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The Role of Goal Setting, Milestones and Accountability

In December, the Endurance Learning team shared one word around which they will focus in 2021 – a one-word resolution.

Resolutions, like any professional development goals, aren’t just something to set and forget. They take intention, action, reflection and effort in order to ensure they’re more than just a feel-good way to wrap up the year.

I was reading an article recently that cited data suggesting almost half those who set a New Year’s Resolution had abandoned it after a month. Well, we’re one month into the year. How’s your own New Year’s Resolution doing? Rocking along? Or time to re-commit?

Let’s take a look at how our Endurance Learning team has fared a month into the year.

Brian Washburn: My word for 2021 is “beyond”, and I’d give myself a B- so far in 2021. My intention was to go beyond the comfortable, old ways I’ve been doing things for the past several years. So far in 2021, I’ve spoken with 3 people I’d never met before as part of my podcast interviews, with an additional 4 new people for podcast interviews lined up. Endurance Learning has crafted proposals to partner with and work alongside several new organizations. I think these are some nice areas to start, but my gut tells me that “beyond” can be bigger and bolder. Stay tuned…

Rachel Niles: One month in and I’m being held accountable already? I told you I don’t even like champagne! My one-word resolution for 2021 is “celebration” and I’ve been having fun leaving champagne bottle emojis after celebratory moments in Slack…does that count? I’m happy to report in January Endurance Learning has had quite a few moments worthy of a small toast, even if just acknowledged with a silly gif or emoji. Seriously, though, we all know change can take time, and this includes my goal to focus on “celebration”. To me, this word means not only appreciating what is there in my life already, but embracing with gratitude that I am in a position to actually make things happen. Slowly so far this year, this has meant going outside my comfort zone to learn new things and offering to take on new tasks where I can within our company. In doing so, I am growing myself and the work that we do. Can I do better and do more in my 2021 “celebration”? Yes! It has just begun!

Lauren Wescott: Oy. This is convicting. I wouldn’t say January was much of a month where I “thrived”. Maybe it’s the weather (I live in Seattle, where we don’t see much sun this time of year), the post-holiday wind-down lull, or the fact that we are nearing the 1 year mark on this covid lockdown stuff, but I let it all get me down last month. Looking ahead, we’re looking to plan some things as a family to get us outside and maybe to a new environment to rejuvenate. This is a good reminder to set my focus back in a positive direction so I can “thrive”.

Heather Snyder: I don’t see resolutions as something that are 100% achieved in January. I see them as something that builds throughout the year. That said, I have been working to lay the foundation of a resourceful year, but I am not as far along as I would like to be. To work toward my goals, I have been meeting with a few people who can help balance some of our workload and hopefully give us all more bandwidth. I try to meet and brainstorm with our internal team members regularly to see how we can balance resources, and personally, I am working towards freeing up my own time by removing things from my life that don’t move me towards my goals.

Tim Waxenfelter: I’ve been taking baby steps in my goal to “expand”. As I write this I can say that I’ve attended more webinars (exactly one) to strengthen my skills than I did in the last 6 months of 2020. I’ve thought about expanding our team, but haven’t done much to execute on this yet. And, I’ve worked to expand the functionality of Soapbox, including the launch of a copy feature that our customers have been requesting. I won’t grade myself, but I am glad there are 11 more months in the year to move from a mantra to reality.


While a trip down memory lane and re-visiting our New Year’s Resolutions is kind of a fun exercise, there is a larger lesson here. Going through an exercise like this for ourselves and for our employees is key to holding ourselves and our teams accountable for doing the big things we claim we want to do. If getting work done is always seen as more important than taking time to reflect and assess, then we’ll never be able to do bigger and better things. We’ll never get “beyond”.

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