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  • Kaitlyn Kokoska

My Learning Goals for 2021

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

Listen, I don’t have to tell you about how last year went. Maybe you achieved some of your New Year’s resolutions or maybe the Pandemic put some of them on hold—and that’s okay! I know for myself, 2020 looks a lot different than I planned.

So this year, before the clock struck midnight, I set myself up for some major expectations. I kept thinking that 2021 had to be the best year ever because 2020 was quite possibly the worst.

But maybe that’s too much pressure.

If there is one thing the pandemic has taught me is that we all need to be kinder. This means having care and compassion for others but also for ourselves as well. I will still always have goals and push myself to new achievements, but I want to be nicer to myself. I want to give myself the room to grow rather than constantly measure my progress.

With that in mind, I have made a list of goals without arbitrary deadlines, which used to help motivate me, but usually now just causes unnecessary stress. They are open-ended. They’re goals that involve learning and being flexible and hopefully will lead me to my larger goals. But, if they don’t, they’re still good experiences to have under my belt.

Develop my marketing skills (technical)

I have worked to involve myself in a lot of creative writing classes and writing workshops and opportunities, but I’m missing some technical aspects of PR work. I know marketing well as a consumer and consider myself to be quite conscious. With this goal, I am looking to exercise my communications knowledge and learn how to blend them with marketing techniques.

How to do this:

  • Facebook Ad workshops through Blueprint

  • Google Ad workshops through SkillShop

  • Attend 3 CPRS and EIC events with a marketing focus

  • Exercise the new skills on my personal accounts and ask to use them professionally at my current job

Say yes to opportunity (motivational)

I have imposter paralysis. Sometimes I’ll decline an invitation or opportunity because I don’t think I’ll be perfect at it. Even if I know it’s a learning opportunity. However, I know that in order to learn and grow I need to be a bit vulnerable—to take chances and take on new opportunities that I may not be great at first, but that I will learn a lot from in the process.

How to do this:

  • Apply for volunteer and internship opportunities (even if I don’t have ALL of the job requirements)

  • Engage in conversations with my online connections (even if I think they’re trying to sell me something)

  • Approach each day like an experiment (this one is a bit more personal. Having this mindset helps me be more open to opportunity by putting less expectation on an outcome. It allows me to sit back and see how things will unfold).

Protect my time (personal)

This one is a continuation of my 2020 goal. I made a big career change in 2020 because I wanted my time back. I had become money-obsessed and as a result, I was losing out on things I loved and people I loved. I also lost myself.

How to do this:

  • Limit my working hours

  • Be more fluid about when I take the work/relax time blocks (it’s okay to be off schedule as long as the same amount of effort/hours are put in)

  • Make sure no matter what I’m doing, I make space for myself and the people I love

Sometimes, I can be obsessed with self-improvement. In the past, that meant that I would spend hours studying or thinking about ways I could improve my career well beyond the confines of the 9-5. My brain never stopped pushing the productivity machine. I never gave it rest.

Once, during my vacation to Hawaii (a trip that was part of a 5-year goal I once had), I was sitting on a white-sand beach. The waves were crashing and the sun radiated delectably, just enough to warm the surface of my skin, but not enough to bake. I sat and listened to the waves with my eyes closed… and I was thinking about work, about all the things I could do to make more money, and what I would do when I got home from vacation. I didn’t relax for a single second.

So this year, self-improvement means being more well-rounded, open, and flexible. It’s about living in the moment right now and appreciating that learning takes a while and is uncomfortable.

For me, 2021 is the year of growth over achievement.

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