get back on course in 2021

Ready to Get Back on Course in 2021?

Updated By Allie Cuno on March 17, 2021

What a year! ... 2020 affected us all in various ways, yet there’s one thing most of us have in common––it threw us off course. Whether it was a big hit (losing your job) or a smaller hit (cabin fever and isolation), we’re all looking forward to returning to normal (and burning our masks, am I right?).

Now that 2021 is here, it’s time to “refresh and restart.” What a spectacular new year for new beginnings! Although January 1, 2021, holds no magical powers and all problems from COVID-19 didn’t disappear when the clock struck 12, it’s still the perfect time to embrace a fresh new start, set some goals, get back on course, and not let distractions keep you from building a better future starting now!

While our current circumstances may vary, the following are some insights everyone can use in setting goals for the new year. Bijan Kholghi, life coach at recommends that you set goals in the following six areas of your life:

1. Career and Business. Many of us were severely rattled in one or both of these areas during 2020. What career goals can help you get back on track in 2021? Do you need to refresh your resume? Go back to school? Look at alternative career choices? How can you adapt your business to the changing environment? Can you shift your business online? Can you use social media? Stay resilient by innovating and then set goals which support that innovation.

2. Family and Relationships. Research shows that people who have strong social bonds with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. Do you need to spend more time with your kids or spouse ... perhaps develop a stronger relationship with your parents? Many felt isolated in 2020. What can you do right now to strengthen ties to family and friends? Social distancing doesn’t need to stop you from calling a good friend or video chatting with a sibling. Strengthen your social ties to create a happier you!

3. Financial. Whether 2020 beat you up financially or not, it’s important to set financial goals to build a more secure future. How much money would you like to save and what are some creative ways to reach that goal? There are a multitude of articles online that address this topic. You can start with this article, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money. If you want to pay off debt or simply want to get ahead more quickly, check out this article on “50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle from

4. Health and Fitness. Bad eating habits and lack of exercise can make you feel sluggish and lethargic, which in turn, could sabotage your plans for achieving your other goals. Good nutrition positively affects both our physical and mental health. Therefore, make health and exercise a priority but be sure to set goals that are “doable.” You can always update them later to ensure they continue to challenge you.

5. Spiritual. Whether you’re looking to become more grateful or want to achieve a state of inner peace, setting goals that enrich the inner you will have a big payoff. Goals can include volunteering for a worthy cause, meditating, praying, or doing one good deed a day. Research shows that even the goal of smiling and laughing more can have a positive effect on your inner well-being.

6. Educational. Happiness, a longer life, and professional development are just a few of the benefits linked to lifelong learning. At Independence University, we are committed to preparing our students for a career they can feel excited about. But our commitment doesn’t stop there. We believe in lifelong learning as well. That’s why our graduates are welcome to take refresher courses at no cost, so career-wise, they can continue to stay on top of their game.

How to Stick to Your Goals

To see how quickly goals are abandoned, go to your local gym and take a head count in January and again in March––notice the huge drop-off? Goals are challenging, so how do we keep up the motivation to achieve them?

Dave Ramsey, personal money-management expert, provides the following tips on goal making to make them more attainable: Be specific in your goals, make your goals more measurable, give your goals a time limit, and put it in writing.

Remember, “life happens while you’re making other plans.” Be flexible and be willing to start over on your goals if you get sidetracked. Rid yourself of the all or nothing mindset. As long as you are making progress, even if it’s just baby steps, you are headed in the right direction. That’s what counts.

Let’s make it a happy new year!

Allie Cuno is a human-interest writer for Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CEHE).