What are your five goals for 2020?

New-style resolutions by Ann Elliott

I always sit down at this time of year, dig out the goals I set myself 12 months ago for the year ahead, and review how well I’ve done against them with a large glass of Gavi in hand. As my first resolution is usually not to drink in January, the Gavi doesn’t symbolise a particularly optimistic approach to goal achievement or set a good example for the next 11 months.

I’ve been doing this for the past 20 years and have yet to achieve 50% of my goals, never mind all of them. You’d think I would know by now what to do, how to do it and how to stick to resolutions but it appears that isn’t the case. In fact, the same goals seem to reappear year after year – like Groundhog Day. It can be depressing but my second glass of Gavi usually sorts out the negative nonsense.

Occasionally – twice in fact – to ensure I’ve set the right goals and have the processes in place to achieve them, I have adopted a “never fail” system – the “SELF Journal by BestSelf. Undated Daily, Weekly and Monthly Life Planner Organiser with Proven Productivity and Positivity System for Maximum Achievement and Goal Success”. I bought it from Amazon, which knows a thing or two about setting and achieving goals so you would think that’s a good place to start.

Not for me, it seems. So boring. Such tiny handwriting required. Such repetition. So time-consuming. So obsessive. I wanted to rebel at the strictures, to scrawl across its pristine neat lines and tell lies about what I had achieved minute by minute, hour by hour and week by week. I raged at its constraints and mentally screamed: “This is not why I gave up corporate life!” I failed two years running in the first two weeks of the year with this fail-safe system and felt that sense of failure keenly for the next 50 weeks.

This year I ditched that nihilistic and ultimately unsuccessful approach and, with cup of tea in hand, sought a friendlier and calmer process for goal-setting, which I pinched off my son (thank you James). I can’t say whether this will succeed or not, but it feels more me and therefore has half a chance. This is it.

What were your five key achievements in 2019?
This was a positive way to start the exercise and the year. Interestingly, few of my key achievements seemed to relate closely to the goals I set myself at the start of 2019. This meant it was time for a bit of self-reflection on why on earth I wasn’t more realistic in the first place and how I could be more sensible for the year ahead. Did I really want to write a second book? It turns out no, I didn’t really.

Who were your five biggest supporters in 2019?
My dog isn’t my biggest supporter and, while my dad loves me, he doesn’t really know what I do. I resisted the urge to write down everyone I didn’t think supported me, which would have driven me back to the Gavi. Paul Charity is very high on the supporters list (thank you Paul for all you have done for me in the year).

What are five of your best memories from 2019?
It turned out there were loads – all involving friends and family and/or eating and drinking. Funny that.

Name five people you want to connect or reconnect with in 2020
This was a long list. If you receive an email some time soon, you were on this list.

What are your five goals for 2020?
These included a happy team who feel fulfilled and have the opportunity to develop their potential; to only work with clients we like that we can help become more successful (and prove it); to give back to the sector and continue to build on the success of Plan B with Emma, Holly and Kate; to have a successful Airbnb venture (first guests arrive next Friday); and to create memories through the year so the first question is easier to answer in 12 months’ time.

This was a much better and more fulfilling process than previous years. Time will tell but I feel more focused, optimistic and realistic about the year ahead – for myself and the sector.