How to start 2021 off right and my goals for this year

Hi, my friends! Greetings from Charlotte, North Carolina. We landed here on Wednesday evening, found our AirBnB, popped into Publix to fill the fridge with some essentials, and have spent the rest of the time looking at houses and exploring as best as we can in cold weather, during COVID, with a toddler and dog in tow.

I’ll share more about what’s going on in our world soon. But today, I wanted to do something that we all can potentially benefit from: Think about the upcoming year and get in a good headspace about it. Because 2020 was r-o-u-g-h, and it’s time to regroup.

Even though it’s already the second week of January, it’s still a great time to assess, plan and set your intentions. In fact, it’s never too late to start.

Also, I promise to be back with the first edition of current faves for 2021 on Friday.

How to start 2021 off right and my goals for this year

How to start 2021 off right and my goals for this year by A Lady Goes West in January 2021

Let’s start with doing some assessments on 2020 …

How to assess 2020 in order to move forward to 2021

Last year, at the start of 2020, I wrote a post about writing things down to start the year off right. And I went back to read it recently and realized it is such a powerful topic that is worth revisiting every year. In that post, which you can find in its entirety here, I suggested that the act of writing things down makes you more likely to do them. And I believe in that. I’m not talking about using the notes column in your phone, I’m talking about buying a notebook, writing in it with a pen, and referring back to it regularly as the motivation of the new year starts to fade, so you can be reminded of your why.

Just a couple of weeks ago, when I was organizing for our move, I found the answers that I wrote down during that exercise. And boy was it eye-opening. I based my goals for 2020 off what I learned in 2019, and I wrote those goals down in my daily planner, so I always had them nearby to check in on. I’m doing the same thing this year.

Here are the questions I posed in that original blog post, updated to this year, with one new one:

  • What made me feel good in 2020?
  • What didn’t make me feel good in 2020?
  • Where do I see myself at the end of 2021?
  • What’s one daily habit I can begin now to get me closer to where I want to be?
  • What’s one new thing that I want to try in 2021?
  • (NEW) How can I focus more on what really matters and less on what doesn’t?

I would highly recommend grabbing a notebook and a pen and answering these questions for yourself right away. Bonus points if it’s something you can do with a family member or friend to talk about any shared learnings. Because you’re always more motivated for change when you have a partner to seek that change with you.

By the way, while I know that 2020 threw us the curveball-of-all-curveballs in many ways, this exercise is still valid. Because there are many things in life you can still control, even in a pandemic. And I think it’s become even more clear than ever that we have to focus on what can control more than what we cannot — while also doing our part to support good in the rest of the world too. 

2020 may have knocked us down, but it didn’t knock us out. Let’s learn from it. (Peloton instructor reference there, did you catch it?)

How and why to do a 2020 calendar audit

There’s another way you can use what you learned in 2020 to move forward into 2021. Enter the calendar or time audit. (By the way, Rachel Hollis has a great podcast episode all about this, which you can find here. And her episode inspired some of this portion.)

Because 2020 was a totally crazy year, it may make this exercise a bit more difficult to do. But the idea of a calendar audit is truly powerful. A calendar audit can be many things, but for our purposes you do this: Look back at your 2020 calendar and assess by days, then weeks, and then months to see where you spent your time. For each window of time spent, decide whether that time was moving you forward or holding you back. Once again, you probably spent a lot more time in 2020 doing things that were not in your usual responsibility list (like being a virtual school teacher for your kids or caring for sick family members and so much more). However, I’m sure many of us can get at least a little insight from this audit by looking back at where we spent our efforts.

It’s said that we usually get 80 percent of our results from 20 percent of our efforts, and if you do a calendar audit to see where you spent your time getting the most bang-for-your-buck, you may be able to focus more on those things in the future. And this isn’t just for work, it’s for your health, your home, your relationships or whatever it is that you do and you care about.

Also, when you actually look at where you spend your time, you may start to notice that you spend a lot more time doing things that don’t really matter that you don’t really have to do. Here’s a chance to make some changes in the future on that.

Start 2021 off right and my goals by A Lady Goes West

So what did I learn in 2020?

I learned a lot in 2020, in spite of quite a bit of challenge.

I learned that I do not need a gym or studio to get in a good workout, and I do not need the responsibility of teaching to a full class to keep me consistent with my fitness either. To some of you, this may seem so insignificant that I learned this lesson. But to me, it’s big. I have never enjoyed working out at home, have never chosen to do it, and have actively avoided it. But boy, was I missing out on some major convenience. I learned in 2020 that I am fully self motivated, that I operate best when working out regularly in ways that are kind to my body, and that I will always make time for movement, even if I’m not teaching five in-person classes a week. 

I learned that I tend to put a lot of deadlines, responsibilities and burdens on myself that are mostly self-imposed. With the help of my life coach that I worked with for a few months in 2020, I created some work boundaries, I learned to spend more time doing what brings me joy, and I decided to stop caring so much about what other people think. It’s been liberating.

Like many of you, in 2020, I learned that we each have a responsibility to try harder to keep ourselves healthy and to try harder to not share our germs with others. I have to admit, I had been guilty of showing up to teach classes when not fully well in the past, and that’s something I’ll never do again. When you’re sick, if you can stay home, you need to stay home. 

I learned that I don’t need a large circle of people in my life at all. In fact, I would prefer to have a smaller circle of quality people who really care about me than a lot of people who are just surface friends. And no matter what, my most important circle is my family.

I learned about the healing power of nature and how a nice solo walk in the cool sunshine can be a cure for a lot of things. I spent more leisure time outside in 2020 than I probably ever have, and it was good for the soul. I truly came to appreciate my surroundings, and I will take that with me forever — never going back to being indoors all the time with planned activities back to back to back.

What are my goals and intentions for 2021?

To be intentional and simple.

I’m keeping it super simple this year. And to do that, I want to focus on and grow the things I’m already working on, and I don’t plan to start any new big things. 

Professional …

Last year, I unexpectedly took on some new things (hello, digital fitness), and I think that was the last add I need to do for a while. Right now, I have three main buckets, outside of being a mom/friend/daughter/wife/social person. Here they are:

Blog: This is my bread and butter. I want to continue to provide helpful and hopefully relatable content on the blog and social media. I will continue to post on Tuesdays and Fridays, with social media posts in between. And even though I’m always open to topic requests and feedback, I plan to continue to cover motherhood, wellness, nutrition, life, moving, fitness and the usual. I also have an idea for a crowd-sourced regular post that I may need your help on. Overall, the blog is part of me, and I want to make it better and better for you over time. By the way, I think I’ve settled on a new name for the blog, so get ready for that in the next couple of months, as I get things in order. Goal: Increase blog readership by 15 percent and rebrand the blog by the end of 2021.

Beautycounter: I want to grow my Beautycounter business, not only to continue growing this portion of my annual income, but also because the mission of Beautycounter matters to me. Everyone who switches over to Beautycounter falls in love with it, and caring about what you put on your body is super important. In 2020, I hit the Director level with Beautycounter, and in 2021, I’d like to hit the next recognition level, and I know I can do it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I never imagined myself being a part of Beautycounter, but it’s one of my favorite things I do. Goal: Hit Senior Director level with Beautycounter by the end of 2021.

Fitness: I plan to continue to grow my digital fitness endeavors. I don’t want any new certifications, but I do want to work on my fitness and my teaching as much as I can. If you haven’t worked out with me virtually yet, I hope you will. I know there are a lot of amazing super-big platforms out there, and those are great, and I use them too. But I think you’ll have fun taking a class from me too. If you want to do that, check out Fit Revolution, where I have almost 15 various workouts available currently with more on the way. You can get a 14-day free trial and 33 percent off your first month with the code ASHLEYPITTPC31, so give it a go here. And if you want to do a live barre class with me, you can do that on Motus, so give that a go here. I would love to get back to teaching maybe one or two in-person classes this year as well, and I have my sights set on landing a position at Life Time Fitness in Charlotte. I don’t know anyone there and have never been, but I’m putting this out there in the universe in hopes that I can make it happen. As far as my own fitness, I want to be strong for life, and I’ll keep pushing for that in all of my workouts and classes. Goal: Continue to teach regular digital fitness classes and secure at least one regular in-person class by the end of 2021.

Start 2021 off right and goals by A Lady Goes West

Personal …

In 2021, I want to do more traveling and exploring. I want to spend more time with my momma and my brother. I want to make some real friends in our new city. I want to stay connected to all the amazing people who care about me in my same time zone and not. And of course, I want to continue to feel my very best through getting good sleep, maintaining good stress mangement, engaging in good exercise and eating delicious food.

If time allows, I’d also love to take dance classes once the world gets back to more normalcy, because that’s something that has been on my list for a while. I actually took an adult ballet class right before COVID hit in 2020, and I was so proud of myself for branching out. Maybe that’ll happen this year. But if not, I’ll just dance at home. 

Concluding thoughts on the year ahead

I’m ready for the better things ahead in 2021, even if they don’t happen immediately. And I just know that this year is going to hold some awesomeness, with plenty of tough moments mixed in.

I do not have any “resolutions” for the new year and haven’t made those in forever. But I do want to continue to refer back to my goals, to be conscious of where I’m spending my time each day and to appreciate all the sweet little moments with my family that really matter, even if that means turning off my phone a lot.

Based on everything I learned during a very tough 2020, I know that life is short. I know that people matter more than places and stuff. And I know that my health will always be a huge priority for me and worth investing in at all costs. And that concludes today’s post. Let’s get out there and do this, friends. In the meantime, I need to go find a place to live. 🙂

Other resources for you

Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I’ll be over on Instagram sharing more about our first full week in Charlotte, until we meet back here on the blog on Friday for some favorite things!

P.S. I’m wearing all CALIA by Carrie Underwood in the pictures in these post, and all of these pictures are from a partnership I did with CALIA in 2020. 

Questions of the day

What’s the biggest thing you learned in 2020?

Do you have a goal for 2021 that you would like to share with the group to keep you honest?

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  1. Excellent post! I love those questions and will be working through them myself this week. What a great tool for reflection :). I’m so glad to hear you’ve found lots of joy and peace from taking walks outside, it is one of my favorite things to do whether alone or with my family <3. It is more work to get outside in the winter, but we've made sure we have the right apparel to handle just about any weather.

    Thanks for sharing, sending all the good vibes for a peaceful and gratifying 2021

    1. Hi Jessie! Happy new year, my friend! I know you are a fan of the long outdoor walks, and I love that. I’m lacking a bit on the proper cold-weather equipment for that, so I could use some pointers. Here’s to reflection, walks and a great 2021! 🙂

  2. A good windbreaking heavy coat, stocking cap, fleece tights/pants under your pants, and thick socks will go a long ways :). This year we even got balaclavas to keep our faces warm, we look a little ridiculous but hey, we get fresh air lol.

  3. Great post with good food for thought on creating my own goals and looking back to do so.
    Looking forward to your new direction. Hope you are settling into the new area soon!

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