Set and stick to your 2021 goals with help from Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat DC
By Adobe Document Cloud Team
Posted on 01-15-2021
Plan for success in 2021 with SMART goals
2020 has been a year unlike any other, forcing individuals and businesses to make major adjustments to their plans, priorities, and expectations. A lot has felt out of our control this year, but by getting a head start on New Year’s goals for 2021, you can set yourself up for success in the months ahead - and Adobe Acrobat online tools can help.
Looking back at 2020, are there things you wished you had done differently? Is there a not-so-great habit that consistently got in your way or kept you from achieving your best? A relationship or skill you could have strengthened? A project you wanted to complete, but didn’t quite get to? We all fall short of our own expectations at times, and the end of the year is a great time to reflect and recognize that every new year is a new opportunity for personal and professional growth. This year, set yourself up for greater growth, productivity, and success by setting and tracking your New Year’s goals.
How to set SMARTER goals
We all know the feeling of working towards a goal only to realize that it’s less critical, attainable, or helpful than we initially imagined. Whether you’re making New Year’s goals for yourself or your business, they should set you up for success, not disappointment. To ensure your success in the coming year, try using the SMARTER goal-setting framework.
- Specific: Your goals should identify exactly what you want to achieve, with as much detail as possible.
- Measurable: Your goals should be quantifiable. Without clear, quantifiable metrics for success, it might be difficult to tell whether you’re succeeding.
- Actionable: Your goals should be framed as specific actions to take (write, build, submit, run) rather than abstract states or efforts (be, try, have).
- Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your life. Ideally, they should be aligned with your values and needs as they relate to an area of personal or professional growth.
- Timed: Your goals should have a specific timeframe or end date attached to them. This will help you stay motivated and accountable.
- Evaluate: Your goals should be evaluated on a regular basis. By reflecting on your progress (or lack thereof), you hold yourself accountable. The more you think about your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.
- Readjust: Your goals should have enough flexibility to allow for minor pivots. If you find yourself unable to overcome an obstacle in achieving your goals, don’t be afraid to readjust your methodology in pursuing your desired outcome rather than giving up.
With this framework in mind, you’re ready to start setting and working towards your goals.
Personal goals for a fulfilling and productive year
We all have a habit we’re trying to quit or a hobby we wish we could spend more time on. In 2021, set SMART personal New Year’s goals to make 2021 your most successful and fulfilling year yet.
- Schedule time for friends and family: Social life in 2020 looked a lot different than we’re used to. If you found yourself falling out of touch with loved ones this year, commit to reserving a block of time each week for phone or video calls, texts, or even writing letters to those close to you.
- Focus on overall health: With the stress and isolation many people have experienced this year, it may have felt easier to justify sweet treats or marathon streaming sessions. To start 2021, create a meal or exercise plan that will help you feel your best. Consider setting a screen time limit for the whole family to allow you to be more present.
- Develop a new skill: While many people took up and then promptly abandoned baking and knitting while in quarantine, there are plenty of other skills that might improve your personal or professional life. Whether it’s an artistic outlet that helps you relax or a business skill that could take your career to the next level, make a plan to nurture it in the coming months.
- Give back to your community: Wherever you live, 2020 was a difficult year for everyone. Consider contributing time, money, or other resources to a local organization that benefits a cause you care about. Even something that feels small to you could make a big impact to those in need.
Small business goals to spur growth
For small business owners, the hustle never stops. But the new year is a great time to slow down and take stock of where your business is and where it needs to go. Whatever business you’re in, setting SMARTER goals will help your business grow and succeed in the coming year.
- Improve your online platform: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major surge in e-commerce. If you’ve spent this year weathering the storm, use the coming months to increase your business’s online presence and capabilities by updating your website or online store.
- Launch a digital marketing campaign: To further capitalize on the growth of online business, develop a digital marketing strategy that includes search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing. These tools are relatively low-cost but can help increase web traffic and sales significantly.
- Implement digital productivity tools: Prior to COVID-19, many small businesses had no need to invest in digital productivity and collaboration tools. But with so many employees still working from home, it may be worth exploring whether a project management or collaboration app could improve your business’s productivity and efficiency.
- Build employee morale: 2020 has been incredibly difficult for everyone. Whether you have one employee or 100, finding some way to recognize and thank them for their contributions can jumpstart morale and productivity in 2021.
How to stick to your goals in 2021
As everyone who has ever set a New Year’s resolution knows, they can be much harder to stick to than you think. To avoid the discouragement of not meeting your goals, you should first check them against the SMARTER framework to make sure they have the needed attributes for success. Then, make a plan to hold yourself accountable by formalizing and organizing your goals.
Formalize your goals
One of the most important steps when working towards a goal is to formalize it by checking it against the SMARTER framework, making any necessary adjustments, and then writing it down. By putting your goals on paper, you can more easily refer back to them to hold yourself accountable and gauge your progress.
To make your goals feel even more official, instead of just writing them by hand in a notebook or journal, try creating a 2021 goal tracker. Post a neatly-printed page with all of your goals in a place you’re sure to see it every day. If you want even greater accountability, try sharing your goals on social media using an Adobe Spark page. By telling your friends and followers what you’re working towards, they can help you see it through.
Organize your goals
In addition to formalizing your goals to hold yourself accountable, you should organize them. You can organize different goals by priority to decide which ones to tackle first, as well as break each goal down into smaller sub-goals. This approach will help you see your progress more clearly and provide a roadmap for overall success.
Adobe Acrobat offers all the tools you need to organize your goals, sub-goals, and progress. Create a PDF of your goals if you have an Acrobat subscription, or try the Acrobat Convert to PDF tool to create a PDF from an existing document. You can also take advantage of a free, seven-day trial of Adobe Acrobat DC to convert an unlimited number of files to PDF.
As you make progress, cross off or add to your goals. If your goals involve friends, family members, or coworkers in your business, you could also consider creating a New Year’s resolution “contract.” When you have it ready, try the Acrobat Request Signatures tool to send it to them for signing. This way, everyone can be held accountable to reach the agreed-upon goal over the course of the year.
The best year yet
Whatever 2021 brings, start the new year armed with SMART goals that will help you reach new heights both personally and professionally. And be sure to also take advantage of Acrobat tools to make your document work quick and painless.
Topics: Insights & Inspiration, Future of Work, Productivity, Document Cloud, New Year New You
Products: Document Cloud, Acrobat,