As the New Year rolls around, it seems that many jump into introspective mode, looking at what goals they haven’t achieved in the year, where they failed to measure up, what went wrong where, etc. By focusing on the bad, we may at times fail to recognize the good that has happened in the past year.
As a mother, I’ve learned that you may set out a gazillion lofty goals, arm yourself with a bazillion books and websites and set out to conquer the world —only to realize there aren’t enough hours in the day. This is especially hard for career-focused women who suddenly,—OK, not-so-suddenly— become Moms. But the shift from career woman to Mom is a tough one. You’re used to deadlines, people to meet, places to go. Then almost suddenly it becomes about whether your child fed, dressed, and clean. Once that is accomplished, you might have a bit of time to focus on everything else, including yourself.
You want to believe that you can accomplish every goal you set out for yourself, but now you have come to realize that that goal, whatever it is, needs to be realistically 1) achievable, 2) flexible, and 3) adaptable.
I suggest that it is best to set realistic goals for yourself that aren’t easy but aren’t so hard you’ll never reach them.
Remember, whatever doesn’t challenge you, won’t change you.
Being flexible on the timeline to accomplish a goal is key as a parent, you have so many things that come unexpectedly.
Finally, adaptability is important. Can this goal be modified every so slightly to take into account the perhaps unforeseen stressors or added workload that may arise?
I also have come to realize that setting your goals at the beginning of each year doesn’t always make sense, even though the arrival of the new year does provide a great time for a fresh start. I feel goals should be made as goals are achieved or as needed. So starting in March or November is fine, too. Just start. Sometimes taking the first step is the hardest. Go as far and achieve as much as you can and applaud yourself for doing what you have. If there is more to achieve, then set the next goal to do that but recognize what you have done first before moving forward.
Celebrate your progress!
Think of progressing toward a large goal in the way you watch a child learning to walk. The child has many smaller goals that lead up to the bigger goal of walking. First the child needs a lot of belly time. Then it learns to plank, the crawl, then finally walk. Similarly, as we work toward our bigger goals, those smaller steps, or smaller goals, are necessary along the way
So, New Year? Yes, it’s a great time to start! However, my suggestion is to try not to pile on the goals. Rather, perhaps quarterly, as each smaller goal is achieved, add a new goal. Nevertheless, it’s important to focus on the goal at hand. Slowly but surely, you’ll achieve that goal, perhaps that “New You.”