Develop Habits for Success and Realize Your Potential in 2021

The New Year brings new opportunities to discover our best and realize our potential; however, those opportunities are only available to those who seek them out with passion and purpose! You see, positive change and personal fulfillment require strategic planning, honest self-reflection, and an unwavering commitment to do your best regardless of the situation and/or circumstances. Here is a strategic mapping activity to help you organize your thoughts, set a course of action, and make 2021 your best year yet!

“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Before setting your course for 2021, it is important to review and reflect upon your “performances” in 2020! We will focus on four key wellness categories for this activity: (1) Academic, (2) Social, (3) Emotional, and (4) Physical. Here are the step-by-step instructions to complete your personal 2020 review:

Print the Empower Leadership Reflection Form or download the PDF

  1. Take about 20 minutes to reflect upon and record “accomplishments you are proud of” for each category – be detailed! (Page 1)
  2. Take about 20 minutes to reflect upon and record “areas for improvement” for each category – be detailed and feel free to identify specific situations or scenarios that highlight your desire for improvement. (Page 1)
  3. Take about 20 minutes to reflect upon and record the “controllable” actions you implemented for each category (Page 2)
  4. Take about 20 minutes to reflect upon and record the impact of the “uncontrollable” for each category (Page 2)

In completing this exercise, you have taken the critical step in knowing about your past (2020) and being better prepared for the future (2021 and beyond) through reflection! You have also created a list of “the controllables” (your actions or habits that had an impact on your accomplishments and shortcomings for each category) and “the uncontrollables” (external factors that impacted performance).

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie

We have taken the time to know more about the past, now it is time to be better prepared for the future! One way to prepare for the future is to set goals for yourself – goals that are important to you, realistic, challenging, and measurable. In setting goals for ourselves, we identify our desired “destination” for a particular time frame (i.e. I want to accomplish XYZ by the end of the school year). We know where we want to go, now it is time to identify our path to achievement! Here are the step-by-step instructions to complete your personal 2021 

Print the Empower Leadership Goal Setting Form or download the PDF

  1. Take about 20 minutes to identify and record 2 to 4 goals for each category (Academic, Social, Emotional, and Physical). Remember, the goals must be realistic, challenging, measurable, and important to you! (Page 1)
  2. Take about 20 minutes to identify and record 3 to 5 daily actions you will execute to progress towards achievement of your goals for each category. The daily actions should be easy to measure (yes, I did it or no, I did not). These “daily actions” must be 100% within your grasp of control – a conscious decision you will make each day! (Page 2)

In completing this exercise, you have set your course for 2021 and have identified the daily actions you must take to give yourself the best chance of achieving each of your goals. While 100% achievement is not guaranteed, commitment towards executing your daily actions ensures you will progress towards your desired goals each day.

Success Habits and Accountability

Completing the 2020 Reflection and 2021 Goal Setting Activities are important first steps towards achieving all that you would like to achieve this year. However, completion of these activities is just that – a first step! Truly embracing the “New Year, New Opportunities” mindset requires action and accountability. 

We asked you to outline 3 to 5 actions you can execute each day for your Academic, Social, Emotional, and Physical Wellness goals. Those actions are only as good as your commitment to performing them each day. It takes at least 21 days to form a habit and at least 90 days for that habit to become “automatic” – an action that requires little to no thought, planning, or preparation (Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life by Maxwell Maltz, 1960). To establish a sense of self-accountability, commit to performing each of your daily actions for 3 weeks (21 days). Upon completion of your 21-day trial, your daily actions should begin to feel more like habits (similar to waking up and brushing your teeth!). After 3 months (90 days), your daily actions should become automatic habits!

The 21/90 method of habit building is a great tool to hold yourself accountable towards the achievement of your 2021 goals; however, there are times when we all need a “kick in the butt” to stay on the “accountability track”. I encourage you to share your Reflection and Goal Setting worksheets with an accountability buddy – someone who will be there to push you when you need an extra push. Just remember, these are your goals, not the goals of your accountability buddy!

New Year, New Opportunities for Success

The New Year is a fresh start: a time to reflect upon the past year and set a course for growth, development, and accomplishments in the upcoming year! The Empower Leadership Reflection and Goal Setting activities are designed to help you organize your thoughts, identify your vision for 2021, and set a course for goal achievement. One decision, one day, one week, and one month at a time – do the best that you can and your best will be achieved!

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