Updated January 2021.

Are you ready to be an instructional design goal-getter in 2021? Here at The Instructional Design Company, we’re all about the goal-getter life.


Hopefully, you have already given some thought to what you will accomplish in 2021 both personally and professionally as I recommend in my last article. If you haven’t, don’t fret. It’s not too late! The information that follows will definitely give you something to chew on over the next few days so you can be an instructional design goal-getter in 2021!


Before I share my 7 tips for instructional design goal-getters in 2021, drop down to the comments and tell me ONE THING you WILL ACHIEVE IN 2021. Not what you plan to or hope to achieve but what you WILL achieve.  There is a mindset difference between WILL do, plan to, and hope to. So, what WILL you do in 2021 that will make you better this year than you were last year?


Now, let’s get into the 7 tips to be a goal-getter in 2021!


7 tips for instructional design goal-getters in 2021

Tip #1: Set BHAGs


A BHAG is an idea from Jim Collin’s book, Built to Last. To put it simply, a BHAG is a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. It’s a goal that is just a little bit too far out of reach to obtain. It requires some serious work and stretching to achieve. Because they are so difficult to obtain, BHAGs are usually more long-term goals than your annual goals are. They might take a couple of years or 10 to achieve.


There is a quote that I just love by Norman Vincent Peale that speaks to the value of setting Big, Hairy, Audacious goals, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” So go for your BHAG and if you miss it, you can still accomplish great things!


Set at least one BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS GOAL for yourself or your business and use it as motivation to be a goal-getter in 2021.


Tip #2: Set Annual Goals


After you have set your audacious, just out of your reach long-term BHAGs, you need to determine what you will achieve in 2021. These are your annual goals. What do you need to achieve this year to be an instructional design goal-getter in 2021? What will help you move yourself, your career, or your business forward?


Your annual goals function like a lighthouse helping you navigate through the year and keep you focused on what’s important. In fact, if you can’t link specific activities back to your goals, you need to ask yourself why you are doing those things. Are they really important to your growth, the department, or the business? Your goals are what you should consistently be working towards.


Use your 2020 reflection to help you define these goals. Once you have defined 5 to 6 annual goals, Gino Wickman, author of Traction, suggests that you further break down your goals into Quarterly Rocks. Quarterly Rocks keep you focused on moving towards achieving your goals by keeping you laser-focused on what is important for the next 90 days and repeating this for every quarter of the year. 


Simply, take your annual goals and list out the activities that you need to complete in the next quarter that will help you achieve goals or get you closer to achieving them. So often we write out our goals and don’t look at them again until the end of the year. Big mistake! Your goals should be front and center and reviewed weekly.


Tip #3: Engage with Like-minded People


You know that saying by Confucius, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room” is true, right? You want to engage and surround yourself with people who are like-minded and think like you do. People in your inner circle should be looking to grow and achieve results. If you want to be an instructional design goal-getter in 2021, you have to surround yourself with goal-getters! The Hangout for Aspiring Instructional Designers is a GREAT place to find other instructional goal-getters with like-minded goals!


If Jim Rohn is right and “we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with” then I want to be hanging out with some really smart, ambitious people AND I want someone else to include me in THEIR average. Don’t you?


Even if you don’t believe this to be true, I think you will agree that negative people can bring you down and hold you back. If you take a look around and you are surrounded by people who tell you that you can’t do something, shouldn’t do something because it isn’t what they would do, or who can’t imagine bigger things, find some new people to bring into your group.


Many people don’t make it to the top because they don’t have the imagination or commitment to get there. And, those who don’t have these qualities will often try to convince you that you are wrong for thinking differently. My advice is to find some people who do have these qualities and add them to your brain trust.


Tip #4: A.B.L.


If you are in instructional design or do any type of training, you probably already have this one covered just by the nature of your job. A.B.L means to always be learning. Learning is required for growth. You can’t continue to grow without applying some effort.


If you want to be an Instructional design goal-getter in 2021, check out The Instructional Design and Tech Accelerator System and Certificate Program. It’s an A-Z blueprint of all things instructional design and is perfect for beginners.


I also recommend starting a 2021 reading list. Personally, I’m considering attending the ATD conference virtually in August. I am also looking at some online courses to up my skills in 2021. Of course, these are all investments and cost money but investing in myself is worth every penny. After all, if I don’t invest in myself, who will?

Tip #5: Dare Greatly


I recently read retired US Navy Admiral William H. McRaven’s book Make Your Bed and one of the principles that really resonated with me was #6 You Must Dare Greatly.


Basically, it means that you have to lean into things that scare you, intimidate you, possibly embarrass you, and the things that push you to your limits because shying away from these things will prevent you from ever truly knowing what’s possible in your life.


In 2020, I’m sure we all started out the year with great intentions of daring greatly. We never knew what the year had in store for us! Give yourself some grace on things you didn’t accomplish last year. Make it a point to dare greatly in your professional life in 2021 and lean into the things that have been holding you back.


What does daring greatly look like? It might look like volunteering to lead a project, public speaking, leading a committee, taking on a challenging project, giving a presentation to the leadership team/CEO, or anything else that seems a bit scary. Do a quick inventory of the things you don’t like to do at work that you know would have a positive benefit in your professional life and make it a point to do them this year. This year is your year for greatness.


Tip #6: Take Care of You


This one may have already hit your New Year’s Resolution list, but it is worth noting here because it impacts your professional life too. You MUST take care of yourself. Make sure you are getting 8 hours of sleep every night, drinking enough water, eating healthy, and exercising both your body and your mind.


We tend to put ourselves last when it comes to caring for work and others. I would argue that you need to put yourself first in order to give your best at work and to others. Just like the flight attendants say, put your oxygen mask on before helping others!


A few years ago, I had really slipped in many of these areas but made a commitment to turning it all around. I have since lost 27lbs following an online program despite COVID, I’ve been going to bed early, doing my best to start each day at 5 am and end at 5 pm, eating healthy, being more present with my family, and reading. I have a long way to go but you know what Lao Tzu says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”


Tip #7: Own It!


If you truly want to be an instructional design goal-getter in 2021, you have to own it. Don’t let 2021 happen to you. Instead, make things happen for you this year. I have always said that you can live your life or let your life live you. No matter what, life will happen. The decision to make for yourself is whether or not you will be in the driver’s seat making your life happen or if you will be in the back seat with zero control over the direction your life is going.


Look for me in the driver’s seat! When I look into the car next to me, I hope to see you in the driver’s seat too. VOOM! VOOM!

Got questions?


My Facebook group The Hangout is a great place to add your questions and engage with other instructional designers and learning developers on different topics related to instructional design, so jump on in and join the conversation.

Want to dive deeper? Learn more about the immersive Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator System and Certificate Program



The Testimonials are In:


Shola Richards

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.

Shola Richards


Graphic Designer

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.

Gayle Bower


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.

Laurie Henderson


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!

Wendy McMillian


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!

Gabby Grimaldo


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!

Shanna Howe


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).

Aviva Berkowitz


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.

Darlene Dalgleish


Instructional Designer

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!

Shawnice Edge


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!

Brian Hightower


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!

Sarah Smith


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.

Lee R


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!

Sheryl Rhoades
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.

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.

Amanda Buckley
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.

Susan Gatti
President, IMMIXID


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.”

Rick Miller
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach


eLearning Development

“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.”

Ashley Christian
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.”

Jonathan Burt
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!”

Mellora Moore
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.

Patrick Hodges
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!

Mike Stubblefield
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics


“Spot on”

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.

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!


Katie Carter
Training Specialist, LegalShield

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