New Years Resolutions Didn’t Stick? Here’s a 3-Step Method to Map Thoughtful Goals for 2021

  • January 20, 2021
  • by Carrie Petri
  • (0) Comments

We’re more than halfway through January. How are those resolutions holding up? Did you make any this year?

This was actually the first year in as long as I can remember that I didn’t.

In the past, I’ve been so relieved and ready for the sharp-line-in-the sand that New Years brings to crazy holiday indulgence that I’ve been nerdily excited about setting up new rules and perfect routines for the year.

But 2020 being what it was, this year-end/new beginning felt different.

Rigid, aspirational standards felt exhausting to even consider, and as with everything else these days, a more thoughtful approach felt appropriate.

When I sat down to look at the year ahead, I wound up creating a new process for review and goal-setting that I enjoyed and want to share — in case you too weren’t feeling quite inspired or excited about resolutions this year. 

(Or, if you were feeling them on Jan 1, but by today are already straining to remember what they were 😳)

You can use this process like I did, to assess last year and map out all of your goals for the year ahead,

OR you can pick a specific area of your life or health that you’d like to improve on in 2021 (fitness, sleep, finances, etc.) and use this same process to reflect and create.


Here’s the 3-step process:

Step 1 – Reflection

I spent time reflecting on the highlights of last year — as in, I actually sat down and made a list. 

I expected it to be short, all things considered for 2020, but the more I sat with it and looked back through my calendar, pictures from the year, goals I had checked off along the way —

the more I realized what a rich year it was in so many unexpected ways:

  • I spent extended quality time with my family (and a few friends) that I had never expected to have, feeling so, so fortunate to be healthy and safe and together.
  • I unexpectedly, like many of us, got to work from home full-time, and to decide where to live based on where I wanted to be instead of where I needed to be to commute.
  • And with all of that time at home, I dove DEEP into education and personal and professional development. (And, Netflix.)

SO, that’s Step 1 — carve out 15 minutes, put pen to paper, and write down as many highlights, lessons and gifts from 2020 as you can think of.

Keep thinking, imagining and writing for the full 15 minutes.

You might be surprised by how much you have to be grateful for as we close the door on 2020.

And gratitude is a strong place from which to set new intentions and goals.


Step 2 – Vision

Next, I switched gears to think about 2021, and as I started to journal, I found myself writing down a list powerful questions — 

Who do I want to be in the world, to show up as every day?

What experiences/relationships/things do I want my life to include this year?

What do I want to learn, what skills do I want to develop? 

What emotions do I want to experience daily?

How do I want to feel in my body every day?

What intuitive guidance do I have about what to create in my life and how?

What goals/habits/actions does my higher self want for me this year? 

What do I need to leave behind in 2020 (behaviors, habits, thoughts/beliefs)?

What levels/limits am I going to push beyond in 2021? 

What steps will I take to ensure I do so?

How will I ideally start my days? How will I end them? 

And what steps do I need to take to make sure that happens?

What are the tools and processes I’ll use every day to create the life I’m designing for myself?

How do I want to use my voice this year? 

What do I want to share, create, teach?

Where do I want to travel this year (fingers crossed!)?

How much income do I want to generate this year? How will I achieve that?

What do I want to learn this year? What skills do I want to develop?

What will success look like?

How will I track my progress?

How will I hold myself accountable?

What teachers, coaches, mentors and guides will I look to this year? Which will I leave behind?

I spent time going through and answering these questions, and gained a lot of insight into what I want the year ahead to look like, who I want to show up as, etc.

➡️ Before you get overwhelmed looking at that long list, remember — you don’t need to answer them all, or all at once.

➡️ Read through the list, find the ones that speak to you and that you feel called to answer, and journal on those.

➡️ Or do a few every day over the next week.

➡️ There’s no rush, these are just prompts to help you tap into your vision for yourself.

I went back through everything I had written and pulled out the tangible action items into a simplified goal list that covered all areas – health, relationships, finances, career, spirituality, education/growth, etc.


Step 3 – Scheduling

Once you reduce your universe of intentions for the year into a list of clear goals, it’s time to design a realistic path to achieving them by year-end.

Looking at the 2021 calendar, I broke my goals into quarters of the year (Q1, Q2, etc.).

This step was hugely valuable as many of us underestimate how much time it will take to achieve something + overestimate how much we can get done in a day, a month, etc.

Or we try to take on ten different goals at once, imagining we’ll have infinite time to put towards each of them.

This can lead to overwhelm and a sense of defeat when we don’t live up to the unrealistic expectations we’ve set for ourselves.

Looking at the year from a birdseye point of view and spreading goals out accordingly can gave you better footing and more clarity on where to begin and what to be working on, when. 

After breaking the goals into quarters, I then did the same process for Q1, breaking down that quarter’s goals into months.

You could do this for Q2, Q3 and Q4 as well.

Are you still with me? This is the end, and it’s where the rubber actually meets the road —

Now that you have your monthly goals, you can take out your calendar and schedule blocks of time to achieve those goals by month-end.

Once scheduled, if you protect that time and show up to do the work, you know you’ll be on track to achieve your monthly, quarterly and annual goals.


That’s not to say it will all run as smoothly as you’ve calendared it or go perfectly according to plan — if we learned ANYTHING from 2020, it’s probably to never assume that’s possible!

But by working through it in this way —

📅 reflecting on last year,

🔮 tapping into your vision for the year ahead,

📈 breaking it down practically into quarters/months,

⏰ scheduling the necessary time in your calendar to achieve those monthly milestones —

you’ll have created a clear roadmap to your goals.

One more thing to note –

I did this process for all areas of my life, so considering everything from my health, to relationships, family, career, finances, etc. But you could also choose to work on just one area that you feel called to focus on, like your health, career or your spirituality. Take what resonates and put it to work for your priorities.

I hope you found this helpful! If you give this process a try, or even part of it, let me know. Send me an email or a DM on Instagram, and let me know what worked for you and what you came up with as your vision for 2021. I would love to hear!