“Highest COVID-19 spike yet,” the newsperson said. “I’ll be able to get more done next year when COVID has died down,” I told myself. “COVID-19 numbers point to second wave,” the health official said. “I’ll have to wait until this is all over before I can start moving on my goals again,” I told myself. “A second wave of coronavirus may force renewed lockdowns,” the government official said. “Yeah, there’s no way I’m going to be able to get anything done in a global pandemic,” I told myself.

This year is not a throwaway year! This year can be an opportunity if you decide to use it as one. The worst advice you’ll hear this year is that you should wait until everything regarding COVID-19 is over to start pursuing your goals seriously again. There are lots of people who are adapting to the new normal in terms of finding new ways to continue dating and finding new strategies to be a more effective parent in the new normal.

However, what about your financial goals? What about your self-development goals? This is the time to really crack down on your habits as well as any other goals you might have so you can emerge next year prepared to conquer what you want in life.

For example, let’s say you want to make $100k next year. Whether you’re an employee or a business owner, instead of simply saying, “I want to make six-figures next year,” you can make the dream more actionable. Put a deadline on it to make it a goal. Instead say, “I want to start making six-figures before the end of 2021.” Then, make your goal more measurable. A great way to do this is to break up your $100k goal into months, then weeks, and then days. So, instead of saying, “I want to make six-figures next year,” you could say, “ I want to start making $2k a week before the end of 2021.”

After positioning your “dream” as more of a goal this way, you can get to work right now, regardless of the pandemic. You can start planning ways to make that $2k a week. For example, you can do the math on how much per week you make at your current job or in your current business on average. Then, brainstorm ways to make up the difference. As an employee, can you start a side hustle? Do you have a talent or skill that you can monetize? What can you do to become more valuable to your boss so you can negotiate for a raise?

As a business owner, you could begin analyzing your business for ways to bring in that additional revenue. Are you going to strategize ways to get more customers? Maybe increase the average order value (AOV) of your product or services? Or can you think of ways to increase your customers’ lifetime value (LTV) by incentivizing them to refer your product or service to their friends and family?

This is where you can also start networking and see the benefits right away. We’re all living in this new normal, so in that regard, we’re all in the same boat working to keep ourselves afloat. You are guaranteed to come across some people who can provide some great information and value to you as connections.

Doing some financial planning on your own is one thing, but having access to a network of qualified connections that you can mastermind with as well as mentors that you can exchange ideas with will give you the ability to come up with ideas to achieve your goals you never even thought of. Another one of the main, awesome advantages to having a solid network in your corner is that it gives you access to the entire network of each of your connections. So, let’s say you’ve been keeping your resume up to date and, unfortunately, something happens where you lose your job. You can ask one of your connections for an introduction or a recommendation that will get you the interview you need because friends want to help their friends. That’s why if you haven’t been using this year as an opportunity to network even a little bit you’ve been seriously missing out and putting yourself in a position to be unprepared for when things regarding COVID finally come to an end.

Make a decision today. Decide you’ll write down three dreams you have that you want to achieve before the end of next year and start working on them today. Put a deadline on those dreams and turn them into goals. Move the deadline up closer if it will help to motivate you to action. Do whatever it takes not to waste the valuable time and opportunities that are inside of this year if only you would put in the effort to get your hands on them.

Ali Scarlett is a certified networking expert and #1 national bestselling author of The Clever Connector. Sign up for his free relationship-building tips via his website,

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