Many of us have sat down to set some goals for the year, contemplate our word for the year, and discern what 2018 needs to be about. But then there is the reality that our children headed back to school today after a 6-week break, and we find ourselves back in the rhythm of schooling schedules, deadlines, basketball games, and Scouting events. Sometimes the schedule + deadlines + activities don’t seem to line up with “all the things” we contemplated and want to happen in a new year. We quickly realize that on the way to the Big Things, we forgot about our Real Life.
How do we set meaningful goals that actually mesh with the reality of our dailiness?
I love challenging goals. I love idealistic dreaming. I love envisioning my best self, giving out of my gifts, ideas, and strengths in big ways. It’s easy to write down all that I want to be and to do, all the ways I want to change and to give, the idealized version of myself and my time, but then there is this thing called reality that hits. I have six children. I homeschool. I have a limited energy capacity. I need solid sleep. I have a home that needs tending and care.
In the past, I have made the big goals, but the reality of the demands on my time and life hit, and so I gave up on them. I decided that I wasn’t “in the right season” for goal-setting and making progress. So I kept walking around the same mundane mountains, being ineffective with my time, my energy, and my gifts. “Maybe when the kids get older.” I stayed stuck in so many areas because I dismissed them as being too “small” and unimportant. Goals have to be big, right? That was the lie.
The truth is that I had many foundational areas of my life that needed growth, change, rhythm, and healthy habits. The ways my house gets cleaned, organized, and decorated. The way I plan for birthdays and holidays. The way I tend my time, social media, and hobbies. The way I drink water, begin my mornings, or incorporate movement/exercise. The way I feed my family, plan my dinners, and grocery shop. The way I build a culture of gratitude, encouragement, creativity, reading, music, and games.
I began to realize that the growth + effectiveness of my home, my time, my mothering, my marriage, my community, and my health needed some simple, sustainable goals that weren’t fancy, but fruitful.
So the past few years, I have used my PowerSheets in new ways. Small ways. Life-changing ways. Little by little, I have made big progress in my daily life. I drink more water. I started yoga. I get more sleep. I go to a chiropractor. I meal plan and implement it. I celebrate birthday, holidays, and seasons well. I use my time effectively and am more focused. My home is pared down and my style has simplified. My extended family receives birthday cards. I don’t have as many library fines. 🙂 My kids’ projects get done in a timely way. Do balls still get dropped? Sure. Is all this done perfectly? Nope. But I feel more joy, less stress, and my family and home is getting the best of me! No amount of big goal setting can compete with that.
So if you have given up on goal setting all together OR you are an overachiever who goes big or goes home, there is a middle place. Women in the middle years need to know that your work and small progress in any area is valuable, meaningful, and needed. Your dailiness matters and how you live your life changes lives. Find some meaningful goals that align with your priorities, and day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, cultivate faithfulness.
It’s easy to get pumped up by the big + grand, to overextend our energy + adrenals to make things happen, but faithfulness over time is where meaning meets sustainability. And that changes everything.