The reason to set goals is not so that you can be happier when you achieve them. I’m sure you’ve noticed this in your own life, but attaining a goal doesn’t actually “make” you happier in the long term. We can see this when looking at past goals that we’ve attained in own lives, such as getting a degree, getting a job, getting married, and having kids. We’re glad that we attained those goals, but we’re not usually floating around on a cloud of bliss forever after.
The real reason to set goals is that they help you grow. They stretch us to become the next best version of ourselves. And if you do goals right, hopefully you’ll have a ton of fun, enjoy the process, and be amazed at who you become along the way.
Moms Need Goals Too
After having kids, a lot of women often stop thinking about their own goals. Holding down a job and keeping a family going may feel challenging enough. You might be doing well just to plan dinner for tomorrow night. Goal setting for the next year, five years, or 10 years seems too distant and removed from the daily grind.
But while goal setting isn’t urgent, it certainly is important. It’s almost impossible to get somewhere or do something without first setting an intention to do so.
Having goals that are only about you—not your kids or family—is also important. Sure, you will have goals for the family as well, such as travel goals or things you’d all like to experience. But thinking about your own goals is key. You want to know that at the end of your life, you’ll be able to look back and know that you did what you came here to do.
Make Your List
Many moms that I work with haven’t really considered their own dreams for quite some time and some have all but forgotten how to dream. I ask them to write down 20 things that they want and just practice what it feels like to dream again. Their minds will want to shut down by focusing on the “how” with thoughts like “I don’t know how to do that.” Those kind of thoughts are not allowed at this stage in the process. Just keep practicing dreaming of possibilities, even if they feel impossible today.
What is on your list? What do you want that you didn’t even know you wanted?
There is actually freedom in constraining to one goal at a time. Your mind will focus so much better on a single goal than it will on multiple goals and it’s hard to make any real progress if you’re juggling projects.
So look at your list and pick the one goal that you’d like to commit to working toward.
Write it down again, but this time be as specific as possible. Create a deadline for achieving this goal.
Warning: Expect Negative Feelings to Arise
When you’ve picked a good goal—a goal that will cause you to grow and achieve something you really want—and you’ve written it down in a way that is specific, your brain will proceed to freak out. Expect it. This is your primitive brain realizing that you’re planning to do something that could take you out of your comfort zone. It’s going to tell you all kinds of reasons why you can’t achieve the goal. And those thoughts will, in turn, produce feelings of doubt, fear, and confusion. This is all part of the process. When you expect it, you can recognize it for what it is and keep going.
Break It Down
Next, write down all of the action steps that you need to take to achieve that goal. From start to finish, what would it take to complete it? Do not tell yourself that you don’t know. You may need to gather more information. If that’s the case, add that in as one of the action steps.
Then write down all of the obstacles that your brain can think of that might prevent you from achieving your goal. The obstacles may be external, such your current work schedule, or internal, such as your own doubts about your ability to accomplish the goal. Think about strategies for overcoming those obstacles and write them down. Then add the strategies into your plan of action.
Then for each step and strategy, decide your timeframe and date of completion. Put each step on your calendar. Make them non-negotiable, as if they were lunch dates with your favorite writer or actor, which you would never postpone. Then honor your calendar. Commit to doing the work and you’ll be on your way.
If you need help with getting past your own internal obstacles, contact me to schedule a free mini session. That’s my jam!
Go forth and bloom.