Guest post by Andy Traub of Take Permission
Moms are amazing. I know this because I have one and now I’m married to one. Moms are also universally too hard on themselves. You’re hard on yourselves because the work you do is hard to measure. You constantly feel behind and rarely feel the tangible results of your hard work.
So how can you as a mom make measurable change in your life? How can you make changes that leave you feeling more joy and freedom and less guilt and unhappiness?
1. Be realistic about the results.
If you want to read a book and you haven’t read a book in a year, don’t make a goal of reading a book in the next 24 hours. Set a goal of reading through your book in a week.
Don’t set the same timeline as your friend with one child does when you have four kids. Don’t assume you’re going to build your habit and never skip a day. Assume you’re going to mess up sometimes because you are!
Be honest and realistic. That’ll save you lots of guilt. Guilt is a horrible motivator of long-term behavior.
2. Protect the time to put the change in place.
If you want to build a habit of reading, or exercising, or napping for 30 minutes a day, then look at your schedule for the week and schedule two times each day to complete your goal.
Why schedule two times? Life happens, that’s why! You’ll hopefully make at least one of the times work.
3. Don’t try to do it alone.
We’re all afraid of failing when we try to make changes in our lives. The good news is that fear hates community (I’m pretty sure I stole that line from Jon Acuff). Community brings encouragement and accountability and will help you succeed in putting change in place long term.
Yesterday, Crystal announced a 30-day Early To Rise challenge based upon my book. She understands the power of community. She knows that moms need encouragement every day and community brings that encouragement. Find community when you want to change.
Note from Crystal: The 30-Day Early to Rise challenge begins bright and early tomorrow morning! Are you participating? Leave a comment to commit to the challenge here, if you haven’t already.
4. Give yourself a pass.
You’re too hard on yourself. You’re not perfect. No other mom is perfect (despite what you see her post on Facebook).
When you’re trying to make changes in your life you should expect that you’re going to fail. You’re going to fail because nothing worth anything is easy to do. If it’s hard then you’re on the right track!
Remember that you’re trying to make change, and change is work. Work isn’t easy but it’s worth it in the end.
When you fall of the wagon and you get discouraged remember that you knew it was going to happen! Don’t let temporary setbacks become permanent failure. Everyone has setbacks. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
5. Make joy your goal, not discipline.
Make your goal not to be disciplined, but instead, to be filled with the joy that comes from living the kind of life you want to live. Discipline isn’t a goal I get very excited about, but pursuing a joy-filled life is something I can get out of bed for.
What do you want to change about your life and how can you make the goal more about joy than discipline?
Andy Traub is an first-time author, professional podcaster, occasional blogger, encouraging teacher, doting father and grateful husband. He and his wife, Sara, struggle to stay warm most of the year in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where they live with their three very young children. You can read more of Andy’s writing at Take Permission.