Many of us were anticipating 2020 to be our best year ever.

That was until all our plans took a different turn, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Admittedly, 2020 has been quite the roller coaster, even for us at Capital Placement. However, we believe there’s value in self-reflection especially now that 2020 has ended and we begin the first few days of 2021. Self-reflection shows us our strengths and weaknesses and paves a way forward as we start our new year.

Now that we’ve officially said goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021, we’ve decided to compile a list of questions you should ask yourself to help you build a strong foundation for success in 2021.

When you answer the following questions, try to avoid overly general or vague responses Aim to be as personal as you can. Your answers will serve as a reminder when you check in from time to time.

So, get ready with your journal, a pen, and a warm drink. Let’s head right into these questions.

10 questions to ask before 2020 ends

1. What Career milestones do I want to achieve this year?

Career milestones are achievements that mark a step up in your career development.

For children, their childhood development milestones are measured by their ability to crawl, walk, run, and cycle. These are proud moments for parents!

Likewise, in our jobs, we can celebrate milestones that signify we’re getting better at what we do.

For example, you’re in charge of advertising, your goal is to see an increase in the number of conversions from your newest ad. A milestone may be for you to achieve the top number of conversions for the quarter in your company.

If you can’t think of any milestones, think about some goals you’d like to achieve throughout the year such as making your bed at least 3 times a week or taking a business class to improve your knowledge in this area.

2. What were challenges I faced that stopped me from doing my job (or at university) successfully and how can I avoid them in the future?

In our second reflection question, think about the challenges you’ve faced this year. Challenges are part and parcel of our work and everyday lives. If they are not well-managed, they can create unnecessary worry and stress, which can impede us from performing our best in our work.

Not giving 100% to our work can be caused by external factors beyond our control: family pressure, colleagues and our physical environment. They can also be caused by internal factors within our control, like our mental and physical health, distractions by entertainment, our values, and our financial planning.

Once you’ve identified these challenges, make it a point to counter those so that you can perform better at work in the coming year. Be honest with yourself. Overcoming these challenges or seeking help, will only help you better manage your day-to-day activities and help you become a stronger individual personally and professionally.

3.How has the pandemic changed the way I view my line of work?

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons about the meaning and value of work this year:

● To be grateful for the jobs we have;
● Prioritise our mental health in times of stress;
● Be adaptable to huge changes; and
● To be digitally equipped.

During the global pandemic, the importance of all industries on humanity became magnified, whether it be taking orders at a fast-food chain or running a billion-dollar business. People began to realize how volatile or stable their jobs were in a pandemic when it had to serve humanity. In your reflection, compare your mindset and perception of your work before and after the pandemic.

4. How can I better manage my finances this year?

Regularly checking in on your financial position is an excellent practice to adopt, even if you are still a student. People who can manage their finances well are more aware of their spending habits. Hence, they are more likely to reduce unnecessary expenses and spend in the right areas to help them achieve certain life goals.

So, the earlier you know how to manage your finances, the better.

In your reflection of your financial standing, CoinToCapital recommends that you review your beliefs and values about money. Then, identify your financial habits and your financial weaknesses. These are pointers for you to set a financial goal for 2021. Why? Being financially literate early on in your life will help support your decisions such as moving to another country to take an internship or job role. There are tonnes of resources available for you to improve your financial literacy. CoinToCapital’s full guide is here if you would like to do an in-depth financial reflection.

5. Who can I rely on to keep me accountable in 2021?

Who are you grateful for this year?

Over the course of this challenging year, think about the people who supported you or inspired you. Perhaps you were mentored by a colleague or a neighbour offered to watch your children over the weekend.

Whoever it may be, they’ll be happy to know that they are appreciated even for the small things. After you have reflected on how that person helped, send them a simple thank you message. If you want to, you can even give them a small gift to say thanks!

6. In which areas of my work can I do better in 2021?

Nobody is perfect at their job.

In a day’s worth of work, you make hundreds of decisions. Some decisions would be second nature to you, whereas some decisions need a little oil to smoothen and get going.
Reflect on some of the areas of work which were a little bumpy for you this year and have room for improvement in 2021. This reflection will only help you make a game plan on you can further develop your areas of weakness

Here are some general skills that we can think of:

● Time management
● Networking
Interpersonal skills
● Client servicing
● Computer and tech skills

Being aware of your weaknesses will put you in a better position for professional growth in the coming year. You’ll be able to seek resources and ask for help from your supervisors.

7. What career goals do I want to set for 2021?

This is a more general question that applies to your long-term career goal.

Before you enter 2021, have a brief idea of which direction you want your career to go. We suggest you make small and short-term career goals that can be achieved within a year, these will then help you build into your long-term goals.

For example, a short-term career goal for 2021 could be to take a certification or participate in a remote internship to strengthen your knowledge and gain relevant career experience. In the long term, this could contribute to your goal of being a well-known consultant in your industry.

So, review your long-term career plan and create a to-do list of actions for 2021 to help you build towards that long-term goal. As a side note, a tip for keeping your goals is to be realistic about the time-frame you are looking to achieve your goal and look to build accountability into your plan for the days where you don’t want to work on your goals.

8. What negative habits should I quit in 2021?

Habits are more fatal than we think: they can severely impact how we work, interact with others, and are perceived by others. Dangerously, our habits are such a natural part of ourselves that they become almost unnoticeable. Bad habits can have undesirable consequences, so it’s important to catch them early and try to quit them!

Our career can be affected by our tendencies to be late for appointments, sleep late, scroll endlessly, interrupt, say yes too easily, gossip, complain excessively… the list goes on.

It isn’t easy to catch them since humans tend to be rosy-eyed with ourselves, so be honest with yourself if your habits are impacting you negatively and think about why they are doing so.

9. What positive habits should I adopt in 2021?

Don’t just point out your mistakes and weaknesses, though.

To be a better version of yourself in 2021, write down and commit to ways to replace those bad habits with good ones.

Baby steps, though – habits aren’t corrected overnight! Plan to form a good habit and stick to a timeline. 2021 is going to be a year of good habits…or working on overcoming bad ones. Strive for progress, not perfection.

10. What can I do to help others in 2021?

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

In 2021, aim to help and uplift those around you. With our privilege in check, it’s only right that we adopt a charitable heart and lighten the burdens of our colleagues, neighbours, and community. Perhaps start your own initiative or band with a nonprofit organization to do your part in society.

As part of our last reflection question, list your passions and strengths, and brainstorm ways to use them for the good of others. Then, create an actionable plan for yourself to execute next year! There is never a better time to start.

Final Thoughts

Planning for the year ahead can sometimes flop and disappoint, as we’ve seen in 2020’s case. However, it’s no harm to prepare yourself to smash those goals, come what may.

From all of us at Capital Placement, we are wishing you a better year and if you’re looking for support to launch your career – book a call! (Shameless plug, we know!)

Don’t forget to share this post!



A personal blogger since her teenage years, Ying has always enjoyed stringing words together. Now, she teaches her primary school students to find the magic in writing. Her dream is to live off-grid in a cottage with all the coffee, ink and paper she can have.
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