Lindsay LaNore: Review and refresh your goals

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Photo by Mihajlo Ckovric/Stocksy

By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA

I don’t think any of us could have anticipated the year we’ve had. Remember that list of goals you set for 2020? You probably didn’t complete it. Maybe you didn’t even get halfway there. Few of us did and, under the circumstances, that’s hardly surprising.

With 2021 just around the corner, this is a great time to recenter, review and refresh your goals and priorities. It’s natural to feel exhausted or as if you’ve been in survival mode for as long as you can remember. You may be thinking, “How can I prioritize when everything feels high priority?”

It may seem overwhelming, but don’t put it off. Keep your goals in front of you. It may have been easy to hide them in a drawer this year, but we need to be able to see the things we want to accomplish. Whether you use a master spreadsheet or a software system, or you stick Post-it notes to your whiteboard, they need to be out front.

Start by jotting everything down. Then extract those items that are essential. You can rank them or adopt a three-column strategy with the headers Must Do, Nice to Do and Need Not Do. Alternatively, you can use the Eisenhower Matrix (or Urgent-Important Matrix), one of the task-prioritizing tools recommended by time management experts. The key is to put it all out there and thoughtfully spend time determining what is most important.

Attach a timeframe or deadline to each goal. How long will it take? Does it require daily, weekly or monthly attention? If it seems too large, break it up into smaller goals that seem more achievable. Define what goes into achieving each goal. What’s a quick fix? What needs time? What requires more thought? What needs serious investment?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can’t do everything. So, set aside time for you and your team to focus on your goals, and resist the urge to multitask. Say “no” to things that don’t support your goals.

Evaluate resources that will help you accomplish them, and remember to ask for help if you need it. Set targets for success and measure your progress. Check on the status of your goals periodically, but don’t turn your status checks into working meetings. Take the pressure off where you can.

On that note, make sure to celebrate your progress. Remember that Jar of Good concept from January? Even if you didn’t hit every milestone you had planned for 2020, there are sure to have been many success stories and achievements. Celebrate them.

And remember that you are not alone; most people’s priorities changed this year. Now is the time to level set, establish a baseline for yourself and for your team—and meet 2021 with heads up and eyes clear.

Lindsay LaNore ( is group executive vice president and chief learning and experience officer