Do you remember that big banner in your high school with the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Remember that one? I know it was there in every high school, so I’m sure you saw it. No? You don’t remember it? Well, it was there and I saw it. So if you missed it, here’s your chance to learn all about planning. I learned that I am most productive when setting goals and having steps to achieve them. I fill out a planner and check or cross off the things I need to do. I was always so excited to get my new planner each year in high school and plan things out for the month. In a number of classes the teachers made us set goals and I knew what mine were the minute I walked into the classroom. I worked hard and achieved them! Are you sick of me right now? Don’t leave! If you want to learn to set goals and achieve, them stay with me to the end of this post.
Not everyone likes to set goals, I know. Do you really need goals? Yes. Yes, you do. As a wife, mother, nurse, etc. I have learned that goals are vital to caring for yourself and others. But what if you just like to kinda go with the flow and see what happens in life? There’s room for that. And even if you think you don’t have a routine or a pattern and you are a free spirit floating on the breeze without a care, please, take a minute and look at your patterns. Do you put your make up on in a different order when you put it on, or do you have a set routine? Do you eat at regular times or have coffee every day? Or are there consistent patterns at your job that help accomplish each task? Look to see if you have a pattern and you can use that way of thinking to accomplish your goals and still be the free spirit you want to be. The other thing you’ll need for this is support. Find someone you can commiserate with whether it’s a real person or an online community. You will need support and accountability.
Don’t believe me? My husband is a free spirit. He scoffed at my attempts to write a fantastically detailed schedule and menu on these cute little chalkboards I hung on the wall. I thought it was the best thing ever; he saw it as a mountain of stuff to do with the FAIL written all over it. So he wasn’t about to do it because it was way too frustrating. I, however, was gung-ho and was so glad to see every 30-minute slot filled and know that I was ready to check it all off. But remember that support I mentioned? The more he backed off from doing or helping stick to the schedule, the more frustrated both he and I got and we eventually quit doing it. I actually took it all down and left it sit on my night stand, blank and sad. See, even I fail at goals. But what went wrong?
I had to approach it from a free spirit point of view, not a type-A-check-all-the-boxes-and-get-it-all-done perspective. Within the last 15 months or so, my type-A and his free-spirit approach to managing our family has butted heads like never before. Throw in lack of sleep and parenting and it just made it worse. So, after feeling like there was no way we could understand how to get the other to see that our way was right, we decided to go to counseling. It is here in counseling that we learned, yes, my structured time approach was actually important to meet the needs of my husband, myself and our kids, but I needed to do it in a way that allowed him freedom. So I redid our schedule on the blank chalkboards and hung it up. This time with “free time” built in. This allowed him the peace of mind to know if he didn’t get to something earlier or if he needed to work on something, he had the time. Doing our ‘schedule’ this way, completely changed how he approached our daily needs as well. He has been able to accomplish so much in the last few months through this approach! It has been great for our marriage and our kids.
So. I tell you this story to help you know that whether or not you like to set goals, you need to figure out a way that works for you.
I have tried a few different things to help me accomplish my goals during the day. For example, I tried to set up a 20-minute task structure where I broke up all the “extra” things I needed to do into 20-minute slots during the day. This worked for me for about 2 days and then was overwhelming. I couldn’t complete things in just 2o-minutes especially with a toddler and newborn.
I settled on using the SMART goal system for 2016 (this link has a few worksheets that might be helpful…yes they are very reminiscent of middle school…sorry). This is how I structured my goals for 2016 and I’m working on the ones for 2017.
- 2016 – Making the year ours
- 2016 Goals update: January
- 2016 Goals Update: February
- 2016 Goals update: March
- 2016 Goals Update: April
- 2016 Goals Update: May & June
- 2016 Goals Update: July
- 2016 Goals: August, September, October
- 2016 Goals Update: November
For other ideas on how to set goals check out these helpful bloggers. They inspired me to set better, more achievable goals.
And just in case that inner critic is STILL telling you that you CAN’T make goals and achieve them, check out this post to boost your self confidence.
If planning a year in advance is just too overwhelming for you, try making a 90-day goal. By accomplishing one thing, you may be more inspired to set another goal for 90-days. Since I haven’t tried this tactic yet, here are a few resources that may be helpful if you want to try this or this.
If you have questions about goal setting, feel free to contact me.
What do you want to accomplish this year?