Your Goals and Unexpected Life Interruptions

career change Dec 16, 2020

This past year has been filled with uncertainty and challenges. Our daily routines changed drastically. We went from a commute and going to work, to working from home and learning how to Zoom. For some, the job itself disappeared or we were furloughed permanently.

If you created goals or resolutions for 2020, they may have been pushed aside as daily life changed and our priorities shifted. COVID created a swift pivot in how we conducted business, taught our kids, and kept in touch with friends and family. We became experts at being adaptable. And now, as the year comes to a close, we start to look at 2021 and think about what the new year will bring and how we want to shape it by creating goals with purpose and flexibility

Sometimes we may need to arrange our life around our goals, but we need to be prepared for when we can’t. Creating a goals strategy with options allows us to still achieve our goals, even when unexpected interruptions take priority.  

Success isn’t an accident. It requires vision and intention.

Use these strategies to make it happen:

1. Brainstorm your goals.

Look at the 2020 goals you set for yourself. Which ones did you achieve and can cross off your list? Which ones are still relevant for 2021? Add, delete, update. Right now, just jot down using bullet points the goals you’d like to achieve in 2021. Spend 5 minutes and write down everything you can think of from wanting a promotion at work, to finish the book you’re writing, or losing weight.

 2. Prioritize your goals.

You should have a nice list of all the things you’d like to accomplish in 2021. Are there some that fall under the same type? Goals such as workout more, eat healthily, lose weight, and really fall under “Get Healthy.” If you need, cluster the goals that go together. Now, circle or highlight the top 5-10 you want to achieve.

3. Create your goal action plan.

Under each goal, list the top five things you’ll need to do to achieve that goal.


Goal: Get a promotion within my department at work

Action #1: Create a SWOO analysis (Visit under Resources/Downloads for the Career Check: Your SWOO Analysis worksheet).

Action #2: Schedule time to talk with your boss about the promotion, present your SWOO and discuss steps necessary to gain that promotion.

Action #3: Talk with someone in that position already to gain a better understanding of the role and responsibilities.

Action #4: Is there a skill set that you lack or only have a basic understanding of that you need to learn?

Action #5: Practice interviewing. On you can find resources and podcasts that cover how to succeed at interviewing.

4. Create your goal planning timeline

Now that you’ve broken down your goal into actionable items, pull out your calendar, and set deadlines. Tools such as Trello or can be helpful in putting together your goals, action steps, and deadlines in one place that you can refer to daily.

5. Create your Plan B, C, and D.

Congrats! You’ve created your Plan A for your goal. Now, what if one of life’s interruptions happens? Layer your goals so you have a Plan B, C, and D. In the above instance, what happens if your boss leaves the company or the company goes through a restructuring, then what? Be prepared to adapt your goal, to mold it like playdough into something different but the same. Have a backup plan. Your goal is to stay on track, even when life doesn’t do what we want it to.

6. Distractions, distractions!

Think about how you’re spending your time each day. Binge-watching is habit-forming (we know!). Kids demand our attention. Many of us have mastered baking. Are there times within your day that you can use more effectively? Take a couple of days and track how you spend your time. Sometimes we become surprised by what we’ve accomplished in a mere 24 hours and sometimes we’re surprised how much time we spent reading random stories on the internet.

Remember, goals require the coordination of every aspect of your life. If you want to run a 10K, how can you work that around your current schedule? If you want to move into a new job, what does that look like and what steps do you need to take?

It’s been a tough year, think about all that you did accomplish under extraordinary circumstances. We all had wins!