It’s so easy when you start considering goal-setting to become overwhelmed by all the areas in your life you feel are in desperate need of change.
From improving as a wife and mom, to starting a business or blog, to writing a book, to learning a new skill, to starting a new ministry or being involved in one that’s already existing, to eating more healthfully, to learning to cook from scratch, to cutting your grocery bill, to experimenting with do-it-yourself ideas, to remodeling part of the house or redecorating a room, to getting in shape, to being more involved in your church or community… and on and on the list goes.
We women have so many responsibilities on our plates and we have dreams, ideas, and all sorts of things we’d love to do if we could ever find an extra ten hours in our day. But the reality is that those extra ten hours probably aren’t going to be falling from the sky any time in the near future. So we must work with what we have–and do the best we can with that.
Recognize Your Limitations.
We’re all in different seasons and stages of life. We all have different challenges and struggles. Therefore, it’s imperative that each of us recognizes our own limitations.
Think about your own unique challenges. Some of you are in school full-time. Some of you work full-time. Some of you have lots of little children. Some of you have a brand-new baby (or twins!). Some of you have health issues. Some of you are caring for elderly parents or grandparents. Some of you are in the middle of moving cross country. Some of you are dealing with a death of someone you love. Some of you are pregnant or in the middle of adopting. Some of you have children with special needs. Some of you are going through heart-breaking circumstances that many of us can’t even begin to imagine.
No matter your age or stage of life, you have your own set of difficulties and things to juggle. If it’s not something you can change, accept it realizing that what you’re able to accomplish will not be what someone else who is in a different season of life is able to accomplish. And that’s perfectly okay!
Focus on What Matters Most
If you only have a small amount of time to devote to goal-setting, you’ll want to maximize upon it by making sure you’re focusing on the most important things. Here’s what I’d suggest doing:
- Jot Down Ideas. Over the course of the next 3-5 days, just start jotting down every goal idea that pops into your head that you’d really like to tackle soon. If you’re anything like me, your list will probably be long. Don’t be overwhelmed! You’re just brainstorming to help you narrow down and prioritize your goals list.
- Prioritize Your List. After you have a nice long list, go over it carefully and thoughtfully considering which items on the list are really going to make a specific and near-immediate impact upon your everyday life. Learning to make woven baskets might be fun goal to pursue at some time, but it probably isn’t going to have a direct impact upon your everyday life like exercising, going to bed early, or menu-planning will.
- Pare Down Your List. After you’ve prioritized the list, pare that list down to the top two or three. If this is a struggle for you, step back and try to think of how each goal will directly affect your life. Thinking things through to the direct effects over the course of the next few months usually is all it takes for me to prioritize and decide upon the most important priorities. However, if you’re struggling with this exercise, I’d suggest asking your husband or a good friend to help you.
- Make a Specific Plan. Once you have this list of 2-3, think how you will fit these goals into your everyday life. You have to make a specific plan for how it will happen, or it likely will just be a good idea that never gets off the ground. If you want to read 12 books this year, you need to read 1/4 of a book each week–or about 5-10 pages per day, depending upon how long the books are that you read.
- Be Realistic! It’s imperative that you think long and hard about what you can realistically commit to. You’re better off sticking with one goal that only takes 15 minutes a week and actually following through with it, than trying to do five goals you don’t have time for and then not following through at all.
Commit to Do What You Can Do.
No matter your limitations, adopt Teddy Roosevelt’s motto: “Do what you can with what you’ve got where you are.”
All we can do is all we can do. Spending time wishing we were in someone else’s shoes doesn’t change or improve our situation. If you’re in a really busy season of life, you may only be able to devote an extra 10 minutes five times per week to tackling your goals. Don’t be discouraged.
Do what you can do and don’t worry about what you can’t do! Doing something is always better than doing nothing.