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Being A Parent AND Pursuing A Dream

pursuing a dream

Guest post from Jim from Jim Woods Writes

When you become a parent, your dreams don’t just disappear. You might want to pursue a new career, become debt-free, grow in your relationship with God, get in shape, or maybe even all of the above. But you’re already overwhelmed — how do you pursue a dream while being a parent?

Here are five steps to help you achieve your dream.

1. Think about where you are.

Be realistic about your situation. Don’t hold back. Ask your spouse and your closest friends for their input.

Spend some time in silence and pray about it, too. It’s essential to know where you are before you map out a route to the destination.

2. Have a support system in place.

Get your spouse on the same page with you. If you are a single parent, reach out to family and friends.

Moms need support from other moms and dads need support from other dads. This could mean a phone call, meeting for coffee, or sending a text message. Don’t overlook the power of encouragement!

3. Pursue smaller, achievable goals.

A dream not broken down into specific goals is not clear enough. Life happens, time goes by, and you get off track. When you have laser-like focus, you get more done.

4. Remember life is seasonal.

If you have a newborn, sleeping patterns will be inconsistent, so you’ll have less time and energy for your dream. Over time, as your baby adjusts to a sleep schedule, you will too.

The same goes for when your family plays the “pass the cold around” game. It’s normal to feel discouraged. Use your support system to get a needed lift.

5. Don’t compare with others.

Comparison leads to jealousy. Focus on your attitude and take note when it gets negative. A great way to avoid falling into this trap is to compliment others.

allocating funds

photo source

Let’s apply these concepts in a real-life example:

Meet Mike and Jenny Willis. Mike is a full time engineer working 50 hours a week. Jenny stays at home with their two kids: Jimmy, 3 years old and potty training, and Jonny, 6 months old and teething. Mike and Jenny are $55,000 in debt. Their dream is becoming debt free.

1. Think about where you are.

Mike and Jenny are in a very challenging place right now. Until they get control of their finances, the debt will not just go away by itself. Mike is working a lot of hours and this must be taken into consideration too.

2. Have a support system in place.

Mike and Jenny need to support each other, both talking things through and coming to an agreement about getting out of debt. They also need to reach out to friends who can encourage them — another family who has become debt free could provide guidance.

3. Pursue smaller, achievable goals.

Working out a budget and then filling it in with actual numbers at month’s end would be a fantastic first step. There is an easy-to-use free website called Mint or a free spreadsheet template like these here. The next step could be knocking out the smallest debt owed.

4. Remember life is seasonal.

The financial situation will improve. Jonny will stop teething. Jimmy will soon be potty trained. Mike’s hours could decrease if he asks for help at work or finds another job that pays more or has less hours.

5. Don’t compare with others.

Mike and Jenny should keep their goal in mind and not be discouraged by the amazing meals and desserts in their Instagram feed.

Yes, pursuing a dream is difficult, but know it will be worth it. Remember good things do not happen overnight, so doing great things take even more time.

As you develop good habits, you’ll reshape your routine—and this will help you build momentum and grow. Challenges will come, but with support and intentionality, you can achieve amazing things.

Need more help with setting and achieving goals? Jim Woods and Erik Fisher have just released an ebook called Beyond The To Do List: Goals. It is a step-by-step practical guide featuring advice from Crystal Paine, Andy Traub, Jon Acuff, and more!  All readers can purchase this book for only $2.99, now through 11:00am on 11/14/2013. 

 Jim Woods is a writer, dreamer, husband, and dad in Nashville TN. His passion lies in helping others turn ideas into action. He’d love to connect with you on his website or on Twitter @jimwoodswrites.

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  • Brian Dixon says:

    Great post, Jim. I love your ebook, Beyond The To Do List. With a baby at home, I love your advice to remember that life is seasonal.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • All of the above! 🙂 Great advice! I’m trying to figure out my next step as my youngest heads off to kindergarten next year.

    • Yes! My oldest left to serve in the military this past summer and my youngest started half day kindergarten. I went back to school to fulfill my dream of being a nurse this past fall.

      I worked in our church’s child care center for the past 9 years. It allowed me the chance to be with my kids and still bring in some extra money. It wasn’t my dream job but supported my goal of being with my kids when they were little.

      One thing that I am learning in this process is to pray big for God’s help. I have 4 kids and a husband and they are still my priority. I pray every time I study Anatomy and Physiology that God will increase my understanding of what I am reading. I am getting a 97% in the class. Prayer combined with our effort definitely helps our goals be realized!

  • Good article! Pursuing your dreams at the age of 20 is certainly different than pursuing your dreams at the age of 40!

  • Joyce Day says:

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for sharing – I appreciate the step by step and taking into account the position of all family members. It really is all give and take. My husband and I both work very full time jobs. We have his two teenagers from a previous marriage, a 19-month old, 2 dogs, a cat, and 2 turtles! In the meantime I am just getting my website going with a goal of working from home in the next 2 years. We are working on all of the items you mentioned above. And I appreciate Angie’s comment (@creating our home) regarding asking God for help. I pray for guidance that I’m headed in the right direction. Patience is also important as you pointed out. So we keep moving forward as a family…Thanks for the post!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Joyce! So glad to help. Congrats on getting your website going! I always try to remember that good things take time. I know that is easier said than done (at times) but I think it’s totally true. And I agree Angie is TOTALLY right about praying for help. God is with us every step of the way.

  • Jessica says:

    Thanks for this! What a great tool to really hone in on achieving a goal! I have 5 kiddos and am working to focus on writing more, but it is such a balancing act at times. Thanks for the tips!

  • Great, great insight here. I wish I had realized it when my kids were young. I set way too high of goals for myself when it came to business and other things and always wound up disappointed with myself and frustrated with the kids. They are in school full time now and I think I’ve finally found the right balance. I was an only child with a single mom and I had 2 very rambunctious boys so it was quite a transition for me! Hubby is awesome though.

    I just realized when I saw your book that I subscribe to your podcast! 🙂

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