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, Career Changers, and Teachers Transitioning to Instructional Design 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, I’ve got a brand new 12-week intensive certificate course coming soon. 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
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!
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 Certificate Program.