I’m in a bit of a weird place in 2021 – with the future still so uncertain, it something of a challenge to come up with a set of goals. This new year, more than any that have come before it, feels ripe with hope and possibility but we’re not out of the dark yet. There is still so much uncertainty, which makes the process so much more daunting.
I always have mixed feelings about the annual ritual of goal-setting. Looking back on them always seems to fill me with frustration and regret. I’m reminded of the optimism and drive that accompanies the start of every year and annoyed at how poorly I used my last 365 days. With that in mind, I wanted to approach my goals a little differently this year.
To start with, there are my main goals – the three things I want to accomplish in 2021:
Top Goals for 2021
- Publish my first fantasy novel and sell 100 copies
- Earn at least $100 through a secondary income stream
- Post high quality content here at least once/week
These are my SMART goals, you know, the type that are specific and measurable and all that. Compared to everything else on this list, they are three very specific things I want to achieve in 2021. Barring anything else on this list, if I can accomplish these three things by the end of the year, I will consider it a success. Obviously, there is room to grow within all of these, so what I’ve included is the bare minimum. I wanted to push myself, but I want to keep them within the realm of possibility.
That being said, a year is a long time and I have other things I want to keep in mind and work towards throughout the year. I’ve broken it up into areas of focus, and how I want to improve or develop those areas. This year, more than any other, I want to be gentle and mindful with myself and how I work towards my goals. You will notice that a lot of the things listed below aren’t particularly difficult. And they aren’t meant to be.
- Establish a writing routine that works for me and stick to it
- Draft at least three novels
- Build a portfolio for freelancing
I want to write more, first and foremost. And I’ve mentioned before that I am in desperate need of a routine to support my writing life. If I want to establish a long-term career as an author, I need to write faster and more regularly. I want to publish my first book this year, bar none, but I want to continue to publish even after that. I’d love to get into freelancing but my knowledge is beginner at best, so I consider building a portfolio to be the first step.
- Make time for reading at least 5 times a week
- Make a conscious effort to read more diversely
- Read more books from indie authors
I’m a notorious mood reader. When I’m in the right mood, I can binge a whole series in a matter of days, and I don’t think there is anything particularly bad about that. But I’ve been unsatisfied with a lot of the books I’ve been picking up lately, so I keep starting and stopping, and I frequently find myself falling into slumps when a book isn’t quite hitting the right chords for me. And they aren’t bad books by any means – I just have to be in the right mood to reach for them. I’m hoping a more disciplined approach will help me read more and clear off my enormous TBR.
It’s also important to be reaching for and talking about books by queer and POC authors. As someone who has chosen to have a platform, I think it’s my responsibility to help lift those voices and introduce other fantasy readers to books they might not otherwise pick up. The same applies to books by indie authors. Many indie authors earn a comfortable living with their writing, but there continues to be a stigma around self-published books. As someone who hopes to join their ranks and who has read excellent indie books in the past, that’s just one more notion I hope to dissipate.
- Play more backlogged and new-to-me games
- Make time to play games at least 5 times a week
- Stream on Twitch at least once a week
Some games are my comfort places. I turn to them when I’m sad or stressed or tired, and so that tends to be what I turn to when my energy is low and I want to do something fun. I’ve sunk countless hours into The Sims, Minecraft and Stardew Valley, to name a few of the more recent culprits. But I also love the medium of video games – I love the challenge and I love the way developers have used the format to tell amazing stories. I want to play more games that interest me instead of always turning to old favourites. I want to make sure I am making time for that as well. Even if it’s just a way for me to keep myself from working all day long.
- Promote my blog at least once a week on social media
- Try guest blogging at least once
- Interact more with fellow bloggers in my niches
On January 2nd, this blog turned two years old and it really is my baby. It’s a place for me to share what I’m working on and what I’ve learned, to talk about things that have been bothering me, or what I’m struggling with, and a place to gush about all the things I love. Watching it grow, however slowly, has been an absolute joy. I want it to continue to grow, but I also want to expand and reach more readers. I want to meet other bloggers and build a community of geeky and creative people.
- Increase my savings
- Do yoga at least 3 times a week
- Try meal prep for a month
If recent health troubles weren’t enough to motivate me, I really want to work on my physical health in 2021. Not only because I think it’ll help my mental health as well, but I think it’s important to start creating habits that will help me throughout the rest of my life.
The same applies to my financial situation. 2020 for me was a surprisingly good year financially, probably because I had no reason to spend. I wasn’t shopping except for groceries and essentials, I wasn’t going out for dinner with friends and I cancelled the London trip I’d planned with my sister. So I decided to take my finances more seriously. I want to continue that in 2021. Investing is also something I’ve thought about, but I’m not ready for that just yet.
A Kinder Mindset
Despite the length of this list, I don’t expect a lot this year. I have some goals that are high priority for me, but I don’t want to be overwhelmed and I don’t want to obsess over how I’m spending my time. I want to work smart, and I want to take the time to enjoy things, and live in the present. I don’t want to be wasteful with my time – if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that you can’t take a single second for granted because it can all change so quickly. And yet, I want this year to be softer, gentler, more low key. It’s not all about the hustle.
If I’m speaking so lackadaisically about these goals, are they really goals at all? I mean, yes, of course they are. I’ll still be working towards them every day, but I won’t let them dominate my life and my year the way they might have in the past. Maybe I’ll do quarterly check-ins, to see where I’m at, what I’ve kept up with, what I’ve dropped and what I’ve decided to change. I don’t like the idea of goals being immutable things that you set January 1st and are beholden to for the rest of the year. 2020 certainly didn’t give a crap about what any of us had planned. Being able to adapt is as important as having the tenacity to stick to them.
At least, that’s the energy I plan to bring to 2021.
These are my goals for 2021! They definitely seem a lot safer than some that I’ve had in the past, but I think that’s a good thing! What are you looking forward to in 2021? What goals have you set for yourself in the new year, if any? Let me know in the comments!