I’m a list person. Always have been. I never leave home without a list and I typically have 3-5 lists on the go at once. I believe in lists and lists believe in me. But sometimes my lists are just plain unreasonable. When I write all of the things on one list, it is overwhelming and I get self-critical when I can’t accomplish it all. (I know, I’m my own worst enemy.) But I recently discovered the beauty of realistic goal setting vs endless list writing and it’s really working out for me! Since it’s the start of a brand new year, I figure now is the ideal time to share my strategy with you!
Everybody Likes to Talks the Talk
I’ve read countless blog posts that advise the importance of setting goals. Setting yearly goals, 90 day goals, health goals, financial goals or career goals. Whoa. That’s alot of goals.
Now I could set goals till the cows come home, but giving myself a whole year to achieve a huge task is vague and unrealistic. And wayyy too easy to procrastinate doing because hey, I have a whole year to get it done so let’s binge watch The Crown instead!
On the flip side, I’m notorious for writing a daily list of tasks that is completely unachievable in the span of 24 hours. I would need Hermione Granger’s time travelling gizmo to manage it all.
So I need a strategy that falls somewhere between the two extremes.
I understand where the ‘talkers’ are coming from, that setting goals is the key to helping you achieve. But if your goal setting is not contained within a manageable system, it won’t work any better than the never-ending list. You’ll just end up overwhelmed and discouraged. Take it from me, I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to being overwhelmed. *sigh*
Realistic Goal Setting
I have big dreams and I need a way to manage all the tasks that go along with realizing my dreams, both personal and business related. So I started to experiment with a new-to-me system.
I’ve started by setting measurable monthly goals, and limiting that list to only 7 items or less.
Less is better but I’ve found 7 goals is an achievable number if I really can’t bring myself to save something for the next month. But definitely no more than 7 or you risk drowning in overwhelm.
A month is the perfect length of time because it is short enough to force you to get started and not let procrastination set in. But a month is long enough to actually have the time to work on larger goals. There are several weekends to count on and you won’t panic if you have one or two dud days.
So on one list I write out the goals for the month. (I designed a super cute printable so you can do the same! Grab it at the end of the post.) Then on another list, or more likely in my planner, I write out the daily bite-sized tasks that will bring me closer to reaching my goal.
The key to making this system work is to assign a measurable number to the goal.
Instead of saying “de-clutter the main floor” I’ll choose something like “clear out 15 items from the living room”. It is a clear instruction, with no room for ambiguity. A daily task toward achieving this goal might be “sort through the toy box” or “organize the bookcase.” And at the end of the month you can easily see if you met your goal or not.
Goal Setting for Busy Moms
Now here’s the really important bit:
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t also write out next month’s goals. Your brain won’t thank you for it. Concentrate on ONE month at a time.
Then, the first of the next month you can evaluate what worked and what didn’t, what was accomplished and what still needs attention. Only then can you write a realistic list for the new month.
I know the mom-brain is programmed to always be thinking and planning ahead. Try to resist the temptation. You’ll be much more productive if you’re only focusing on one list of goals at a time.
Moms are busy, that’s a fact. We have a bajillion things to do just to make our day-to-day run smoothly. But we’ve got big dreams and goals too. Things we want to accomplish in our homes, relationships and careers.
Having a family doesn’t mean you stop working towards those other goals, it just slows you down a bit. And that’s totally fine. I’ve learned to be ok with the slowness of the process, as long as I’m still moving forward then the speed doesn’t matter. We will crush our goals one tiny task at a time!
I’d love to know, what are you working towards this month? Tell me in the comments!
And don’t forget to snag this adorable goal setting printable!