on to more considerable achievements.

What are your thoughts as it relates to goal-setting? I’d love to know.

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11 thoughts on “Why I Am Not Setting Any Goals for 2021, And Neither Should You

  1. If there is anything I have learned about 2020, it’s got to be the Kaizen Principle, the pandemic has made me count the little things, do one thing at a time and that’s been quite a challenge especially when all around me people are about that life, chasing dreams, hustling, grinding and just getting things done!
    As for 2021; I am still being intentional with my writing, setting goals and putting in the work daily in terms of how much I write, when I write and also what I read. I feel like that’s the one area I have to set goals and yes…and fitness, working out is something I have come to love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dora, what you have shared resonates deeply with me. I love that even when surrounded by “chasing, hustling, and grinding,” you are intentional about improving the daily aspects of your life. Like you, the indescribable beauty and magic of writing compel me to bask in its essence often. Continue shining wherever your journey may take you. And thanks for pushing the conversation along.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ☺️ There’s a quote attributed to Helen Keller that says: “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” In my view, this is a mantra worth adopting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s also what Gandhi said: whatever you have to do may seem very insignificant: but it is most important that you do it. Also there’s a lot to be said for staying in the present, where one’s activities do occur, rather than vaulting into the future of what-if….another thought, from Pablo Casals, is that if we attend to small things every day, we will see miracles. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can say that I may have achieved some of the dreams, but the occurrence of many unexpected things in my life turned dreams upside down … and it ended with the emergence of that epidemic that plagued the world in a frightening stalemate …
    I will not write dreams of 2021 and not plans, but I will try to do What I can do … As long as my heart beats and as my heart wants to help others realize their dreams …🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiba, keep pushing forward. Helping others realize their dreams never goes unnoticed by the universe. Sarah Bernhardt once said, “Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your first reason made me laugh out loud. I set (and achieve) goals all the time, but I think they must be more aligned with Kaizen. The past four years, I’ve had the same goals, which are a bit broad, like remembering that anything is possible, for example. As long as I remember that, then it doesn’t matter what my other goals are; they all rely on that one sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

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