Saying this year didn’t go exactly as planned may be the understatement of 2020.

Businesses that made bull-market goals and optimistic development plans had to reevaluate their vision for the year, even to the point of having a plan just to maintain some sense of normalcy within their organization.

So as the year comes to a close, leaders are faced with a similar choice to make when creating goals for next year: Should our goals be lofty and aggressive or stay on the safe side in case 2021 is similar to 2020? And if a company fell short of its goals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, should the same goals stay intact or be revised under more realistic conditions?

The best way to answer these questions is to change the way you make goals altogether by evaluating past achievements and building on that foundation.

Change to a weekly view: Some businesses evaluate their progress through the year by comparing a week or quarter to the same period of time over the past year. While year-over-year analysis has been the norm for creating a standard of how your business is faring, using this approach in 2020 is like comparing apples and oranges; it’s just not as relevant.


Instead, consider taking a week-over-week, month-to-month or quarterly update approach to see the progress your company has made over the course of the year. Once you have strong data points, make your 2021 goals based on the growth percentages experienced this year.

Acknowledge and make goals based on little wins: Maybe you didn’t hit the audacious goal you strived for this year, even if you were on pace to do so. But while other businesses had to furlough workers or thin out their staffs, your company was able to maintain and retain its workforce. Or maybe you were able to retain your client base while your competitors had to shut down divisions or cut loose customers.

Acknowledge the areas your organization that fared well during the pandemic and make 2021 goals compared to those basepoints. Build upon the little wins and look toward bringing back a sense of normalcy within your company.

Focus on the future: What you can control, what you can’t control, what is in your prevue to affect, what is out of your hands, etc. Embrace the setbacks of this year and walk into 2021 with resolve on plans based on past achievements. Who knows? Maybe next year will be you breakout year.

As always, the best is yet to come. You just have to be ready to embrace it.