Easy goal planning for moms-just follow these simple steps
Follow these 5 key steps for easy goal planning: a better way to take steps to achieve goals.
Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution or set a goal for yourself and then failed to see it through to completion? Do you think that because of that you are not good at goal setting? Have you even give up setting goals for yourself?
I have a secret to tell you: all is not lost. Just because you did not stick to your New Year’s resolutions or other mid-year goals in the past does not mean you cannot stick with any resolution or goal you set for yourself in the future. It does not mean that you are bad at keeping resolutions.
What does it mean, then?
It means you need to find out what is most important to you, understand why it is important, and put small steps in place to get there. Having an accountability partner to check in with can help, too.
It can be easy to set goals, but not always easy to follow through with them. If you follow these 5 key steps to effective goal setting, you will be well on your way to setting and achieving meaningful goals to continue moving forward in your life.
1. Figure out what your dreams are.
Take the time to evaluate what is most important to you. Do you want to eat healthier? Exercise more? Learn more about your Catholic faith? Be a better wife? Be a kinder Mom? Write a book?
Take the time to realize what your dreams are. What are the things you want to do for yourself to make your life better and live the life you are called to live?
You may find it helpful to write these thoughts down. Just write them down without thinking too much about them right now. Even things that may seem outlandish when they pop into your head, write them down, anyway.
It may be helpful to do this over a period of a few days. Keep coming back to your list each day and add more items as you think of them. These are not things that you will necessarily try to do this year, but write down all of your dreams that come to mind.
Look over your list. Take the time to evaluate what items are important to you and why they are important to you.
Do you want to be healthier because it is a trendy thing to say, but when you think about it you realize that it is not a main priority for you? Does being a better Mom sound to you like it is not a goal, but something you should be doing already? Do you feel that maybe you should pick a big goal like “write a book” even though you realize your heart is not in it right now?
Don’t be concerned with what you think you should have as your goals. Don’t be concerned with what others are doing or with what you think others will say about what you want to do. These are your own personal goals. They reflect what is dear to your heart. Working on them will help you to be the person God has created for you to be.
Spend time evaluating your list and taking a hard look at what you wrote down. Does anything stand out to you? Do you feel a tug in your heart about one or two in particular?
You may also want to spend time praying about how God is calling you. He may let you know of some other things you have not thought of yet.
If you need guidance in praying about this, How to “Pray About It” has some ideas to help you out.
Now is the time to take all your thoughts and your answers from prayer and decide what you will do.
You can pick one goal to work on now and add another in a month or two (or three). Or, you can pick more than one to begin right now. It is up to you.
To help you decide how many goals to start with, it may be helpful to look at your calendar to see how much time you will have to work on your goals. Remember, the purpose of setting goals is because you want to achieve them, not because you will put them aside after you write them down.
Now it is time to get to work!
A notebook, just a plain spiral notebook, is a great tool to use for planning your goals. You can have one sheet to list your goals, then separate pages for the different goals you are currently working on.
Have your calendar handy, too. As you plan, you will be able to easily add your plans to your calendar. Also, write down “goal check-in” one to four times a month. Plan a goal check-in as often as you need to help you keep track of where you are in achieving your goals and planning your next steps.
Have you ever heard the question: “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, “One bite at a time.” So it is with our goals. We don’t set out to achieve the entire goal in one sitting.
The best way to accomplish a goal is to break it down into bite-sized pieces. Now, sometimes we can eat just one bite a week. Other weeks we can eat a few bites. Sometimes these bites may seem so small that you may wonder if it is even worth taking a bite. Yes, it is! Ever bite-no matter how small-will get you one step closer to your goal.
In fact, smaller may be better. Have you ever seen a huge plate of food? It is way too much to eat at once. You may actually feel sick when you look at it and think of eating it all at once (well, unless you are a teenage boy…) But if you eat one bite and walk away, that is very doable. You may be likely to eat a second bite soon because it was so easy to eat that first one. It was almost too easy.
So it is with goals. Sometimes they seem so big and you may wonder if you can even achieve them. They may seem so big that you don’t even try.
Just take one small step. Even if the step seems almost ridiculously small, take it. You are now one step closer to the result you want.
- In your notebook, write out your goal and then write down all of the steps you can think of that you need to take to achieve it. Even if a step seems way too small, write it down. (On days when you do not feel motivated to work on your goal, these almost-too-easy steps will be great to do.)
- Look at your list of steps. Can some of them be broken down even more? For example, if your goal is to reorganize your kitchen and you listed “clean out the refrigerator” you can break that down into smaller steps: clean out the left drawer, clean out the right drawer, clean the top shelf, clean the middle shelf, etc.
- Decide which steps are the most important to do first. What is a step that has to be done before another step can be started? You can highlight or put a star by these first steps so they stand out.
- Look at your calendar or planner. Where can you add some of the steps into your week or month? Wrote them down.
See how easy that was!
This is a list that you can continually update as you cross items off (hooray!) and add steps you may realize later that you need to add.
Remember, a goal is a work in progress, not a work in perfection.
Do you have a goal that has a deadline attached to it? Maybe you want to sew a dress for an event or be in shape to run a marathon in 9 months.
If your goal does not have its own deadline, you can set a deadline. Perhaps you want to slowly eliminate junk food from your home over the next two months. Set a start date and an end date for your goal. Doing this will help you to stay motivated and focused.
After you have written out the steps you need to take to achieve your goal, look at the time frame you have for completing your goal. Figure out how many steps you will need to complete each month to achieve it. Then, divide those steps among the weeks you have each month.
Say you need to complete three steps each week for three months to complete your goal. Each week you can plan out what steps you will take that week and when you will take them. Schedule them on your calendar.
Note: If you have not used a calendar much in the past, keep it out where you can see it each day. This will help you to remember to check it and keep working on your current goal(s).
Who likes a reward? Plan rewards for yourself along the way to keep you motivated as you work on your goal. Plan time to do even little things you enjoy to make your journey to achieving your goal fun. This will make it easier to stick with it.
Reevaluation is another important step to add to your goal process. You can schedule time on your calendar for reevaluation each month, every few weeks, or as often as you need.
What is reevaluation? It means taking the time to reevaluate your goal and how you are doing to achieve it.
You may get to reevaluation day and realize you are doing awesome on your goal. You are excited and energized with your progress and may decide to get started on another goal. Go for it!
You may get to reevaluation day and realize you have not worked on your goal in three weeks. Ask yourself, “Why?” Is it a goal that is really not important to you after all? Maybe the steps you planned are too big and you feel overwhelmed by them, so you have not done any of them. Maybe you forgot to look at your calendar, so you didn’t do the steps you had planned out.
After you identify the why, it is time to find a solution. If your goal is one that you realize is not important to you, select another one that is a better choice. If the steps you wrote out for your goal are too big, break them down even more. Then break them down even more after that. If you forgot to look at your calendar, maybe you can set an alarm on your phone or computer to help you remember to check it regularly.
Making the time for reevaluation can help you stay on track with your goals so you work on the ones that are most important to you and get them accomplished.
When you achieve your goal, celebrate! You worked hard to accomplish it; take the time to enjoy and savor the fact that you did it. Plan a little something to celebrate your achievement. It can be as simple as making your favorite dinner or making time to read that book that has been on your to-read list for months. You could choose to spend the day out with your family. Have fun and make sure you plan time to enjoy reaching your goal! You worked hard to do it.
Taking the time to celebrate completing your goal can help motivate you when you are working on future goals. You will remember how great it felt to achieve what you set out to do. It will help you to keep going.
Aren’t the 5 steps to easy goal planning simple?
Easy goal planning is as simple as following these five simple steps: 1. Figure out what your dreams are. 2. Evaluate your goal ideas. 3. Decide which one to four of your goals to work on. Make sure these are goals that mean something to you, ones that will help you to be the best person you can be. 4. Plan out your goals. Break down your goals into smaller steps. Plan when you will get the steps done. Reevaluate your process regularly to make sure you picked the right goal or to make sure you are on track. 5. Celebrate when you accomplish what you set out to do!
If you are looking for some more resources to help you out, Get your life together! A Gift Guide for the Catholic Mom has a list of resources for you.