Well, Hello 2021! The New Year is here which means in ordinary times, people would be thinking about either setting goals or actually doing it. Yes, I know 2020 was awful…REALLY AWFUL and worse for some than others. Any goals that were set were probably  just left on the paper where they were written or drastically changed. 

But I’m here to say that if you had goals set last January before Covid 19 took over, why not start out 2021 on a more normal note and get back to business. And for those of you who aren’t into setting goals, it’s time to take a fresh look.

Goals, dreams, bucket lists…what are they really? To me, they are simply a giant to do list. Something you tend to do without formally putting in writing.

You have heard me talk countless times about the fact I do not have goals, dreams, or bucket lists. And I’m certainly not a fan of a new you in the new year. Instead, I have a to do list. 

I manage my to do lists whether personal, work, family or other as I would my businesses…as a working, organic, breathing and ever changing document. So, when 2020 took on Covid 19, my to do list had to pivot.

launch a to do list in the new year

Pivoting means there are no goals destroyed, there are no dreams crushed, and there is no unattainable bucket list. It just means we sit back down, look at the list, and make the necessary adjustments.

Many times these adjustments allow the end result to be even better than we anticipated. It also allows us not to become clouded by what we perceive as a failure. Many times we allow these clouds to hold us back from moving forward to get what we need done. So, again I say…scrap the goals, dreams and bucket lists, and launch a to do list instead.

Scrap Setting Goals and Launch a To Do List

Let’s talk about how to do this.

Setting a to do list for 2021 may seem overwhelming – it shouldn’t be –  and you may be wondering why bother – but don’t. Make the list based on what you would like to do. Be sure to be specific and do things that will be attainable. Maybe start with a small item that you know you can accomplish. That way, you have a win right off the bat and can feel good tackling the remaining items on your list.

After you have your list complete, set steps to attain each item and set dates based on when you would like to or need to complete them by. But beware, as 2020 proved, setting dates can be fraught with challenges. There are simply too many factors that can force changes to your timeframes.

So, here is what I do.

First, I take each “goal” and put it on my to do list in a journal. This is a dynamic list. Then, on each page I put one item followed by the steps/tasks I will take to complete that to do item. I leave a blank sheet between each item on the list to take notes for that “goal”. Once I have all my to do’s listed, I go back and prioritize, so I am sure to get started on the more immediate needs.

setting to do lists for the new year

Here’s an example of one of my “goals”.

Obtain a herd of milk goats for the farm.

 Steps to attain my to do item:

  • Do due diligence on milk goats.
  • Determine what I need to accommodate the herd.
  • Decide where to build a new animal area.
  • Investigate and choose the type of shelter.
  • Build a budget.
  • Build the fencing.
  • Build the shelter.
  • Find a line of goats.
  • Buy all the necessary supplies.
  • Purchase the goats.

Once I have my steps listed, I go to my calendar and add when I will do each task. I leave plenty of time in between to adjust for any road bumps that come up and make the necessary time changes. As I complete each step, I make a note in my journal on that page, so I have everything in one place.

Often, items get moved up or back on my to do list based on other things that come up. I also leave extra time for myself for learning. But I am sure to cross off each task when complete.

For example – For the month of January, I have each day on my calendar marked – research milking goats. On the first Saturday, I added to walk the property with David to decide on the new animal area. Now, I know darn well that as I am learning about goats this location may change.

I often find that with this method more gets done, more items are checked off, and that more “goals” are met.

Tips for setting a to do list.

Leave room for yourself to have space and accept if your timeline changes. Know that changes and pivoting can be good and the end result may be better than expected. There are reasons why you may add or remove items and that is okay. In no way does it make you a failure.

In fact, don’t beat yourself up about the list at all. If it causes you stress, put it away, especially after the year we just went through and still are living through. Show yourself some self-compassion.

Include one or two lofty items on your list and make them stretch across many years. Your journal of your “goals” should be many journals that you keep year over year. Use tabs to keep you focused on items in the journal that still need to get done.

And above all, celebrate the items when complete, no matter how big or small. Stop dreaming and make it happen!

What’s on your 2021 to do list?