In this post I’m going to tell you how to make goals and make progress every week, even as a busy mother!
What Not To Do
On January 2, 1995, I wrote in my journal a list of twenty-one New Year’s resolutions. I remember feeling in my almost 13-year-old heart a sincere and hopeful optimism in becoming who I really thought I should be. In that moment, I truly believed I – could – do – it.
Obviously, as a child, I fully believed in the magic of New Year resolutions. Or at least, I thought there was magic in it. I know now that not only are resolutions not an easy way to improve oneself, they are not the way to go at all. I do however, believe in the power of goals, if planned and implemented right. I want to share a strategy I’ve come up with that is a realistic, happy middle for mothers when it comes to goals.
Four Reasons Why Mothers Need Goals
As mothers, it can often feel like either we shouldn’t have goals or it’s unrealistic to because of all the day-to-day responsibilities we have so why even bother? If life throws us curves, our children change in unexpected ways, and possibly our wants and desires change as well, what is the point? I’ve got four reasons for you:
- It’s important to be intentional. Some things we can’t control, but others we can. We can either float along wherever or do our best to direct our lives toward our ultimate goal of seeking the kingdom and building a Christ-centered home.
- Our job as a mother is important. Just because the mothering part of our lives isn’t a paid position, it is valuable. Making goals allows us to focus on our relationships and responsibilities at home.
- Mothers are people too. I think it’s important as mothers to not let ourselves get lost in motherhood. We need to have something in our lives for us, as a person. If we don’t plan for that, it could get lost in the shuffle. Then we can get resentful and burnt out.
- Goals allow for growth. If we don’t focus our efforts toward what is really important, it’s easy to allow whatever free time we have to be occupied by entertainment or busy work only. There’s definitely a place for those in life, but sometimes it can just fill in the gaps and we find ourselves not improving ourselves spiritually, emotionally, or spiritually.
How to Make Goals as Mother
The basic framework for this process is inspired by Michael Hyatt and his strategies, but it is adapted and the details are my own, middle of the night, inspirations.
Plan Your Year in Intervals
You want to look at the year in intervals or seasons. This is how I like to break up my year:
- Winter – January – mid-March
- Spring – mid-March – end of school year
- Summer – end of school year to beginning of school year
- Fall – beginning of school year to mid-November
- Advent – mid-November – New Years
Yes, these are not all the same length in weeks. Some will be eight or more, some only four or six. However, each interval has it’s own theme which will have it’s own schedule, interests, and availability. For example, fall is not a good time for me to pursue a personal goal that will require a lot of time because I will be busy getting the school year going and running smoothly. If you don’t homeschool, that may be the perfect time for a big time commitment, where as summer is a better time for me. Think about the rhythm of your year and make your own intervals, or feel free to use mine!
The Goal Funnel
Before you actually plan goals, you need to understand the goal funnel. Here is a visual for you:
At the top, you have your yearly goals. A step down, you have your quarterly goals. Another step down you have your weekly goals. At the bottom you have your daily goals. The amount of work each goal is should reflect its position in the funnel. A year goal will require many steps, or even a variety of projects. Each interval may have one or two goals. Each week you can break the goal down to a task or two, and most days you can work on making progress on those tasks.
How to Make Realistic Goals
Because life, especially as a mother, can be unpredictable, we can’t just plan out our whole year. So at the beginning of the year, you should make some overarching goals you have for the year (more on this next!). When an interval is beginning, you then create some more specific goals that will help you make progress in one of uour yearly goals. At the beginning of each week, you create goals that will work toward accomplishing an interval goal. You can either plan a goal for each day at the beginning of the week or make a goal each day.
A yearly goal needs to be broad enough that the specifics are flexible to accommodate your situation throughout the year. However, it needs to be specific enough to give you a vision and focus.
To help you in this, I’ve come up with a guide using the word BIG.
B for “basic.” This is where a goal for the management of the home, working on parenting skills, or a financial goal would go. Something falls under your “basic” responsibilities as a mother.
I for “interest.” This is a goal for you to explore something you’re interested in. A hobby, a skill, a job, or other outside pursuit.
G for “growth.” This is where spiritual, emotional, or intellectual goals will go.
To give you some examples, I am going to share my goals from 2020.
My “basic” goal was to continue to work on minimizing our belongs, and deep clean the house, my “interest” goal was to grow All These Things, and my “growth” goal was to focus on mothering deeply.
Making Yearly Goals
First, take some time to pray and ask God what He would have you focus on this year. Think about what areas in your life are on your heart? What do you want to focus on and make progress in this coming year? Do a brainstorm and see what things can be grouped together. What main themes stand out? Once you have these figured out, it’s time to formulate the goals. There are some key elements you need to include.
Since our yearly goals are going to be broad, the elements are less specific. We want it to have a theme and an end vision. You want to avoid being very specific about timing or methods. Those are things you’ll determine for your interval goals, when you have a better idea of what life will look like for that time frame.
Making Interval Goals
It’s important to take time every interval to review our yearly goals and determine what steps we can take at that time to make progress toward that vision. When you do this, evaluate the yearly goals and determine if they are still important.
Taking your current interval into consideration, decide what you’d like to do in order to move toward your yearly goals. Make goals that are more specific and involve about the same amount (or less) steps as there are weeks in your interval. Make sure they give you a clear direction of what you need to do.
For example, to make progress in my growth goal of mothering deeply, I planned to take my three older children on one individual date during the winter interval. I knew exactly what I needed to do and I had just the right amount of time to accomplish it.
Making Weekly and Daily Goals
From there, we must break it down into actionable tasks we can focus on each week and most days. Really, one goal a week is plenty for busy mothers. Break the goal down into three to four manageable pieces that you can assign to three to four days of the week.
Make Goals and Keep Them
Goals are important for mothers because they help us be intentional with our lives, make progress on our basic responsibilities, allow us to pursue an outside interest, and steer us toward growth.
First, write three broad, themed goals each year using the acronym BIG: basic, interest, and growth. Secondly, each interval make three goals from each yearly goal. Thirdly, make one goal from the interval goals each week, and most days, plan one step to take toward accomplishing the weekly goal.
I hope this inspires and encourages you to make goals a priority in your life! Follow through with planning goals each interval, week, and day and you’ll make progress on the big goals you have for your life and your family!