How many goals did you set prior to Jan. 1 of this year? And how many of them have you accomplished? How many are you still working on? How many of them do you actually remember? Um...yeah, me too.
While our society is very goal-oriented, it can be difficult to make good goals that you'll be able to work towards and achieve. Setting and working towards goals, though, gives a focus to your work—whether work as a mom, home-manager, nurse, or any other occupation. And reaching a goal gives a feeling of satisfaction and confidence.
Use these simple goal-setting guidelines and steps to improve yourself and/or evaluate your work as a mom as a business owner, or to assess how you’re doing as a home manager (which all moms are, whether or not they have a paying, out-of-home job).
To be Effective, Goals Must Be…
- Measurable. You must be able to measure your goal so you can tell whether you’ve met it or not.
o It’s impossible to measure goals like, “I will exercise more” or “This year I’m going to save money.”
o You can, however, measure these goals: “I will walk for 30 minutes a day, three or four times a week” or “I will save $100 every month.”
o Goals don’t have to contain numbers to be measurable, as long as you yourself can measure them. For example, one of my goals is, “My home will be clean enough that I will be comfortable if a guest drops by unexpectedly.” Feeling “comfortable” is different for everyone, but I can measure my own personal level of “comfortable.”
- Attainable/realistic. Good goals make you stretch a little to meet them but are not set so high that they’re unreachable. For example, “I will lose 25 lbs. for swimsuit season, in two months,” is not attainable! A more realistic goal might be, “I will lose 1 lb. a week for the next two months.”
- Meaningful. If you don’t care about having an immaculate lawn and huge garden, you’ll have a hard time working toward that goal. If you hate doing crunches, don’t make them part of your exercise routine!
How to Set Goals
- Write them down and share them with someone. Writing down goals makes them real and commits you to working on them and sharing them with someone else makes you accountable. You’ll be much more likely to stick to your exercise routine when you know a friend is going to ask you if you’ve done it!
- Document results. Keep track of your progress by putting a star on your calendar when you exercise or keep a journal of the money you’ve saved. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment at working toward and meeting your goals, and having visible proof will provide evidence of what you’re doing.
- Make intermediate goals. If you have a big goal, or a long-term one, you’ll need intermediate goals. For example, if your goal is “Clean my whole house, basement to attic, including all of the drawers and closets, by this time next year,” you’ll be overwhelmed without smaller goals. Your intermediate goals might include, “This month I’ll clean my bedroom. Next month I’ll clean all of the storage room in the basement.”
- Evaluate your goals. Evaluate each goal a month or so after you make it. If you’ve met the goal, congratulations! It’s time to make a new goal.
o If you haven’t met it, however, re-evaluate your goal. Did you not meet it because it was unrealistic? If so, re-write it. Was it not met because of unanticipated circumstances, like a car repair bill or illness? Try it for another month. Is the goal still important to you? If not, drop it or change it to a goal that does matter to you.
o It’s OK to revise, change, or even drop your goals. They’re not set in stone, they’re a stepping stone to what and where and who you want to be.
- Give yourself rewards! This is the FUN part of making goals. Along with the satisfaction of meeting your goals, rewards will motivate you! Just don’t reward a week of regular exercising with a hot fudge sundae! Base rewards on what motivates you. Maybe you’ll reward your regular exercise with a new workout shirt, or getting your closet cleaned by soaking in a bubble bath while reading a new novel.
Don’t be intimidated by all of these guidelines and steps to making your goals! The process is vital and really very simple to follow. You’ll feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you work toward and meet your goals!
I’m also blogging at www.nebraskafamilytimes.blogspot.com, my other blog. Check out today’s post, titled “Gravel Roads.”