TwitterPinterestInstagramMembers login

Simple Steps to Plan for 2021

Are you someone who takes the time to plan out your year ahead of time? Someone who sets goals and then creates a system to stay on track with them.

Studies show that people who write out their goals are 50% more likely to achieve them than people who do not. Writing them down turns out to be a motivator.

In actuality, only 3% of people do write their goals down on paper. 14% have them in their heads. And 83% have no goals at all. And less than 1% review them on a daily basis.

This week I hosted an annual goal setting and planning workshop over in the Members’ Studio. I’ve done this for more than 10 years and it’s always a valuable experience, both for me and the attendees.

Here is some of the process that we used. While you don’t have access to our 20-page workbook, you can set aside time to follow much of what I’ve shared below.

Start with your successes.

It’s so easy to just decide that 2020 was a “lost” year. Of course your sales were down because of COVID. Of course you didn’t fulfill your teaching obligations because shows were cancelled. Rather than dwell on where you didn’t succeed, look at your successes. 

I’m not talking just about your big successes. I’m talking about the little things, too. Maybe you sent out a newsletter every other week. That’s 26 things you did. Maybe you finally got your freebie up on your website. That led to an increase in your mailing list of people who know about you. Or maybe you finally redid your website. Maybe you finally cleaned up your studio and you found an ease in working again.

Did you fulfill a big business dream? Maybe this was the year you finally left your day job and launched your business. Maybe you broke into a new level of your business.

Get out your journal and start writing. If you tracked your work in your calendar or used a system like our Members’ Studio Weekly Success and Strategy Summit, you have a place to start. Keep writing until you can’t think of anything else.

Your challenges and your lessons

I’d bet that 2020 was a year with challenges like none other for you. It was for me.

What were those challenges and how did you rise to meet them? What weak spots did you identify in your business and where do you need to improve next year.

Were there areas of your business that didn’t work any longer or were too overwhelming? What can you do to change that going forward?

What was your big business lesson from the year?

Review your numbers

Most artists are not fans of figures. Yet, it is powerful for you to know where you stand financially. You cannot make any changes unless you know where you stand.

I like to look at four different numbers:

  • total revenue (the amount of money you took into your business)
  • total expenses (the amount you spent to run your business)
  • the amount you paid yourself (yes, you should pay yourself first)
  • the net profit (the revenue minus the expenses)

Remember these are just numbers. They do not have a value connected to your worth. They are just a measure of where your business is right now. You can’t grow if you don’t know where you are.

Dig deeper

You have an overall picture of where you are financially.

Now is time to look deeper into those numbers and see how you earned that money.

What were you streams of income this year? How many units of different products did you sell and at what price? How does this compare to last year or what you projected?

Look at your peeps

When you look at the money you earned, it’s important to remember that it came through people. And, unless you have people, you can’t earn money.

How did your reach grow in 2020? Did you find more success with one platform over another?

What did you learn about your peeps this year?

Review your marketing

You likely used a variety of marketing efforts to reach your peeps.

What worked for you this year? What needs to be adjusted before you try this again?


After you finish looking at 2020, take time to celebrate all that you accomplished and all that you learned.

Don’t skip this step!!

Once you do that, you can start to plan for 2021

Create a new vision

Start with a vision of what your business looks like in 2021. Write this down and dream big. In the last week, I was reminded in numerous articles I read that we are capable of so much more than we think.

Create money goals

Use the same format above and set yearly goals for revenue, expenses, and profit.

Go deeper and figure out where the money will come from. Do you need to change up your revenue streams? Do you need to add a revenue stream? Brainstorm on where you can build your revenue.

At the same time, look at your expenses. Are they all necessary? Will you have more expenses for a project that you need to plan for?

You learned so much by reviewing 2020 and you can put that insight to use now.

Review what needs to change

As you looked back at 2020, you may have noticed that you need to make changes in your business to get where you want in 2021.

This could be creating business boundaries, new systems, eliminating some activities.

It could involve building a support system. That might be joining a coaching program like the Members’ Studio. It might be hiring — or firing — team members. You may decided it’s time to bring an accountant or bookkeeper on board. If you work from home and have small children, it might be finding support with childcare. Your situation is unique.

Write your SMART goals

Here’s a link to a post on creating SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely.

Set a quarterly focus

Your SMART goals have a time or deadline attached to them.

They shouldn’t all be due 12/31/21. They should be spaced out through the year.

Decide what you will focus on each quarter and get out your calendar and put your deadlines in it.

Take action to make your goals happen

You have due dates for your projects. Break them down in to actionable steps, schedule them in your calendar, and Do Them!

My favorite way is to pick three tasks each day that move me towards my goals. Note that I said task. That could be one tiny step. If your goal is write a book, you might chose to write 3 paragraphs each day. Or you might choose to write one chapter. Your choice.

The idea is to chose a step that won’t overwhelm you so much that you give up. Little successes build on each other and you’ll get your project completed.

Review your progress

Take time each day to review your goals. Are you on track? Do you need to adjust?

In the Members’ Studio, we use a Weekly Success and Strategy Summit process to evaluate what worked and what didn’t each week. That way you aren’t surprised months later when something didn’t work. You are able to celebrate your successes and plan for the next week.

At the end of the month and the quarter, go back and do a deeper look to see where you are on/off track and make adjustments from there.

This is a simple process. Yes, it will take time to do this. And, yes, you may get off track and stop working at your goals. That’s okay. Just forgive yourself and get back on track.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Michelangelo.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

It’s your turn!

What is your big goal for 2021?

Pin It!

Leave a Reply

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).