Six ways to set goals you can reachBy
It’s partly my nature. I’ve never been “officially” diagnosed, but the evidence is just too clear to ignore: I have ADD. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a short attention span and an inherent impatience when things seem to be taking too long to materialize. Finally, as an adult, I figured out there’s a name for it!
But it’s more than that. As a work-at-home mom, I find that I’m always trying to navigate the tricky balance between pursuing work goals and being flexible and available for the needs of my family.
I’ve had to be very deliberate about focused and realistic goal setting. Over the years, I’ve learned some strategies that help me to break down those goals into simple, manageable steps that don’t bore or overwhelm me.
Whether you’re a super-focused mom (bless you!) or one who struggles to keep from going down rabbit trails (like me!), I believe these methods will help you as you formulate your goals:
- Go to the Boss. I’ve learned the hard way that when I pursue goals without consulting the Holy Spirit, I just spin my wheels. I make it a habit to go to Him and ask for clear direction. And He never disappoints. He either gives me a peace or a sense of uneasiness that serves as my guide.
Years ago, I found this verse and have been using it as inspiration as I seek His will in my work and ministry: “Whether your turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it. ‘” Isaiah 30:21
- Be specific. Once we have clear direction and vision, we need specific goals to get there. For example instead of “Get ahead on blog posts” my goal is “Write five blog posts.” It’s difficult to hit the bullseye when we’re not really sure exactly what it is.
- Make them Action-Oriented. Is your goal something you can do? Is there a specific action you can take to accomplish it? A goal of “make monthly and weekly checklists for recurring tasks” is more action-driven than “be more organized.”
- Set a time limit. I’m always more motivated if I have a deadline. Even if it’s one I just make for myself. Something about my mentality shifts when there’s a date on the calendar looming. So, let’s go back to my goal of “Write five blog posts.” An even clearer goal would be “Write five blog posts by June 30th.”
- Reassess your goals weekly and at the end of the month. At the beginning of each month, I come up with my monthly goals. Then I break them down into weekly actions. At the end of each week, I decide what adjustments have to be made. Am I on track to meet my monthly goals? Do I need to step it up? Or am I ahead of schedule?
- Be flexible. Although I’m easily distracted, I am a performance-driven girl. To a certain extent, that’s good. I have a high standard of excellence. But my worth should not be dependent on it. That’s a battle I fight all the time.
There are things – and people – who are more important than my to-do list. I have to consult the Boss as I pursue the path He’s given me to walk. My timing may not be His timing.
But if I’m following His plan, I always know I’ll always reach my destination.
What are your goal-setting strategies?
How do you sense what God’s will is as you form your plans and goals?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melinda Means is mother to an adorable middle-school-aged son and a beautiful and entertaining teenage daughter. She has been a freelance writer since her daughter was an infant, writing primarily for healthcare publications up until several years ago when her writing focus took a decidedly maternal turn.
She has written for Focus on the Family, CBN.com, In Touch and Lifeway’s Journey. Melinda can also be found hosting discussion at Moms Together every third Wednesday of the month. Melinda and her blogging partner Kathy Helgemo are co-authors of the upcoming book Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015). You can visit their blog, Mothering from Scratch, where they provide encouragement and hard-won wisdom about finding your unique mothering recipe.