How to Reach a Goal

If you’re anything like me you may have some goals or dreams that you had to push to the back burner because you have kids.   As parents to busy kids, it may seem that we don’t have time to even think about setting and especially don’t have time to worry about how to reach a goal that we’ve set.  Our biggest “goals” for the day may be showering before noon or making sure the kids have matching, clean clothes.  It’s the first week of February and sadly statistics show that 92% of New Years resolutions have probably already failed.  That’s sad!

So as a busy parent, how can we set and actually reach real goals?  Do you even remember what your goals/dreams were before you had kids?

How to Reach a goal: 10 tips for busy parents

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to teach a class to the ladies at church on setting and reaching goals.  I was a little surprised when they asked be, because, well my life is complete chaos most of the time but there are a few things I’ve learned over the years that can make reaching goals a bit easier and setting goals has always been important to me.

10 Tips to Help You Reach a Goal

1-Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

Ask yourself, is my goal:

Specific- Who, What, When, Where, Why and how. Who is involved, What do I want to accomplish, When do I want to achieve this by, Where will it happy, Why am I doing this and How (what specific steps) will I get there.

Measurable-Is there a way to measure your progress?  If you don’t have a finish line, how hard will you run the race?

Achievable-Is your goal challenging but not impossibly difficult to achieve? If it is impossible to get out of debt in the next month, don’t make that your goal.

Realistic – If you goal is physically achievable are you both willing and able to work towards this goal?  For example, I could never make a goal to cut out all sugar (Yep, tried and made it until about noon the next day) so that is not realistic to me but it may be achievable and realistic to someone else.

Time-based-What is your deadline?  You must have a time-frame for reaching your goal.

2-Write your goals down where you can be reminded daily.

Remember a goal not written down is just a dream.  So if you need to place sticky notes all over your house to remind you, then do it!  With all of the millions of things our kids have us doing, it’s really easy to forget what our goals for each day are.

3-Write your goals as if you are already reaching them.

Instead of saying I want to lose 20 lbs,  say something like, “I am losing 20 lbs by walking 2 miles a day, reducing the sugar in my diet, etc (be specific) to improve my overall health.”  When you write it as though you are already achieving it, you have a much higher chance of reaching your goal.

4-Share your goals with an accountability buddy.

Find someone who has a similar goal and a similar life (kids, homework, housework, laundry, dinner, taxi, etc)  and work together to support each other.   Goals become more real when you share them with others. We’ve all probably experienced what it is like to start something that we think is really great  only to have someone either flat out criticize us or just act completely indifferent to us.  Often those who you think will be your greatest supporters really just don’t care or just don’t understand.  Surround yourself with positive influences and don’t pay attention to the Negative Nellies in your life.  If they aren’t supportive of your goals then you don’t need them anyways.  Find someone who will lift you up, not drag you down.

5-Don’t give up on yourself and your goals so easily.

I totally understand that life happens and there are times where we will fall off the wagon.  Expect to fail.  Yep, you read that right.  Expect that at sometime during your journey of reaching your goal, you will fail.  Plan for it so when it happens you are ready.  Life with children is unpredictable so don’t be hard on yourself if you have to step away from your goals for a while to deal with family issues.  Just don’t let those days give you an excuse to quit.  If you expect the road to your goals to be completely straight, smooth and uneventful then you are setting yourself up for failure.  Learn from the bad days and move on.

6-Don’t compare yourself to others!

AAHHH!  This one is huge!  We all do it and we all need to stop.  Too often we look around at what others are doing and we compare our weaknesses to someone else’s strengths and then we get down on ourselves.  We always look at others who seem to have it all together and forget that they may be thinking the same thing about us, or behind closed doors they may be on the brink of insanity from trying to maintain a perfect image.  Think of it this way,  we’re all on a different train.  You might have similar goals or a similar destination as the person on the train next to you but their train may take them through sunny pastures and meadows of flowers and butterflies, while your train takes you through steep mountain grades, howling winds and broken tracks.  Just because it may seem that someone else is accomplishing more than we are and at a faster speed, doesn’t mean we won’t make it.  Just don’t get upset and jump off the train, regardless of how slow it may be going.

7-Dream BIG!

It’s never too late to reach your goals.  If there is something you have always wanted to do, then do it!  What is holding you back? Each of us has something big inside of us and a lot of the time we keep our potential bottled up because of fear.  I’ve shared my favorite quote before, “Our Deepest Fear“, by Marianne Williamson.  You can read the entire quote on my post Monday Motivation:Our Deepest Fear,  but the first line states that, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” (Make sure you read the entire quote.  It really is my favorite!) Dream big and don’t be afraid of failure…or success. 😉

8-Reward yourself for small accomplishments

Break your goal down into smaller steps and when you reach those steps, reward yourself.  It maybe a new outfit, a spa date, new shoes, someone to clean your house for the week, etc.  Find something that you really love and reward yourself with it.  Trying to reach one huge goal can seem overwhelming so break it down and reward yourself more frequently for the smaller accomplishments you are making.

9-Enjoy the journey!

How often do we wait until we’ve actually reached a goal to allow ourselves to be happy.  I know I’m guilty of saying, “When I (fill in the blank) then I’ll be happy.  When I lose 10 pounds, When I get the house organized, When I get out of debt, etc.  You get the idea.  Don’t wait until you have checked A, B and C off your list before being happy.  Be happy with who you are now because if you aren’t happy before you even start working towards your goals, you will never be happy when you get there.  I remember a great quote that came from the movie Cool Runnings,"A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you're not enough without the medal, you'll never be enough with it."   -Cool Runnings  Choose to be happy now.

10-Seek out Inspiration to bring motivation

For some inspiration comes in the form of a favorite motivational speaker, for others from a coach or mentor.  Even a great book, movie or song can help you stay motivated to reach your goals.  I personally turn to God in prayer when I am needing inspiration in my life.  Everyone is different but the one thing we all have in common is that we will have obstacles whenever we are trying to accomplish something good in our lives and when we have them, we need somewhere to turn to help us get through them.  Start and end your day with something inspirational and your goals will start to fall into place.

So, today is the day!  Starting right now, take out a piece of paper, write down a SMART goal and start mapping out a plan to reach it.

If you don’t mind sharing, what is one goal/dream you’ve put on the back burner since having kids?

And if you’re like me and have a hard time juggling everything you have to do each day with your kids you might like reading  10 Ways to Balance the Juggling Act of Motherhood.