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I know we are all looking forward to 2021. The start of a new year is always a great time for goal setting. But, especially this year, I’m ready to leave 2020 in the dust! That’s why I’ve got 5 tips to rock 2021, so you can take advantage of that surge of inspiration you’re feeling and turn it into a goal-setting plan that’s guaranteed to meet your aspirations.
Hopefully, you already wrapped up 2020 with a great reflection on the important work you did and a celebration of your successes. 2021 is going to be a big year, I can just tell.
So before we get into the details, drop down to the comments and tell me one thing you’ll achieve this year. What are you committed to?
Now it’s time to get to the good stuff.
Here are my most helpful tips to rock 2021.
1. Set your intentions
Going into a new year, everyone is always tempted to set big, sweeping goals for themselves, both personally and professionally. Unless you’re truly committed, come February a lot of those goals are long forgotten!
So you’ll notice we’re talking about goal setting, not resolutions. While resolutions are all about striving for what you don’t yet have, intentions are more like the direction you want to keep moving towards.
Instead of creating a list of tasks that you want to accomplish (don’t worry, those will come later!) goal setting is focused on allowing you to use your existing skills to focus on what’s most important to you so you can continue to grow.
Your intentions will power your goals, so what is your aim this year? Here are some examples:
- You’re a beginning instructional designer and you’re so ready to learn! Maybe you’ve already checked out some introductory courses to jump-start your new career. Maybe you’re stuck in the resume-writing stage. Either way, your intention is to be forward-thinking.
- As a freelance instructional designer, you’re all about the hustle! With multiple clients and various projects always on the back burner, it seems like every time you cross one item off your to-do list, you have to add 3 more! Your intention is to be prolific.
Your intention may evolve as your year progresses. It can also serve as a mantra you can use to propel yourself towards achieving your goals. What I love about intentions and goal setting is that they’re not specific to your professional life. A real intention is something you can live and use to feel fulfilled personally too (we’re not just worker robots, after all!)
Personally, I decided to order two bracelets from the MyIntent Project to help me stay focused on my two big intentions for the year: Healthy Living and Balance. Below, you will see my two daily reminders. One says Nourish 360 which is about nourishing my mind and body as well as pour into those around me. The second one says 5 Rise 5 Stop to help me put boundaries around my work and personal life and to make the most out of my days.
2. Broaden your horizons
As instructional designers, we literally live off learning! It’s easy to get so focused on developing the best learning experiences for your clients that you forget to enrich yourself. So what are you going to learn in 2021?
Reading is a great way to expose yourself to new ideas and inspire your creativity. Something I read every year as a refresher is Training from the Back of the Room by Sharon L. Bowman. Despite being marketed towards teachers and trainers, I always find some amazing takeaways that I can incorporate into my instructional design work.
I have a friend who plans out her reading list in December for the entire next year and orders her entire reading list before January 1st. She is all in on her self-development, wouldn’t you agree?
Now, if you’re looking at your to-do list thinking, “who has time to read!?” allow me to introduce you to audiobooks and podcasts. Download a new read to your phone and listen on your daily commute. You can also grab some headphones and listen while you exercise or make dinner.
I alternate between listening to a podcast and an audiobook during my morning bike rides and walks. It’s a morning twofer with both personal and physical development.
If you have the time and the means, I highly recommend attending a professional conference. There are many great ones to choose from. Last year, I attended the virtual ATD conference and invested in a 12-week online course.
When you attend conferences (even virtually), you leave with so many new tools, ideas, and connections.
Another great way to add to your personal toolbox is by learning a new skill. Do you love getting into the nitty-gritty of image editing but always end up hiring a specialist to do your graphic design? Are there interactions in Articulate that leave you stumped? Join a course online or in-person, you can subscribe to a service like LinkedIn Learning or check your local community college for a cheap way to add a useful skill to your resume.
Whatever your learning goal is, set yourself up for success by putting a plan in place right now to help you achieve it.
3. Make time for you
There’s a reason why I want you to focus on yourself first before I ask you to get to work on your personal agenda for 2021. You can’t drive a car on an empty tank! Before you reflect on your past work year and put a plan into place for your quarterly goals, what’s your plan for taking care of yourself so you have the drive to meet those goals with flying colors?
Whether it’s waking up 10 minutes early to drink your coffee in peace while you scroll through your socials, exercising on your lunch break, or setting a recurring date to watch the game with friends, you need some kind of self-care regimen.
Put this time for yourself on your calendar or your to-do list and plan around it!
4. Finalize your quarterly goals
At the end of every year, I encourage you to reflect on what contributed to your success or caused setbacks. It’s time to dust off that list and use it to set new goals for each quarter in 2021. You’ve got the power of hindsight in your corner as you move forward knowing what worked and what didn’t. Use it to your advantage when goal setting for the next quarter or year!
Make sure your quarterly goals are obtainable and help move you towards your long-term goals. If you’re part of a team, work together on these goals to get everyone on board and moving in the same direction.
You can even flowchart your goals on a whiteboard or somewhere else where you’ll see them every day. Personally, my quarterly goals hang inches above my computer monitor so that I see them daily.
Start your flowchart by writing your intention in the center. From the center, branch off into your quarterly goals. From there, you can break it down into milestones that will build towards your goals.
5. Get your supports in place
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t do it all alone! To help you reach your goals and have a fruitful 2021, set up your supports now. These might be people or resources (or a combination of the two).
What tools do you need to work productively? Renew your subscriptions to software or other products that you can’t get your job done without (and cancel the ones that you don’t need). Clean house of old hardware that’s taking up space in your office. It is best to start the new year in a clutter-free space.
If you work on a team and you haven’t had a 2021 kickoff meeting yet, get everyone in a Zoom meeting for goal setting. Work on your agendas and make sure everyone’s on the same page. If you don’t have an office team, check in on your favorite consultants to make sure you can count on them for your upcoming projects. For my beginners, check-in with your professional network of instructional designers online.
Everyone can have a team, even if you’re a fearless freelancer doing it on your own. Join a professional community online via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit. Weekly chats can help you stay current on emerging trends and practices. Sharing with others in your field is a great way to feel connected.
Are you ready for an amazing year? I know I am! Now that you have some great plans in place, join The Hangout and jump into the conversation! What are you going to learn this year? I’m interested to know what books are on your to-read shelf or what podcasts you’ve got queued.
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The Testimonials are In:
Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.
I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!
Future Instructional Designer
I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
Future Instructional Designer
I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.
Krista Johnson Awomoyi
Freelance Instructional Designer
I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
Instructional Designer Training Facilitator
Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design
I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!
Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer
Shawntay has been incredible!
Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.
Beth B. De Lima, MBA, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP
President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.
IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!
The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.
LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker
A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!
Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University
Creative & Highly Talented!
Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer. She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program. It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.
Breaks Down Mammoth Projects
“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach
“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning
Top Notch Professional
Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.
Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research
Fortunate to Find Shawntay!
“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.
Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!
“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”
Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services
Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?
“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships
Quality Products & Solutions!
“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”
Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach
“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”
Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.
Managing Partner, PHiG
“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”
Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics
I have known and worked with Shawntay as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations. The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention. Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.
Al Lomas CMP, CEM, CMM, CFE
Owner, Certified Consulting Services
“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”
I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.
Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!
Training Specialist, LegalShieldCourses