Immediately after I gave birth to our first child, my husband bantered, “Good job Honey, only 3 more to go!”
We always planned to have 4 children. Why did his comment make me want to run back to my office and revise our family plan?
To be fair, I married my husband because I find his humor amusing. I am a literal, serious person and find his ability to come up with these funny, off-the-cuff one-liners, intriguing most times. This was not one of those times. Perhaps it was the absence of an epidural, or the excruciating pain of childbirth. For various reasons, I was not enamored by his humor.
And this relates to goal setting, how?
Goal setting 101: Our ability to achieve goals is related to what we tell ourselves along the journey.
Should I be thinking about the next three babies I must carry to term and push out to complete my family immediately after delivering the first? Absolutely, positively, no. If we’re talking success in the process of goal achievement, this was not the time to consider the road ahead. This was the time to embrace sweet victory. I was ¼ of the way to my goal. Let’s snuggle this precious little baby & rejoice!
This might be a strange, albeit personal, illustration to my point but, I want you to know this principle applies to all facets of life goals. Whether it’s completing your degree, losing weight, or planning your family, the basics of achieving goals are the same.
Our plans need to be broken down into stepping stones that lead to the overall goal, and we need to be intentional as to how we will celebrate victories, deal with setbacks, and persistently motivate ourselves along the way.
My question to you - Are you in the practice of using this kind of process as you set goals for yourself? Or are you often stuck in the rut of starting plans that end in poor execution and feelings of defeat?
When you have a vision for who you want to become or what you want to achieve, you should take the time to write it down and figure out the steps necessary to attain it.
This is a life skill. You can learn to do it. It is a discipline that becomes easier and more instinctive as you practice it.
Goals can seem overwhelming, especially as you get farther into the discipline needed to achieve them. The biggest mistake I’ve seen clients make before coaching is not spending enough time crafting their plan, considering both strategy and motivation.
My husband’s comment was discouraging to me. Mostly because it was true. He didn't mean it to be that way. But, after the months of pregnancy and pushing myself (pardon the pun) to think that I was only beginning to fulfill the vision we had for our family, seemed overwhelming. Had I let those thoughts dissuade me I might have taken my eyes of the prize and missed out on the awesome family I have today.
So happy to think that I will never have to go through labor again but, the work of pregnancies and childbirths was well worth the blessings I received everyday in my children.
You will feel the same way as you work hard and reflect on the goals and plans you fulfill.
The place to start is considering your vision and brainstorming a plan. No shame in revising as you go along. But, writing it out is the best place to start.
Your assignment this next week is to make an appointment with yourself. Grab a notebook and paper. Envision what you want to work on and get down a plan. Include points to celebrate and keep yourself motivated.
Do you know when my kids were babies and toddlers many days my goal was simply not to lose my temper? Keeping my patience was the main thing I worked on and I’m telling you, it required a vision for who I wanted to be as a mom and a good plan as to how I could execute. Did I lose it sometimes? Yes. And then, it was back to the drawing board.
Challenge yourself to grow but, give yourself some grace. None of us are perfect. We’re trying to do the best we can. Be open to learn new ways of doing things and changing what doesn't work. You will see progress over time instead of feeling stuck in your ways. It starts with a plan.
Let me know when your appointment is. I'd love to hear what you come up with.
Be encouraged to share this article with a friend you think would benefit from reading.
More about setting goals can be found in my book, Weight Whys: Thoughts & Beliefs for a Healthy Life.