31 December, 2020
Setting Realistic Goals 2021
Setting Realistic Goals 2021
Health & Wellness, Lifestyle

How To Set Realistic Goals For 2021

31 December, 2020
Setting Realistic Goals 2021

Set realistic goals for 2021 with the help of a leadership and life coach…

What goals did you set for yourself at the start of the year? Travel more? Spend more time with friends and family? Start going to the gym three times a week? If you ever needed an excuse for why you didn’t achieve your goals, a pandemic would be it. It’s okay. We’re stepping into a new year – a chance to start anew. Now, you might be thinking, what’s the point, who knows what else 2021 might throw our way? But to that I would argue that it’s even more important to set goals during uncertain times.

Goals keep us motivated, give us focus and direction, and a sense of accomplishment each time we achieve something. The past year has shown me that as robust as your goals may be, the universe might sometimes have other plans, but that shouldn’t deter us from striving for a better life. While keeping our expectations in check, we can set realistic goals for 2021. Here are some tips and tools to help you get started.

Read more: Your Guide To Public Holidays In 2021: How to Maximise Your Annual Leave

The Wheel Of Life – A Goal Setting Tool

Realistic Goal Setting 2021: The Wheel of Life

Use the Wheel of Life as a guide to help you assess different areas in your life that might need improvement or change. Whether you’re looking to set new goals for 2021 or would like to review your current goals, this tool should help you focus on what’s most important to you.


  • What qualities in a job are important to you? Money? Stability? Work culture?
  • Are you in a career that you enjoy or find satisfying?
  • What are the next steps you want to take in your career?
  • What would you ask for in your career if you had the courage to?

Read more: 6 Things You Should Consider Before Making A Career Change

Family & Friends

  • What can you do to maximise quality time with your friends and family?
  • Has 2020 allowed you to be more connected or more isolated from your friends and family? What do you need to start, stop or continue doing?


  • How has 2020 strengthened or strained your relationship(s)?
  • What changes, if any, do you wish to see happen in 2021?
  • What do you hope to gain from your relationship(s)?

Read more: 5 Ways To Stop Repeating Relationship Patterns

Realistic Goal Setting 2021: Planning

Fun & Recreation

  • What activities bring joy and meaning to your life?
  • How can I set aside time to have fun?

Health & Wellbeing

  • What do you need to prioritise for your health and wellbeing in 2021?
  • What lifestyle changes do you want to make to improve your health and wellbeing?
  • What help do you need to ask for?
  • When was the last time you took a break? (Commit to taking your annual leave in 2021 – even if you can’t get on a plane!)


  • What’s in your control money-wise?
  • In what ways can you cut down on your spending and increase your savings?
  • Where do you want to be financially one year from now?
  • To what degree does money control your happiness?

Read more: How To Manage Your Money During An Economic Downturn

Personal Growth & Development

  • What do you want to focus on or invest in personally/professionally (i.e. take up a new course, learn a new skill or language, gain self-awareness, get certified, etc.)?
  • What do you want to deepen your knowledge in or awareness of?

Passion & Creativity

  • Did you discover/rediscover a passion in 2020 that you would like to pursue or take to the next level?
  • What have you been putting off in this area that you are ready to start now?

Physical Environment

  • How satisfied are you with your physical environment (i.e. country, apartment, workplace)?
  • Is there a need or opportunity to change your environment? What is realistic and possible?

8 Practical Goal Setting Tips

Realistic Goal Setting 2021: Goals

Consider these points when setting and reaching your goals. Remember, goal setting is intended to keep you motivated and constantly growing, not to add stress to your life.

  • Motivation: Your “why?”. Time to get honest with yourself. What’s the driving force behind each of your goals. Who are you doing this for?
  • Relevance: Review your previous goals. Are they still relevant or do they need a bit of tweaking? If you’ve had a goal on your list for a couple years now but haven’t been able to tick it off, perhaps it isn’t high on your priority list. It’s okay to put it on the back burner for now and relieve yourself of the stress to achieve the goal next year.
  • Envision: Imagine what your life will look like when you achieve each goal, imagine how it would feel. Use this to keep you motivated.
  • Keep a record: Write down your goals and make them visible (e.g. stick them on your bathroom mirror or fridge).
  • Stay SMART: Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound). This helps to keep your goals focused and attainable.
  • Prioritise: List your goals in order of priority and focus on three to five at a time. This will tell you what’s most important to you and will help you stay focused on what needs to be achieved first.
  • Expectations: Manage your expectations and understand what’s in your control (and what’s not). Approach goal setting with an open mind and be prepared to let go of goals when circumstances are not working in your favour (you can always get back to them at a later time).
  • Anxiety: If striving to achieve a goal is burning you out or causing you stress, consider taking a break. Goals are intended to enrich our lives, not make them more difficult. Setting smaller, more achievable goals rather than big, long-term goals can keep you motivated through rough patches.

Accountability & Tracking

Realistic Goal Setting 2021: Habit Tracker

Get yourself an accountability buddy – someone who will keep you accountable and check in on your progress each week or month. This should be someone who can be honest with you and vice versa, and someone who will push you to stay on track and encourage you along the way.

It’s good to keep track of your own progress throughout the year. Take stock monthly or quarterly, and if you see you’ve fallen off track, look at what’s derailed you. Was it inside or outside your control? How can you get back on track?

Don’t forget to celebrate your successes or at least acknowledge what you have achieved, even if it’s just a tiny victory or small step towards a larger goal. It’s important to also set realistic expectations and give yourself permission to fail. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan – setbacks and failures are all part of the growth journey.

To help you get started on your journey, we’ve created a downloadable (below) which you can use to reflect on what you want to focus on this year, using the Wheel of Life as a guide, and set clear and realistic goals for 2021.

2021 Goals Downloadable

Sassy Tip: If you feel like you need more guidance in setting and achieving your goals, consider looking into Monica’s four-part “Navigate Towards Fulfilment” course. Head here for all the details.

Featured image courtesy of Sassy Media Group and Madison Inouye via Pexels, image 1 courtesy of Sassy Media Group, image 2 courtesy of STIL via Unsplash, image 3 courtesy of SomeMeans via Getty, image 4 courtesy of Prophsee Journals via Unsplash.

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