Tips for Goal Setting in the New Year

Monday, January 04, 2021


I spent yesterday cooking up a storm in the kitchen and getting acclimated with my new 2021 planner. After setting a whole bunch of writing goals I didn’t meet last year, I’m doing things a little differently this year. 

First, I had to select a word of the year to focus on. In years’ past, I’ve chosen words like “creative” or “entrepreneurial.” This year, I selected “service.” I’ve reached a point in my life and career where I want to do more volunteer work. Ideally, I’d like to volunteer somewhere locally that holds a special place in my heart, like a food pantry or organization that helps women and their children get back on their feet after life throws them a curveball. But I’m also looking to find a professional or nonprofit organization to serve on and work my way up to being a board member or officer. 

Then I had to pick three goals to focus on for the year. Where I failed in goal setting last year was setting way too many goals that were only in the writing/publishing realm. This year I’ve decided to focus on three separate types of goals—creative, lifestyle and health and wellness. 

My first goal is to increase my podcast engagement and begin earning revenue. While I built up a good base and feasible production schedule in 2020, I’m ready turn this endeavor into a product that contributes to my household income. By breaking down goals for this in each quarter, such as pitching myself to other podcasts and creating more content for bonus episodes and social media, I should be able to accomplish this goal. 

My second goal is related to travel. While I’ve talked a lot about my desire to travel, the pandemic put quite the kink in plans last year to visit places like New Orleans and St. Lucia. For 2021, safe and intentional travel is in my goals, even if it starts out as simple as weekend visits to college campuses with my teens once universities begin opening them back up. Or day trips to places we haven’t been before. I’m optimistic about safely seeing more places in 2021. 

The third goal is my ongoing struggle to shed pounds. Living in a house full of people with off-the-charts metabolism isn’t easy, and staying at home so much surrounded by food has put some unwanted pounds back on me this past year. While I’ve continued to stay in decent shape through daily runs or long walks, I’ve got a manageable goal of shedding 6-7 pounds and maintaining it in 2021. I think this is reasonable and I’ll use the MyFitnessPal app and meal prepping to help me stay on track. 

I also use a daily gratitude journal to help me stay focused on what I do have and not on what I don’t. By mixing these three types of goals into my life, I’m confident I’ll be successful. I also won’t feel bad if I don’t accomplish a whole bunch of writing goals in 2021—those will be icing on the cake instead. 

What sorts of goals have you set for 2021? Do you like mixing them up the way I do? 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and magazine editor who also hosts the true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas. Visit her website at


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I haven't worked out specific goals yes. But my word for the year is GENUINE. As in write what only I can write and take a class or two to get started with that. Be me unapologetically. Ready? Steady. Go!


Margo Dill said...

I have a word of the year too! It's FINISH. I'm going to blog about it sometime this year. Best of luck with your goals, Renee, and Happy New Year!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Renee, these are all great goals for 2021 and I'm sure you will accomplish all of them. I also love that you have a word for the year.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I am FINALLY catching up on your podcasts. I have to do physical therapy exercises, and listen to them while I'm stretching old and out-of-shape body parts. That is one of my goals.

I love your word. Service can serve you well. I imagine that whatever volunteer work you do, you will also write about it.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I split my goals up, too, Renee...home, work, spiritual (mind and body). But I find the older I get, the fewer goals I have. Or maybe it's the fewer goals I need? Anyway, best to you in 2021!

Renee Roberson said...

Sue--I love that word. I look forward to seeing how it continues to show up in your writing! Let me know which classes you take to help you with that goal.

Margo--I probably need to put a "Finish" goal somewhere on my list. One of the flaws of creative people is having too many projects going at any given time. I believe in you, though!

Jeanine--Thanks for your support. Last year went by way too fast so I'm trying to limit what I can possibly accomplish this year.

Sioux--Thanks for listening to the podcast! Glad I can help you get through those PT sessions.

Cathy--I like that you split your goals up, too. I feel like maybe if I can accomplish some of those other goals, the writing ones will fall into place, too. I also think that as we get older we feel less of a need to find things to work on, ha ha!

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