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2021 themes and goals

Last year I promised to share my 2020 goals, but it is almost April already and I still did not share anything. You might be worried if I am okay. Or maybe you feel relieved? A lot of people around me actually think I am being to strict for myself a lot of the times. I might cater to both your ways of worrying in this post...

The good news is: I am okay! It’s been a long lockdown winter. But I actually managed to get out for a bit, review last year and with fresh eyes look ahead. I even already reviewed the first quarter of this year and I am really happy where I am at. And no, not because I have checked off a lot of goals and have made myself proud doing so.

The main thing that gave me a feeling of pride and satisfaction is that I felt like I had achieved the things I really wanted to do, without pushing myself too much. And I also achieved a lot of things I might not have done if I would’ve pushed myself on it.

So in this post I will review my first quarter of 2021 and look ahead to the next and along the way you will see how I have changed my approach towards my personal development goals.

A good start

All things considering, I had a great start of the year. I spent a week on Vlieland (the most beautiful Dutch island). I warmed up my house here and there, where possible within the lockdown guidelines (two man parties ftw!). I started an exciting new role with my current client. And in the end of the first quarter I checked off all my goals I set!

  1. I made a plan concerning my personal financial situation.
  2. I made a plan to learn about investing money.
  3. I added storage space in my home.
  4. And I improved in doing strength training.

And all that doing a 4-day job, working on getting back a bit of a social life, investing time in a personal note taking system (using Obsidian) and many other things.

The main themes

Doing all that I touched on all the main themes I defined for the coming time:

  1. Enjoy my house
  2. Financial recovery
  3. Connect with friends & family
  4. Run that ultra marathon

And no these are not my yearly goals. They are themes for the longer term, for as long as I need them to be themes to work on. Inspired by my trusty Mastermind friends, along those themes I will review and set my goals every new quarter.

The last few years I have experimented with setting more and less ambitious goals. Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily. And the more I set, the more it felt like I was failing regularly. Even though I was not failing but still improving day by almost every day.

This had to change and this is why I will stop focusing on themes and habits and more importantly: I will not attach deadlines to them. I will get there when I get there. A year is long and a lot of things can change and that’s why I learned it might be smarter too keep it smaller. So this year I will be reviewing and setting my goals / todo’s quarterly.

Spring is coming

So now little lambs are dancing in the meadows, cute kittens are being born and the trees make me sneeze. What will my spring be all about?

  1. Finishing my bathroom and preparing the house for the arrival of the cutest kitten ever. 😸
  2. Actively learning about investing money.
  3. Continuing to build on my strength training habits (and getting a regular massage after :).

And of course I will keep calling and connecting with my friends & family. Planning the weekends and just randomly calling someone I love during my daily lunch walk have proven key to improving on that.

But what about the rest of your year, Bram?

I don’t care! We will see next quarter. I will not write a public review like this every quarter, I think. But at least it gives you an insight in how I’ve changed my approach towards my goals last year.

I still intend to do an extensive yearly “life review” at the end of every year, like I started in the winter of ‘19/‘20. But my themes will be more fluid and my goals will be shorter and therefore easier to reach.

I already feel like it will result in a happier me. And that’s what we all want, right?


Enjoy your spring and let me know what you think of my renewed approach or if you want to get more specific about my goals or on how I approach them and their overlaying themes. I am also curious how you approach your personal development.