Making goals for 2021 “checklist”

Well, here we are on the first day of 2021. I always find the start of a new year to be exciting. While I’m not one for resolutions, I think January is a good time to reflect on what you want to accomplish during the year. It’s a great time to write down a plan.

The key, like anything, is to make small and realistic goals that are easily achievable. You can always grow from them as you see progress. What I love about this blog, is that it holds me accountable for those goals. Whether they are fitness goals, career aspirations or just general goals to improve my overall health and lifestyle.

Like many others around the world, 2020 was an awful year for a lot of reasons. But I try not to dwell on the past too much – instead, I’m turning over a new leaf and am thinking of ways I can improve myself. This is a continuous project.

For starters, I went to bed super early last night. One glass of wine and that was enough to cure my insomnia. I was fast asleep by midnight. Stayed up long enough to wish the family a happy new year and that was it. I was up before 8 am this morning. I just sat down with a hot cup of coffee (albeit too strong), a bagel and two eggs for protein. That’s one of my goals. To get more protein and exercise daily.

But today, I don’t want to talk about fitness. Today, I want to talk about personal goals that will help improve my life. And these are goals that anyone can do. Whether you’re a small business owner, an artist, or just someone who wants to learn new skills for your resume.

Learn a new language

As a writer, language is really important to me and I don’t mean just in a grammar sort of way. My dad’s family is Danish and I understand very little of the language. I can read some. I also took French for nine years but it is very rusty. I try and practice a little every day with Facebook posts from friends and family who speak Danish.

My French isn’t bad – I can read quite a bit but do not remember enough to hold a conversation. So, my goal for this year is to work on French at least once a week. And to learn a little more Danish.

Language skills are useful for so many things. Whether it’s connecting with fans or clients from around the globe – or it’s something you can add onto your resume and use to apply for jobs that require a second language. And there are quite a few of those in the marketing world.

Learn new marketing skills

I touched on this in the summer time and learned a little about SEO strategy through tutorials online. The problem is the subject is so vast and it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve signed up for a few free online courses that I can audit (Coursera) and start fresh.

Learning marketing skills is crucial for any small business owner or artist. If you’re a freelancer looking for new clients, having a good understanding of SEO and social media marketing is crucial.

Learn graphic design

This is something I’ve struggled with. I’ve signed up for Adobe courses so many times only to quit in frustration after a week or so. I have a very short attention span which doesn’t help. I think what I did was set my aspirations too high trying to learn everything at once. I’m not a fan of Adobe pricing, but since I’m registered as an open studies student through my local college – I can receive the discount.

That’s my recommendation. If you want to learn new skills but don’t have time for a full time course, sign up for open studies. You’ll gain access to a lot of different courses that you can audit or pay for a certificate if needed. This is how I took a few writing courses in 2018-2019 and I plan on taking more courses when I can afford to do so.

I’m already pretty good with and use Corel Painter for most of my art designs. But I want to get better at it and learn typography and infographics. I also want to learn at least one adobe product even if it’s really expensive to use!

Don’t you miss the days where we could buy a program without monthly fees?

Brush up on my theory

Friends keep pushing me to teach music but this is such a competitive market and hard to do with COVID. I haven’t taken music lessons in years. I’d be more comfortable calling myself a music coach and offer advice on stage performance skills. If I have time, I hope to brush up on my music theory skills. When I move in the spring, I want to set up a home studio so I can record tutorials for youtube.

It’s something I’ve put off for a long time.

Etsy Shop

My main focus this year is getting healthy and finding stable work that I can do from home. But as a side gig, I’ve opened a brand new Etsy Shop. This is just a hobby for now but I hope one day that I can make it a decent side gig to bring in extra cash each month.

My goal is to learn to make more digital products like planners, checklists and journals – I’ll be using this blog to market these products as well. I can’t afford to buy two premium packages with WordPress at the moment. So, I will have to find a way to use this blog to combine all my interests.

Goal Setting

My goal list is pretty ambitious. But I like the term goals – instead of resolutions. Why? Because resolutions are easily forgotten and people tend to lose interest fast. What I’ve learned with goal setting is to start off small and give myself deadlines. Here’s an example – and maybe I’ll even create a checklist via Etsy for you.

  • Learn a new language – 1 hour every Saturday morning. Practice daily for 10 minutes.
  • Learn SEO marketing – research trends weekly
  • Learn Adobe InDesign – complete this by February 2021
  • Grow this blog – to 1000 readers by end of January 2021

I think that’s a pretty realistic start for me! But don’t get discouraged if life takes a different turn and stalls your progress. The important thing is to keep learning and keep going. And if necessary, tweak your goals and deadlines to make them more achievable. This isn’t cheating. It’s called adapting.

If you find that you’ve accomplished your goals sooner than you expected, you can always make new ones. Or you can push yourself to improve those new skills. Instead of taking a course, put what you learned to good use with your small business or personal blog.

Goal setting can seem overwhelming at first. That’s a word I’ve used a lot recently. Even if you pick just one goal out of this list – or create your own – like learn how to make art, play music, or even learn a new recipe. The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity.


Looking for a checklist to help keep you on track? You can download this pdf file or edit using – for free. I’ll be offering more products like this through Etsy!

For personal use only. All designs copyright

Click on the link to edit for free! Copyright @ For personal use only.


What do you hope to achieve this year with your small business? Or do you want to learn a new skill? Do you have a plan in place?

Let me know in the comments!

(this is part of a new series I’ve introduced to help small business owners or artists grow their audiences)

Personal Development

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