If there is anything 2019 has taught me, it is that I cannot do everything I want to! Gone is the deception that I can achieve supermom status! For 2020, I am seeking out how to set realistic goals. These goals are going to be for homeschooling, quiet time with God, and housekeeping (along with everything else in life!).
Perhaps you are like me with unrealistic expectations of yourself. Do you cave to the pressure of being a perfect mom? Are you hard on yourself for not meeting everyone’s demands?
How to Set Realistic Goals
Let me first point out that I plan on using the term “realistic goals” throughout this post and probably throughout the year because I need constant reminders.
Goals are important. They keep us moving forward. If done right, they can also give us a feeling of accomplishment and ward off overwhelmed feelings.
Now, here is the hard part (at least for me). Goals have to be chosen carefully because it is virtually impossible to achieve everything we wish to achieve. We need to narrow down and prioritize.
The easiest way to set realistic goals is to begin with a “brain dump”. I just love that expression because my brain is extremely active. I jump from one thought and subject to the next at lightning speed. Because of this, my thoughts, both negative and positive, become jumbled to the point that I feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Enter the “brain dump”. I get a piece of paper and pencil and write it all down. The obstacles and pressures I’m facing, what I feel I should or should not be doing, problems with the kids and husband, and everything else that is a jumbled mess.
Once it is on paper, it is easier to sort out.
Why is it Important to Set Realistic Goals?
So, why set realistic goals at all? What is the purpose?
Our attention is in constant demand. Our families, coworkers, friends, social media, companies that produce everything you need and even those you only want, and the list goes on. If we do not tune into what is important and needed in our lives, we will be tossed about with every wind.
Areas of Life to Set Goals
Before we continue with how to set realistic goals from the jumbled mess we now have scribbled down, let’s list a few areas of life to set goals for.
- Family priorities
- Homeschool goals
- Financial goals
- Marriage priorities
- Personal goals
- Spiritual priorities
- Housekeeping priorities
What would you add to this list? I think it could go on and on. Meal planning, gardening, house improvement etc. but you get the point.
So, now what do you do with crazy mess you’ve scribbled onto the paper in front of you?
Organize it! Organize has got to be one of my favorite words. Those of you who get it are nodding your head. Some of you guys are convinced I’ve gone off the deep end.
In either case, hear me out!
It’s time to set realistic goals and relieve the pressure and stress we’ve become accustomed to in our fast-paced society.
Examples of Unrealistic Goals
What is the difference between realistic and unrealistic goals? Why is this important?
Goals can be unrealistic by being vague. Examples of unrealistic vague goals would be :
- I want to save money this year vs I want to save $100 a week this year.
- I want to get into shape this year vs I want to work out 3 times a week this year.
- Eat healthy vs include veggies in every meal.
- Keep my house clean vs complete a weekly cleaning checklist
- I want to read the Bible more vs I want to read one chapter or ___ verses every day.
- I want to stop yelling vs I want to speak more patiently to my kids (you can work on hubby next year lol)
Goals can also be unrealistic because of your season of life. Examples of unrealistic goals with this flaw would be:
- Keeping a spotless home with kids and pets
- Quiet homeschool time with toddlers in the home
- Multiple extracurricular activities for several children
- Weekly date night out with hubby when you have small children
- Cooking meals that please everyone 😉
- Bringing in a second income with young children or chronic illness
- Volunteering at multiple church or community events due to interference with home life
You get the point. During various seasons of life, you must learn to give yourself grace and really focus on what is important. Your priorities and goals will change as your life does.
Other examples of unrealistic goals are a result of the comparison trap. When we are looking at what others are accomplishing, we tend to desire the same. It is extremely important that we look ONLY at what is best for our family. Goals and priorities should be based on what is best for you and your family, not what is working for your friend or neighbor.
Back to Our Brain Dump Example
Ok, back to our brain dump example!
First, divide your thoughts into categories. These categories will look different for everyone, but mine usually look like this:
- Housework and meals
- My stuff
- Church and Community
Next, think about priorities for each category. If eating healthy is your goal then list changes you need to make to meet that goal. These changes do not need to be made over the next 24 hours or the next month for that matter. These are goals that you are working toward.
For the eating healthy example your goals could be:
- Remove soda from the house
- Include one or two veggies in every meal
- Replace empty carbs with healthy ones
- Meal plan for on the go meals (kid activities almost always ruin our healthy eating habits!)
- Replace sugar with stevia
Obviously, your family will rebel if you did all of these at once, so keep your plan secret and give them time to adjust between goals 😉
When planning spiritual goals, find a Bible reading plan you think you will enjoy or a daily devotional that will keep you on track. Begin a Bible journal or use an app (check out these app suggestions from Money Wise Stewart, A Loving Christ, and The Joyfully Imperfect).
You will not be able to include everything in your categories. This is where you need to focus on being realistic. Set a priority for each category. If your goal fits then include it, if not, leave it for next year.
Recap on How to Set Realistic Goals
This post is kinda “heavy” and I hope I’ve managed to get out of my head in a way that you understand what I’m planning. So just to be sure, let’s recap how to set realistic goals and then apply it to all areas of our life.
- Brain dump
- Divide into categories
- Set priorities
- Write specific and realistic goals
- Give yourself grace
How are you feeling about setting realistic goals? Are you ready to face this year with more organization and less stress and overwhelm? I’d love to hear about your trials with setting goals and priorities and anything that has worked for you.
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