Why you should create your 21 for 2021

“Trying new things and breaking out of your routine is a great way to improve your satisfaction with life.”

– Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps

Since January 2019, I have been making a list of things I could do to bring more joy and greater satisfaction to my life each year. I hope this year in review will inspire you to plan your highlights for 2021. This activity is fun and overall less goal-oriented than the Annual Review and planning. Like me, you can always do both since each process has its own benefits.

I recommend ordering your list so that one-time items are at the top and recurring activities are at the bottom (as I did in 2019). Since some of these items are easier to complete, you get the satisfaction of marking them done sooner. It felt like an accomplishment last year to immediately check off the purchase of a bag for my yoga mat and using natural tooth whitening strips for the first time.

By spring, however, it became unclear how many more items I would be able to complete during a pandemic. I had added “Get my first colonoscopy and complete all recommended preventative care/screenings” not as a highlight but to share for accountability. Ultimately, I decided a mammogram was the only screening I felt comfortable getting in 2020. This has been the year where each of us must evaluate the risks versus benefits of our plans.

I was motivated to reorganize the basement to create more space for exercise during the colder months. I also knocked my reading goals out of the park. But vacationing in a new city was not something I was ready to do during COVID. I also had to let go of biking to my office and coworking space because I wasn’t comfortable being indoors with people outside of my household.

Continuing yoga on a weekly basis was a repeat I was looking forward to. When my gym closed, I started a month-long daily yoga challenge in April. I enjoyed this so much that I changed my yoga plan to three days per week. While I didn’t return to the group outdoor yoga class, I enjoyed being able to do my own yoga practice in my backyard. Shout out to Yoga with Adriene for facilitating my at-home yoga practice by offering thousands of free videos!

My goal of meeting 20 new business contact for coffee quickly converted to Zoom or phone calls. By the end of the year, I had met with more than 50 people. As an extrovert, this helped satisfy my desire to converse with new people as well as expand my network. I was off to a good start with my live event goals with over 100 RSVP’s for Productivity with Heart in February. After a March event at Fueled Collective, it wasn’t until July that I transitioned to events online. I was eventually able to facilitate over a dozen virtual workshops including three events for Twin Cities Startup Week, my first 6-week course, and multiple collaborations. I am especially proud of myself for creating the modules for my Productivity Through Presence online course without a single call for technical support!

My intention to regularly meet with friends became less spontaneous and more organized. As I share in my workshops, if something is a priority for your time, then it should be on your calendar. I started scheduling monthly recurring phone calls with my friends in New York and weekly socially distanced walks with my local friends. Having these times on the calendar meant we not only followed through, but we also had these touchpoints that we could count on and look forward to during times when so much else felt uncertain.

For 2021, I am keeping the categories of one-time, ongoing, and upping my game. For January through June, I am adding a monthly challenge. I’ve left out ambitious travel goals and changed from visiting new museums to visiting new parks. And, if there is one thing we have learned from 2020, it’s that life can be unpredictable. My list this year will only include 19 items leaving space for two new items that may develop once my family and I have all been vaccinated. Some have also shared that creating a longer list each year is daunting and this year 11 for 2021 might feel more doable.

What items are on your 21 for 2021? This year I’m sharing my list on the Optima Results Coaching Facebook Page and I invite you to join the conversation!

Thanks to @GretchenRubin for this activity to help our year become “happier, healthier, and more productive.” You can listen to her podcast episodes #304 and #307 and on the subject.

Photo by Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash


2 thoughts on “Why you should create your 21 for 2021

  1. Erica Reply

    I absolutely loved this content and shout out to Yoga with Adriene she is actually on my calendar for Thursdays. Thank you for the content felt like I was chatting with a friend, but I was really reading your blog. Thanks-Erica

    • Tamara Post authorReply

      Thanks for sharing you positive comment, Erica! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and are scheduling consistent time for your yoga practice. Be well, Tamara

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