• Janeen Shaffer, PCC

How to step into a new year.

I am stepping gently into 2021 by not being as robust about specific goals to achieve. I’m grateful to be here, to be healthy, for my family and friends’ health, and for the blessings around me. A new year represents new beginnings, new aspirations, and new goals. Last year, many of us had to lay down our vision of 2020 and try to go with the flow as best as we could. Now, what do we do with setting goals for 2021? The reality is that for our work-life we usually have specific targets and goals to achieve for individual and organizational success. What about other goals that help to enrich your work and personal life? As we step through the first week of 2021, I approach those goals much differently than before. I continue to be reminded that unexpected events can shift life in a moment, so I’m focusing on what I can control: my intentions, time, efforts, and mindset. How do I translate that into my expectations and focus for 2021? Here are some ideas to share in the hopes that it helps you embrace what is available for you in 2021.

  1. What experiences do you want to create this year? Simply focusing on results keeps you singularly focused on how to achieve them. This isn’t bad, but is it enough? If you focus on experiences you’d like to encounter, it allows you to expand your vision and create opportunities that fuel your joy and interests. A personal example is that I want to experience more international work. Since I can’t travel right now, what can I do to create international work experience? I signed up for a coaching program that supports micro-business leaders in Eastern Europe via video. A client of mine wants to work with more collaborative and solution-oriented people. We’ve identified peers she knows that reflect these qualities. She is going to explore with them if there are special projects or efforts where they can work together more. Also, she is looking for other internal opportunities where the team and leaders demonstrate the ability to manage change in a constructive way. Your experiences can be light and fun. They don’t have to be all significant or serious. Perhaps you want to see some online, live music events since concerts aren’t happening yet. These are examples of actions that motivate and support you in creating experiences that are important to you this year.

  2. What habits or behaviors do you want to let go of? What behaviors are no longer working for you? Are there new behaviors that will better serve you as you think about what you’d like to create in 2021? For example, if you are good at pleasing others but at the expense of your needs, can you set a goal of saying “no” to 1 or 2 things every month that don’t support your vision for 2021? If you are a more cautious person and want to push yourself to take a few risks this year, can you say “yes” to 1 or 2 things that you are curious about but hesitant to try? I have one client that is a lawyer by day and adjunct professor at a local university by night. He loves his teaching job but has been overloaded with the change to remote teaching and working. Even though the teaching role brings him a lot of fulfillment, he is going to let it go so he can better manage all the changes of working from home as well as homeschooling his child. Being intentional with your behaviors and listening to yourself is key to creating your ideal version of 2021.

  3. What do you need to do to thrive versus survive 2021? I have a feeling 2021 won’t give us a break to recover from 2020. So, what do you need to do to keep your mindset light, flexible, and strong? From a practical perspective, your calendar may be a good place to start. Do you need to shift some meetings to emerging leaders on your team to give you more flexibility, or do you need to block free, focused time on your calendar? From a self-care perspective, what are the tools that restore and rejuvenate you? Many clients find mindfulness or meditation, exercise, music, eating well, and connecting with others as helpful tools that replenish their coffers. There are free meditations at tarabrach.com, and wonderful resources with the Calm and Headspace apps. There are free exercise apps available for a limited time right now (onepeloton.com as an example and you don’t need their bike for all the exercises). If you want to better understand the importance of quiet time, check out this HBR article (The-busier-you-are-the-more-you-need-quiet-time). If you are moving so fast you can’t keep up with yourself, you may be missing the important nudges about work, relationships, and your health given to you by peers, loved ones, and the Universe.

Here’s to a new year! May our energy be strong, light, and flexible so we can navigate what we want to experience in 2021 as well as what comes our way unexpectedly.


Janeen Shaffer is a PCC certified coach helping individuals and leaders with their internal development and external performance. If the article resonated with you … follow me on LinkedIn, or contact me at janeen@shaffercoach.com, www.shaffercoach.com, IG @janeen.shaffer, Pinterest Shaffer Coaching + Consulting.

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