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Earlier this week, I talked about my word for the year. In case you missed it, I picked the word simplify for 2018. You can read more about that here. Today, I’m excited to continue the conversation and let you in on the process I use for making goals throughout the year as well as some of the tools that I’ve found to be really helpful along the way.
I am a list person – and by list, I mean old-fashioned pen and paper lists. I write things down in my planner that stays on the desk and on the family calendar that hangs in our kitchen. There are lists for groceries and meals, for family to-do lists and personal things to remember. You get my point.
Being a mom makes having a these lists even more important. They help me know what I need to get done in a given day and keep my mind focused on longer term goals that I need to be chipping away at. Getting them out of my brain and onto paper clears my mental space to actually focus on them and get them done (Simplify, remember?)
So then, let’s get started.
Setting Goals That Work – The Foundation
First things first. Every home needs a solid foundation, right? Goals are the same way. Before we get into the HOW of setting goals, I think it’s helpful to lay a little bit of ground-work. These are basic principles that guide my goal-setting.
Goals are not the same as to-do lists.
This is easy to miss, but it’s important. Goals are not the same as to-do lists. Goals are things that I want to accomplish over some set period of time. To-do lists are the daily or weekly action steps that I need to do in order to meet the goal – the everyday, often mundane tasks that yield fruit over time.
Understanding this was pivotal for me. To actually think through all of the action steps to reaching a goal.
Goals are different from to-do lists. To-do lists are the everyday, often mundane tasks that faithfully completed, yield results over time. #goals #productivity #momlife #momblogger
So then, the planning process looks like this:
Goal: Create a predictable, routine home cleaning system
- Identify all the chores that need to be done and how frequently they should be completed.
- Determine how much time each takes.
- Identify areas to increase efficiency or multi-task.
- Based on that information, write down a draft schedule.
- Test it out and adjust as needed.
Make sense? Your goals will be accomplished when the to-do list is well thought out and faithfully completed over time.
Goals Should be Aligned to Your Priorities.
Our priorities and values should be the driving force behind our goals. As much as I don’t always love to admit it, we will find ways to do the things that are important to us. Maybe we won’t find the time immediately, but eventually, if something is important enough to us, we’ll do it. Our priorities might include things like our current roles and responsibilities in any given season of life. They are what we are currently giving weight to. What is important to you right now in this season?
When I think about my priorities in this season, I think of them in four different categories – in relation to my faith, my family, my community, and my work. Of course many of these things overlap in practice and that’s okay. But they each require different things to stay in balance with the others.
So then, priorities and responsibilities (my titles, if you will) in this season of life include:
- Wife & Mother/Homemaker
When I keep these priorities in check, I can create goals and manage my time in a way that gives appropriate weight to each one.
It Matters How You Choose to Spend Your Time.
This is a sneaky one because it sounds so simple and it so easy to forget. Time, like money, is a valuable resource that needs to be stewarded well. You really do have to understand that EVERY single time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. This is important when it comes to accomplishing your goals.
Each work day, I have 1.5 – 2 hours to myself while Little takes a nap. That means that I have to plan each day such that I can maximize that time to get done the things that I can’t as easily do with a toddler. Often, this is the time that I use to work on the blog or clean the house. Whatever the task is, it can be easy to let that time slip by if I am not intentional and proactive. By being proactive and disciplined with this time, I am able to be more present with Little and Hubs when I am with them.
Embrace The Season You’re In.
Finally, it’s important to understand that life happens in seasons. Some seasons are more constant, while other seasons are full of transition. Your goals and capacity to manage things will look different depending on the season you are in. That’s alright. Recognize the season you are in and make your lists accordingly. There is joy in each season – even the sleepless ones (hello newborn phase…preaching to myself over here) and it’s good to embrace that. Don’t begrudge your current season because you’re busy looking to the next one. You might miss something really good.
Setting Goals that Work – The Process
Now that we’ve laid a solid foundation, let’s dive into the HOW I set goals each year. I’ve broken this down into 6 simple steps.
Get the Right Tools
I’m pretty simple when it comes to the tools that I actually use for goal setting. The number one thing that is a MUST for me is a great planner. For 2018, I’m using Plum Planner for my primary planner. You can find Plum Paper online and on Etsy. One thing I really like about this planner is that you can customize it to begin any month you wish, include as many months as you need, and there are great add-on sections for almost anything you can think of (meal planning, budget, blogging, etc.) I use a calendar year planner with a blogging planner add-on to keep my personal and blogging things in the same book. *For 10% off your planner, be sure to send me a note and I can send a referral email directly to you!
I also sometimes use a simple journal for brainstorming and pens and pencils. You might choose to use stickers, colored pens, online apps, etc. Whatever you like, use that.
Reflect on the Previous Year
Next, take some time to think about what you accomplished and didn’t in the previous year. Ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. Take some time to identify things you want to do differently this year. Determine which things need to be moved to the new year and which ones can be taken off the list. Just don’t let the previous year go to waste. There’s always something to learn.
Now is the time to get started on this year. Brainstorm all the things that you’d like to accomplish. These are personal goals, things for your family, vacations you might like to take, financial goals you’d like to reach, home projects that need to be done, a certain health goal. Whatever it is, write it down. Don’t hold anything back in this part. The brainstorm session is like making a wish list. If you could accomplish every single thing you wanted in a year, what would it be? Put it on the list.
Prioritize & Set Time Frames
Once you’ve got your wish list, compare those with your priorities from above. How closely aligned are each of them to your priorities. Are there things that are misaligned? Which things are most important? How long will it take to accomplish these? Organize your list based on your priorities and then set time frames that are reasonable for each goal.
Be realistic here. It’s possible that some things will need to come off of the list. Some things might come off altogether and others might just need to be postponed. That’s alright.
This next step has to do with accountability. Once you’ve made your list (and written it down where you’ll see it and not forget it), get some feedback. Find a person you trust, whether that’s a spouse, a close friend, another family member to give you some feedback and hold you accountable. For me, that person is Hubs. He supports me and I know he always has my back. He also knows me well and can help me see areas where I might need to adjust things. He’ll also hold me accountable throughout the year to help keep me on track so that I can accomplish the goals.
(We also work together to make goals for our family and marriage that we work on together, so we each hold one another accountable.)
Sharing your goals with others will increase the likelihood that you’ll actually accomplish them. (And you’ll have a cheerleader along the way with whom you can celebrate all the small victories.)
Get to Work
Lastly, it’s time to get to work. You’ve laid a solid foundation. You know what your priorities are. You know what you’d like to accomplish. You’ve prioritized them and set deadlines for yourself. Your to-do list is full of small actionable steps to get you on your way. You’ve shared them with others and you have people to hold you accountable.
Now, you just have to get it done. And you will. Each day that you faithfully do the mundane, you’re one step closer.
Let’s make this year the best year yet.
I’d love to know how you set your goals for the year. Do you make a list of resolutions? What tools are particularly helpful for you?