If you have read my blog for more than a few days, you know I am a firm believer in the power of setting goals. I’m sure you have wondered why I am so passionate about this. Back in college, before kids, before marriage, before “growing up” I had a professor lecture that one of the best ways to achieve a goal in life is to write it down. Even if you put the paper away and don’t see it for 5 years, the chances of accomplishing that goal goes up tremendously just by writing it down. So I did. I wrote down goals for that year, 5 years, and 10 years from that date. I put the paper away and didn’t look at it for over a year. Guess what happened? Most of the goals I had set for that first year I had completed. Some weren’t completed. I had forgotten about them or they hadn’t been that important that I chose to pursue them.
However, this didn’t seem like the best way of setting goals. I needed something to motivate me, to give me purpose, and to help me not forget what I was striving for. Those of you who know me personally, know that when something strikes my interest I have to learn, and learn, and learn some more. I read books about goals. I read blogs about goals. I read magazine articles about goals.
What I have learned, has changed my life!
When I first quit my job right after the twins were born, I quickly learned a few lessons of being a stay at home mom. The first was if you don’t have a plan, the entire day passes by and as you are laying in bed that night, you start to wonder what happened to your day, your month, and what is going on in your life?
A second lesson I quickly learned was that stay at home moms do not sit at home all day and twiddling their thumbs. (I had always kind of wondered what a typical day for a stay at home mom was like, not because I was judging, I just really didn’t know! I assumed they had all their laundry done, dishes put away, and had time to sit down and read a book….so wrong, I know!)
I learned that messes multiply when you are at home during the day! It started to seem like I was spinning my wheels and not getting anything accomplished when I picked up toys, cleaned the bathroom, and washed the dishes only to turn around and there were new toys out, the bathroom had toothpaste all over the counter, and someone had gotten out 4 cups and filled them half full of water! Part of being a stay at home mom is that many of my “jobs” are tasks that I complete every day and sometimes multiple times a day and by the time I lay down at night, the house can be in worse condition than it was when I woke up that morning.
At this point, I realized I needed to set goals. I also needed to set better goals than I had in the past. Here are my best tips on how to set goals. Sometimes you will achieve your goals, sometimes you won’t. However, I believe that if you begin setting goals and use these tips, you will see more results than if you never start to set goals in the first place.
1. Carefully consider what is the most important to you? Can you break the important things down into categories? My categories that I use to set goals are: Intentional Self-Care, Intentional Marriage, Intentional Parenting, Intentional Homemaking, and Intentional Blogging. Those are my priorities! Yours may be completely different and that is okay! Each of us has different obligations, priorities, and things that make us unique.
2. Start with a few goals. If you have never set goals before, don’t go crazy and set 20 for each category! If you have 5 categories like I do, set a few goals for each category. One category may have 4 goals and another may have 1. That’s fine also! Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t overwhelm yourself. If you set too many goals to start with it is easy to become overwhelmed and quit!
3. Keep them S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound).
4. Write them down and put them in a place you will see them all the time! I am so busy now that if they aren’t in front of me, I will forget and at the end of the week have 3 that I completely forgot about. By keeping them accessible, you won’t forget!
5. Break each goal down! If your goal is to read 36 books in 2014, you need to read approximately 3 books each month. Each month write down your goals for the month and make a checklist. As you complete part of the project, check it off! This will give you momentum! (Remember, keep it visible! If you forget about your goals, you are less likely to accomplish them!)
If your goal is to save $100 each month, that is roughly $25 a week. Each week on Saturday put a star on the calendar or some other way of knowing that you completed that task for the week or make a chart where you can color in each time to save to give you a momentum boost as you see that number increasing.
6. Have an accountability partner. If one of your goals is to exercise 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time, find a friend to check in with. If you know you have to check in with your friend each day, you will be more motivated to complete your goal. Even if it’s through email or text, this accountability will keep you motivated and you can cheer each other on!
One of the reasons I created this blog was because I didn’t have a good accountability partner. I wanted somewhere to list my goals, be able to work through them, have accountability, and encourage others toward success!
7. At the end of the month, review your goals. If you need to adjust for the next month, do it. Then make your new goals for the next month. If you continue to do this, not only will you get better at setting good goals, but you also will achieve so many of the goals on your list!
8. Finally, if you don’t do very well on your goals the first few times, keep going! Don’t give up! Most people don’t find success the first time they try something new. Make adjustments and keep working on your goals! I’m here to cheer you on!
What are some tips you could give to someone who hasn’t set goals before?