The trickiest part of pursuing personal goals as a mom is trying to juggle your responsibilities of raising kids and the ones you have assigned to yourself within your goal action plan. It can be far too easy to get caught up in the pitfalls of wanting to complete your action plan tasks while you have your 2-year old standing next to your desk crying for an apple sauce pouch and your 3rd grader complaining that he doesn’t understand his math homework. Chances are you are not going to be at your best in either area if you don’t implement an effective method for balancing your goals with being a mom. Below are some suggestions for preparing, managing, and separating your tasks to get the most out of the time you have to focus on them.
Balancing your action plan with your mom life.
Here are some balancing act tips to help you juggle the demands of parenthood and the burning desire in your heart to meet your goals.
Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.-Anonymous
Set yourself up for success.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have everything you need (need, not want), or that you have done everything you can to be prepared to tackle your goal.
If you are starting up a side gig make sure you have any training resourcing noted, a planner to keep track of your tasks, an appropriate product inventory if required, or anything else you might need specific to your business.
If you are working towards a healthier lifestyle, be sure to clean out your pantry and empty it of any unhealthy food choices that might tempt you. Get a gym membership or invest in some simple at-home exercise equipment like light weights, or resistance bands.
What you can do to start yourself off on the right foot will already put you ahead of the curve.
One of the biggest ways to motivate yourself to stay in action is to have some methods of accountability. This could be recruiting a workout partner or group, reporting to a superior, or enlisting a friend, family member, or even your kids to help you stay on track. There are also goal and habit tracker aps that you can download to record your completed tasks.
If you have someone waiting on you at the gym or work, you are more likely to “report for duty”. You are also more likely to give more effort. Even if you use a tracker you seem to harbor some weird desire to keep your score or average at a certain level, it’s the control freak in you. Either way accountability gives you an extra incentive to keep going.
Keep a goal journal.
Keeping a goal journal is a great way to see how far you’ve come as you continue to pursue your goals. Even after you have reached them and set new goals its really cool to be able to look back at your journey. Additionally, writing in a journal daily or weekly is another accountability tool that you can use to motivate yourself as you continue to push forward.
In your journal, you can keep track of any progress or setbacks and how you worked through them. You can write down how you felt or any details you would like to note. Keep important names, ideas, or opportunities all in one neat little spot. Record gratitude, prayers, or blessings, and reflect on any areas of personal growth. If your journal has thought provoking questions, it can be an enlightening experience as you contemplate and answer them.
One such journal is the 5-minute journal. A reflective and inspiring daily journal that can be done in just 5 minutes per day. Perfect for busy moms.
If you don’t want to incorporate a separate journal, this planner includes sections for journaling and reflecting. It’s like a one-stop shop for all your planning needs.
This is a big one and probably my most important piece of advice for you. You need to learn to time block. This is where you take your planner and schedule out your day by the hour. Now, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking I am a crazy person, because you are a mom and there is no way you can schedule out your day by the hour and actually stick to it. Well, you are right, you will not stick to it, exactly.
Each day you will have to make small adjustments and on occasion possibly some big adjustments. Sick kids, school projects that are due tomorrow, sports, activities, spilled milk, dirty diapers, or a shorter than normal nap are all things that can alter your schedule. However, simply by making an hourly schedule you are committing to at least try your hardest to stay as close to it as your life possibly allows.
Also, breaking your day up into segments helps you to keep your goal-getting separate from your kid-raising, and gives you permission to solely focus on those things when you are within that scheduled time.
Each day you will block out time to work, time to run errands, time to fold laundry, time to help with homework and any other of the one thousand things you do as a mom. You can add your time at the gym, time to food prep for healthy snacks and meals, and time to write or read or have some “me time” (yes, you should actually take some time for yourself).
Time blocking does take some practice.
When I was first introduced to the idea I scoffed at it, thinking my days were too unpredictable to even give it a try. However, I eventually did give it a try, and now it’s how I strategically plan nearly everyday. There are days, of course, that I have to adjust, like yesterday when my toddler decided that nap time was overrated. And I often have to remind myself not to mix the two worlds because that generally doesn’t end well. Trying to work on a blog post while my kids are bustling about after school is neither enjoyable or effective, and chances are I’m going to lose my patience when I’m asked to do a 7th favor for the 11th time.
For help on learning how to time block click here. I have found my own haphazard way of organizing my day with time blocking. It works, and it gives me the tools to be at my best, both as a mom and as a woman in pursuit of her passion.
Time management tricks.
In addition to time blocking you can help yourself out by using a few other time management tricks.
- Focus on one thing at a time. Moms are so used to multitasking, I think it might even be embedded into our DNA. However, when you set out to work towards a goal it is best to focus on one thing at a time. When you start a task, be sure to finish it all the way through before moving on to your next task. There are exceptions of course but as a general rule this will help you learn more effectively and accomplish things more consistently.
- Use timers. It can be easy to get distracted by life, or social media, or whatever, and even if you are using time blocking you can find yourself veering off course. I like to use timers to keep me on task. It is rather effective with my kids too. We have 10 minute cleanup times in our house, when all of us work for 10 minutes straight to tidy up an area that has gotten out of control. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in a short amount of time. If you have an hour to work, sit down, start a timer, and work like a maniac until it goes off. If you have eight loads of laundry to fold but only 20 minutes until you have to leave for soccer practice. Set a 20 minute timer and fold as much as you can. You may not get it all done but you will be that much further than you were.
- Schedule check ups. Just like your yearly doctor visit, regular goal check ups are important to evaluate how you are doing. Add them into your planner and google calendar and treat them as if they were a visit to your medical provider, meaning don’t skip out.
Take care of yourself.
Oh boy, yep, I’m asking you for the big one. It’s the single-most thing that moms can overlook as they care for others. When you are pursuing goals and adding more into your day it can be easy to burn out if you don’t give yourself proper attention. It’s pretty basic really and you should focus on something I like to call, the four pillars of health.
- Nutrition: try to eat healthy foods and follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time eat nutritious, vitamin and mineral rich food. Twenty percent of the time allow yourself to consume some of the things that are maybe not so rich in healthy components. My 20% usually consists of coffee and wine 😉 To give you some ideas, check out my post, Perfect Healthy Diet Day for Moms.
- Exercise: get a regular workout routine on your calendar and move your body as often as you can. Head to the gym, one preferably with childcare available, or try a workout you can do at home, like my favorite, She’s Got Body.
- Sleep: add a regular bedtime to your schedule and really try to stick to it. Sleep is so important and if you don’t have enough of it your energy levels during the day will make you feel as if you are running on empty.
- Mindset: a healthy mind can be a difference maker in how you approach momhood and goal seeking. In the case of a mom with goals, motivation is key. I’ll cover that more next.
As mentioned, a healthy and positive mindset is important for a mom who is juggling her parenting duties with the tasks required to reach her goals. Not all days are going to be smooth sailing, in fact, as mom and an entrepreneur, marathon runner, baker, writer, or photographer, your days will be down right challenging. If your mind is not in a place of strength it can be a very difficult road. It can even cause you to quit all together. Here are some ways to stay motivated. Be sure to incorporate motivation often and consistently to help you stay determined.
- Read inspiring books. Some recommendations are Girl Stop Apologizing, 100 Days to Brave, and You are a Badass. Currently I’m “reading” You are the Girl for the Job (the audio version) and really enjoying it.
- Listen to podcasts. A few suggestions to start with are Rise Together, Manifestation Babe, and 3 in 30
- Use positive affirmations. Search the web, Pinterest, books, or your bible for quotes or verses that inspire you and post them up around your house or in your car to read everyday.
- Revisit/update your vision board. Remind yourself why you are working towards your goals and what it will do for you and your family.
- Give your mind peace. Give meditation a try, even if its just a few minutes a day, or take time each day to rest in prayer and gratitude. You can also journal as a way to calm the business of your mind.
- Take a break. Brendan Bouchard, motivational speaker extraordinaire, recommends taking a short break every 50 minutes during your working period. Even if you only have two hours to work, get up halfway through and take 5 minutes to stretch or grab a water. Every once in a while we need a longer break. It’s ok to take a morning off here and there to sleep in, or spend an evening catching up on your favorite television show. These breaks will re-energize you and prevent you from burning out.
Your biggest take away: Allow Grace
If you take nothing else away form this post, although I hope you find some other points of value, it is that I want you to remember to give yourself grace as you are pursuing the paths that God has put you on. You were gifted your beautiful children that you want only the best for, and you want only to be the best for. So you work hard at being an incredible source of love and care for them. Part of your drive for setting other goals in your life is completely and utterly tied to that desire to be better for those that you love.
However, nothing good, nothing better comes easy. You will sometimes feel overwhelmed, you will undoubtedly forget things, or lose your temper, or run late, or just simply screw up. That is when you must allow yourself grace. Because you are wholly and entirely an imperfect being that should be given the same amount of mercy and compassion that you would extend to your kids. You are not perfect, but you are a blessing, and all of your intentions are done with the goodness of a serving heart.
Wrapping it up.
There is a lot of information and advice here, but it takes a lot for a mom to balance the process of making goals and achieving them, while still being the super mom that she is. The bottom line is you can do this. You can chase your goals and be a great mom to your kids. In fact, chances are the goals you are setting for yourself are also benefiting your kids in several ways (<—-Part 1 of this series).
And remember “setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” -Tony Robbins.