Setting 2020 Goals? Read This First.

Right now you’re probably reflecting on 2019 and assessing how successful your year has been based on your achievements, whether professional or personal.

Maybe you had a list of goals you wanted to hit by December 2019 and now you feel awful because you’ve only managed two or three.

But what if the way we’ve been setting those goals is all wrong?

I progressed quickly in my career.

After I joined the sector as a fundraising co-ordinator I was promoted to a management role within nine months and kept progressing rapidly from that point.

I thought to be successful was to keep moving at that pace. To keep smashing goals and jumping to the next one.

Every time I logged onto LinkedIn it would tell me, ‘Hey! This fundraiser has got a new job. Why haven’t you been promoted yet?’ and I’d feel like I was missing something I should be doing.

So I’d make a goal to work towards a promotion or qualification, anything that could help me measure how good I was doing by ticking it off on a ‘career ladder’.

I’d set goals based on what I thought I should be doing, rather than what I really want to do.

And it sucked.

I didn’t achieve them because they weren’t right for me. My heart wasn’t in it so the drive wasn’t there.

But to miss a goal you’ve set yourself still hurts if you don’t look at the root cause of why you set that goal in the first place.

I felt like I was failing.

Sound familiar?

I’m noticing it a lot more in the sector so you might even recognise this in yourself.

We’re Tweeting more, writing more, speaking more. And with that comes comparisons, self-imposed limitations and feelings of failure – all based on what other people are up to rather than what our own journey should be.

And don’t get me wrong, I still do it now. But I’m more conscious and confident in tackling my decisions, goal setting and thinking to not allow my inner voice to control my actions.

I set goals I know I can achieve because they’re right for what I want to do and where I want to go.

So I’d like to help you with setting your goals more consciously so you can head into 2020 with the right focus and chances of success.

When you set a goal ask yourself,

  1. Does this contribute to my long-term goal?
  2. Why am I setting myself this goal?
  3. Has this goal been inspired by a panic feeling from something I’ve read or heard?
  4. Will it make me happy?

The answers will guide whether this is a true goal to better yourself or a goal you’ve set because you feel like you need to keep up with projected expectations.

And if you feel like you’ve failed this year ask yourself, ‘was this goal really right for me or was I setting myself up to fail from the outset?’

Chances are you didn’t fail at achieving your goals, you just set the wrong goals for where you’re actually going in your life or career.

To set the right goals it helps to look at what success looks like for you.

It might be freedom to travel and work, you may want to work towards a salary goal. But it needs to be your goal.

I’ve redefined my measure of success based on what allows me to do what I’m good at and make me happy in the process.

Redefining success gives you back control of your own decisions, career and happiness. It puts you, not your boss, the world or social media, in control of whether you succeed or fail.

My measure of success is not who I work for, my job title or the career updates I can post on LinkedIn,

It’s the time I get to pick up my son from nursery.

It’s the freedom to work with people I feel a genuine connection with.

It’s the creativity I get to explore by running my own projects.

It’s being able to lift others and celebrate their success instead of feeling like I constantly need to prove my own.

And I’ll be keeping these in mind as I put pen to paper to set my 2020 goals.

And oh my goodness – it feels amazing.

Want to join me in reviewing 2019?

To know where you’re going it’s helpful to know where you’ve been.

Every December I spend a couple of hours with a cup of tea (and leftover shortbread) to reflect on the previous year and highlight the successes and fails that can help me grow for the year ahead.

Enter your name and email address below to download the 2019 review worksheet from YearCompass which helps guide your reflection and goal setting.

    Entering your details adds you to the Charity Nikki mailing list. If you’d rather not be added but still want the worksheet (I won’t be offended!), email and I’ll share it with you.

    Are you a proud loser?

    This failure blog is inspired by the launch of Pizza for Losers – the event (& soon to be podcast!) where we celebrate what failure teaches us and eat a lot of pizza.

    Check out to find an event near you and subscribe to the mailing list to hear podcast episode 1 on January 10th 2020.