All About Goals
No business gets anywhere without learning the art and science of setting and achieving goals. Successfully running a home is no different! It is critical that as the Mother-in-Chief you learn what types of goals are needed, how to set them, and how to achieve them.
There are different kinds of goals, and as you learn to articulate and action them, you will see that they have very different uses but are deeply interconnected.
First of all, there is your biggest, overriding goal – you might call this a life goal, or a vision statement. It’s your long-distance picture of where you want to be in the end; a measuring-stick of your inner values. This is not a goal in the sense of something you can exactly learn (I want to be a sky-diver, or I want to be bilingual) but rather in the sense of character (I want to help people, or I want to be a good mother and friend.) For a business, this would be a mission statement that they base their decision making around.
Then there are category goals. By category goals, I mean long-term goals for the different categories of your life. These are ones that are so important to balance correctly. You might already have financial goals, which is fine, but along with that you need to have moral goals, relationship goals, health goals, education goals, and so on. When you are setting these goals, you have to first assess where you are now, then mentally “lean out” into the next 3 to 5 years, and put pen to paper to write down where you want to be. This is like a strategic map that a business might do: where we want to be, and how to get there. Michael Linenberger, in his book Master Your Workday Now!, teaches us to ‘spin’ our goals – write them as though you are already enjoying the benefits of them being accomplished, and review them daily. After having read his book several years ago, I re-wrote my existing goals to use the powerful method he teaches. One of the goals I had already expressed was to manage my housework better; I updated it into a short paragraph that starts, “I love my clean, welcoming home.” When you have completed this step – the leaning out – you need to start working backwards to create an action plan. You envision a series of midpoints, and can start to action them.
You can download a free goal-setting worksheet here: Goal-setting worksheet
For example, one of your financial category goals might be getting out of debt in the next 10 years. You’ll need to look at where you are now. How much is your mortgage? What credit card debt do you have? Do you owe on your vehicles? Next, look at where you want to be: debt-free in 10 years. Then, a series of mid-points: vehicles paid off, line-of-credit paid off, credit cards paid off. Finally, an action plan. In this case it might include trading in your vehicles for something cheaper (or selling them entirely and using your bike!), then using the dollars you used to use for your car payment to pay your credit card off by the end of this year, then putting all of those funds to the line-of-credit, and so on. You need to consider, as you are doing this, if your goal is realistic. Are you and your family willing to make the trade-offs required to accomplish this goal? If not, you will need to adjust your goal – either give yourself more time (would 15 years be feasible?) or modify the goal itself (could you have only your mortgage left by the end of 10 years?)
And then there are weekly goals. This is getting close to where the action is, and the old ‘big rock’ analogy helps to accomplish weekly goals. At the start of the week we have a good idea of what the VIGs are – the Very Important Goals. At this time you can put appointments into your calendar, plus anything out-of-the-ordinary, be it a birthday, start of the school year, or your husband’s business trip you’ll need to pack for.
Finally, every evening you need to take a few minutes to plan your next day. We’re not talking about a detailed To-Do list of ‘breathe in, breathe out, take a step’, but rather the key points of the day that are going to have to be done. Usually, this would be taking tomorrow’s part of your weekly goals and putting them into a logical order. When you have something unpleasant or tough to do in a given day remember: “Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” There are many days when I have actually written TODAY’S FROG onto a piece of paper, along with a reminder or details of the task, and put it onto my alarm clock. My husband laughs, but a lot of those less-than-a-party jobs would not have gotten done otherwise.
And if this article resonates with you, and you want to really dig in, learn the steps, and get the tools to start living a goal-achieving life…you’ll want to buy How to Achieve All Your Goals here for $7. At 46 pages long, it’s what you need to really get going on achieving your goals.