You’ve been so busy taking care of everyone else, there’s no time left for you. The life you want seems to be on hold and you’ve all but given up on setting goals for yourself.
What if I said goal setting for moms isn’t impossible, that you can achieve joy and fulfillment even in this busy season of life?
- 9 Goal Setting Tips for Moms
- How to Identify Your Personal Goals as a Mother
- Create a Vision for Your Life
- Determine the Objectives of Your Goals
- Identify Obstacles to Accomplishing Your Personal Goals
- How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
- Hope for Your Future
9 Goal Setting Tips for Moms
As a busy mom, we get used to setting aside our desires. It’s what we do. But over time, sacrificing our needs and quieting our passions takes a toll on our identity, sense of worth and overall happiness. We may even start to feel like a shell of the person we once were, doing what we can just to get through the day.
As a mother, we owe it to not only ourselves, but our children and spouse to break out of survival mode and show up fully. That’s where goal setting comes in.
How to Identify Your Personal Goals as a Mother
There’s a lot of doubt and confusion surrounding setting goals. What is goal setting? How do you write a personal goal?
First, goal setting is a process that allows you to create a vision for your future and how you want to live. It’s how you turn that vision into reality. To me, setting goals is like responding ‘yes’ to an invitation for the life you want.
Create a Vision for Your Life
What do you want for yourself in this stage of life? Grab a pen and paper or open your favorite note taking app. Let yourself dream big without censoring or editing. Be sure to record your answers.
Here are few questions and observations you can make as you set the vision for your life.
- What does your ideal life look like? Close your eyes and put yourself in that scene.
- What are you doing in that image? When you picture your ideal life, how are you spending your time? Are you enjoying a hobby? Cooking at home more? Exercising regularly?
- How does picturing yourself living that life make you feel? Write down any feelings you notice. Even the negative ones.
- Who are you with when you imagine your ideal life?
When I imagine my ideal life, this is what I picture.
- 7:00 a.m. Wake up and check in with myself, see how I’m feeling
- 7:30 a.m. Practice my morning skincare routine
- 7:45 a.m. Take the dog on a brisk walk, enjoy the outdoors
- 8:30 Eat breakfast
- 9:00 a.m. Get fully dressed
- 9:45 a.m. Make the bed
- 10:00 a.m. Open my computer to work
- 10 a.m. ’til 2 p.m. Work with a snack break built in
- 2:00 p.m. Stretch or practice yoga
- 3:00 p.m. relax until dinner time
- 6:00 Eat dinner together at the table
- 7:00 Spend time with family
- 9:00 Take a leisurely bath
- 9:30 Practice evening skin care
- 9:45 Read a book
- 10:00 Go to sleep
That is the picture of health, of wholeness, in my mind.
Determine the Objectives of Your Goals
Sometimes that vision we have of our dream life is actually pointing to a deeper need.
One way to figure out what those needs are is to ask yourself what your vision represents. Or you can ask what you feel like you’re missing out on. Every time I ask myself those questions, I come up with:
- Connection – I crave community. I need to feel connected, bonded to others. That’s not easy when I think I might be one of very few people who are awake in the middle of the night, or who is sleeping when the rest of the world is awake.
- Contentment – My ideal daily routine represents health, wellness, rhythm, and enjoyment. It signifies fulfillment and satisfaction. When I’m able to carry out that routine, it will mean I gave myself room to become and find contentment with myself and my life. In other words, I’m no longer anxious and striving. I can say it is well with my soul.
- Consistency – There’s security in consistency. I like the idea of all the areas of my life flowing together and complementing each other. That rhythm feels authentic and natural, as if that is how life was created to be.
These are the why behind my goals, the objectives. When we identify the need or why behind the goal, it helps us set goals as moms knowing we are not being selfish.
I encourage you to write down the needs that rise up as you answer those questions. Read them. And know that your needs are not wrong. They are God-given sign posts pointing you down the road He called you to travel. These needs are your soul’s way of saying “I’m ready, willing and able to live a life of ease.”
Identify Obstacles to Accomplishing Your Personal Goals
- Once you have the vision for how you want to live your life, compare it to your reality and identify the obstacles. These obstacles are any beliefs or behaviors that stand between you and your goals. Write it all down.
After seeing this list, it may be tempting to give up. Especially since there’s there’s nothing you can do about being a busy mom. It’s okay to grieve the loss of a dream. But, we’re going to use that disappointment to get us closer to our goals.
Use Emotions As Guideposts to Accomplishing Your Goals
When I’m not living up to my goals, there’s a battle between grace and guilt waging war in my mind. Chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about. The struggle with mom guilt is absolutely real. It’s like we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I’ll pick up on that thought in a moment. For now, let’s take a closer look at that guilt.
Guilt says you’re not taking care of yourself and you’re letting yourself down.
Grace says you need rest.
Guilt shakes a finger at you, trying to shame you for the bad habits that are keeping you from accomplishing your goals.
But Grace gets the final word.
“And the moon said to me – My darling, you do not have to be whole to shine.”
Something about those words remind me of all the ways I am indeed showing up, and even shining, despite my biggest obstacles. And I know you are, too.
- Take a little time to think about all the ways you’re showing up.
- Write them down as remembrance stones and refer to them when you need encouragement. Because all these little ways are progress. And progress counts. In fact, it’s the only way to get where you’re going.
Now, back to the idea of being damned if we do and damned if we don’t. One one of those is true. Eventually, as you and your family start to reap the rewards of a happy, healthy mom, guilt will surrender.
Sometimes that nagging voice rises up again. In my case, I recognize her. She’s my inner taskmaster. She is all about work, getting stuff done, and driving me the ground. My guess is you know her as well as I do.
As a couple of mental health professionals have advised me, talk to her. Thank her for her service and tell her you can take it from here.
At some point, it’s really good to stop trying to do everything out on your own and seek accountability. You can find a counselor, talk to your spouse or a trusted friend, pray, or even journal. In my case, I turned to my husband who happens to be a counselor.
When I talked to my husband about my biggest obstacle to achieving my goals (staying up all hours of the night), he asked me if enjoy my time alone.
“I love it.” I had to admit.
I went on to confess how discouraged I am that when I do finally go to bed, I need twelve to sixteen hours of sleep. Then, I asked him, from a counselor’s perspective, if he had any insight.
“Yes. Don’t try to change anything right now. Just take the next step with your doctor and go from there.”
Then he said something that completely shifted my perspective.
Practice Self Compassion
He asked me if I would tell someone else who was dealing with inflammation and who stole the alone time she desperately needed whenever she could that she was a loser.
“No. I’d tell them the same thing, to just take it one step at a time with their doctor and let everything work itself out.”
In other words, we need to practice self compassion.
Another powerful exercise is to picture yourself as a child. What would you say to her?
How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
Now that we’ve sufficiently dealt with any obstacles we may face, it’s time to actually write down our goals.
Types of Mom Goals
It’s tempting to create goals based on what you think your goals should be. Instead of looking around at what others are doing or what media is trying to sell you, determine your goals by looking within. A lot of times, moms set goals based on what will serve them the most in this season of life.
Examples of Personal Goals for Moms:
- Relationship goals such as spending more quality time as a family, improving in or investing time in your marriage and spending more time with friends.
- Health & Fitness goals like being more physically active, drinking more water and eating healthy.
- Financial Goals which usually mean increasing income, reducing debt or building a savings.
- Personal Goals such as learning a new skill, pursuing a hobby, and carving out time for self care.
These types of goals will greatly benefit you not only as as mother, but as a wife and ultimately as an individual.
Strategies for Goal Setting
We accomplish our goals one step at a time. And that happens by setting realistic goals. What are realistic goals? I define them as a small step based on your time and ability at the moment.
Common advice is to make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. This is also known SMART goals.
Example of SMART Goals
Let’s use the example of my poor sleep habits being an obstacle to achieving my goals.
I stay up all hours of the night most of the time. When I wake up, I’m not rested, and I don’t have enough energy for the kind of day I want to live. So, my goals aren’t going to start with get up at 7:00 a.m. If I did that, I might last a week. Instead, my goal needs to address my behavior and help me build up to starting my morning at seven.
- Smart – I can make a specific by goal by setting a specific bed time.
- Measurable – I’m able to measure the success of this by putting a check next to each day I go to bed on time.
- Achievable – The time I choose needs to be achievable. I cannot make myself suddenly go from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Realistic – Midnight is realistic for me since it doesn’t require a sudden shift in my behavior.
- Time Bound – If I keep a midnight bedtime indefinitely, I won’t make my 10:00 p.m. goal. So, I plan to set time perimeters around this by moving my bedtime back fifteen minutes each week until I reach my goal.
Write Down Your Goals
I’ve alluded to this practice, but it bears repeating. Writing down your goals sets you up for success. This simple act helps you remember your goals and keeps you accountable to actually working toward it.
This is where a good planner comes in handy.
Best Planners for Busy Moms
I’d say using a planner is what has turned my dreams and goals into reality. It makes since considering how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Here are some I’ve used and/or recommend.
- PowerSheets® Intentional Goal Planner – The One-Year PowerSheets Goal Planner is very thought out and guides you through the goals setting process step-by-step. I highly recommend this planner for anyone who has tried goal setting but felt like didn’t work or who is new to setting goals.
- Erin Condren LifePlanner™ – Erin Condren planners have been a best seller amongst moms for years. This one is good for those new to planning and as well as those who have been at it for years. Take the Planner Quiz to find out which Erin Condren planner is right for you.
- Good Morning, Good Life: The Planner – Amy Landino created this sixteen month planner based on the premise that a solid morning routine is the start to a good life. This is the planner to help you start small and build one good habit at a time (the smart way to make lasting change.) See how it works in this tutorial.
- The Best Today™ Guide – I am so excited about this guide! Shunta ingeniously designed The Best Today™ Guide to help you move toward your vision for your life. It will help you focus and get clear on what you want one “today” at a time. Only get this guide if you’re ready for the deep, soul-level work of getting unstuck. Learn more about the guide and get a peek inside here.
- The Bullet Journal – A bullet journal is a blank notebook used to write goals, plan your months, weeks and days, brainstorm, journal and anything else your heart desires. I recommend this option if you’re self-motivated and experienced with life planning and goal setting. You can use any blank notebook to get started. I’m currently using the Moleskine lined classic notebook in hard cover and love it.
Hope for Your Future
There’s a scripture that says hope deferred makes the heart sick. I’m all too acquainted with that feeling. Of waiting only to have my heart broken by disappointment. I always feel put off, forgotten or left out.
That’s a pretty common sentiment for us moms. But, as I say in my book, we cannot wait to be invited to live the life we want. God extended the invitation when he created the heavens and earth.
When I listen to the truth, that I’m beloved, delighted over, and a part of something bigger than myself, I begin to come out from the shadows of dismay to discover hope.
For me, grabbing onto hope is an act of decluttering my soul and making room for my goals and dreams to become reality. That’s what I want for you.
So, when you feel like giving up, remember the vision. It gives you something to hope for and will inspire you to keep taking the next right step.
Somewhere along the way, you’ll start to realize the ability to enjoy life comes from the journey. And the busy days in this hectic season of motherhood will become a part of the vision rather than an obstacle to it.
For more help accomplishing your goals, read:
- Setting Goals, A Different Approach
- Make Room for Hope: The Power of Setting Intentions
- How to Stick to Your New Year’s Goals
Because we’re in this together!