I will be honest with you, I am not really a fan of resolutions. But last year for one of the first times in years I decided to set a clear goal for myself. And to my surprise not only did I met that goal, I exceeded it. Initially it started because I wanted to read more books, but instead of keeping my goal broad and leaving it at that, I got specific. My goal was to read 2 books a month which would be a total of 24 books read in 2019. And I’m proud to say that last year I finished 52 books, way more than I anticipated!
Now I am not saying that to brag or make myself look amazing, but I say that to be an encouragement. Reaching goals is possible! Sometimes, as moms, we can easily push off goal-making because it’s just too much to add to our already busy life. Or maybe the idea of setting a goal is too stressful because you fear failing to meet those goals. It’s okay (and even healthy!) to have goals as moms. I’m not saying you should set unrealistically high or unhealthy goals, because no one can do all the things and find success. But goals can be a really good thing for anyone, including moms.
Maybe you have already made yourself some goals for this year, maybe you haven’t. Either way I’d like to challenge you to set ONE new goal for yourself. But when setting a goal for yourself I think it’s important to keep a few things in mind. I will use my reading goal as an example.
1. Your Reason
Why are you setting the goal? What’s your reason?
For me I had a few reasons. One of them was I was tired of looking at all the unread or partially read books on my nightstand and bookshelves. There were so many books out there I wanted to read, but I wasn’t. I used to love reading in my years before kids, but I let myself get out of the practice of picking up a good book. I can easily spend many hours scrolling through social media or binging a Netflix series, so I knew the problem wasn’t time, but priority. If I could make better choices with my time that both decreased how many hours I wasted and increased the hours I invested in reading, then that was a good enough reason for me.
Notice my reason was about me, and not comparing myself to others. I didn’t set out to read more books than someone or try to be just like a certain person. I set a goal for my own personal growth and to help use my time better. If I were to base my reasoning on another person then the trap of comparison becomes very dangerous. Whatever goal you set should be personal and about you, not trying to out do another person.
2. Be Specific
What is your specific goal? Is it measurable?
I am just as guilty as anyone when it comes to setting non-specific goals. So often I find myself saying “I will work out more” or “I will eat less junk.” But both of those are incredibly hard to measure and aren’t specific enough to be goals. To set yourself up for success you have to be able to know exactly what your goal is.
In my reading goal I set a specific goal: 24 books in the year. I was able to look at my goal each month and measure how I was doing. Without a specific goal in mind who knows how many books I would have finished. I could have very easily called it a good because I opened a few more books than usual or spent an hour here or there reading. But in setting a specific goal I knew what I needed to accomplish and I knew if I was on track each month or falling behind.
Write down your goal, and be specific. It could be a goal for the month or the a goal for the year, but you have to set a clear way of knowing if you achieve it or not.
3. Make it Happen
How can I make the right changes to meet my goal? What do I need to do today?
Setting a good goal for the right reasons is great, but it’s only the beginning. If you don’t set out to make it happen, it’s just good intentions. Set yourself up for success by making plans. I made a list of books I wanted to read and then I acquired the books. I bought them, put them on loan at my local library, and even downloaded some apps to listen to audio books during my busy day. I knew I would need to use the right tools to meet my goal, so I found some good ones. I took the times when I was making meals and folding laundry and turned on my current audio book. Instead of scrolling social media before bed I’d turn to my nearby book to sneak in a few pages. I kept books near me so I could be reading in the little moments of free time I found throughout my day. All of those steps required changes of me. It’s not how I used to spend my time, but quickly it became a habit.
Because the making it happen part of goal setting can tend to be the hardest, sometimes it’s best to have accountability. Tell your spouse or your best friend what goal you have set, and then invite them into the process of making it happen. In a way that can be a scary part, but it also can prove to be very beneficial.
Don’t be afraid to set some goals. Grab a pen and paper and write it down! And if you are feeling extra brave, leave your latest goal in the comments here. I’d love to cheer you on!