GOAL: To be productive in the present and future. Making goals and breaking them down into obtainable pieces so that you reach them. Learning valuable lessons along the journey. By: Bobbi Reed
Planning for your future is important. The Word says without vision we perish. You don’t want to be so focused on the future that you don’t live in the present. The present is just that, a present. Each new day is a gift. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone, no matter your health or age. In order to achieve goals, have hope and build faith, we must think where we would like to be in the next year, 5 years, etc.
If we don’t set goals, then life will continue on as is. We will look up in a year and be in the same “place” we were a year ago. Life is very busy and goes very quickly. Sometimes it amazes me how fast it passes by us. Start by asking yourself what you would like to accomplish in the next year. This can be physical goals, mental goals, travel, financial, better time management, and goals for your children.
Let’s take a physical goal. Let us say that in a year you want to lose 12 pounds; that would be an average of a pound a month. As we all know, losing weight
starts with consuming less calories than you are burning. We start by analyzing our body type, what exercise we do currently and what our diet consists of. What amount of calories are we currently burning? Analyze all of these numbers and your diet and decide what would be a more effective way. Decide what exercise you can increase and how many calories it burns. Research what foods will be less calories but more filling and give you more energy; such as proteins.
Once we have all of our research done we can make a plan. We start with where we want to be in a certain amount of time; an example as the paragraph above, 12 pounds in a year. Then we break down the goal (year) into monthly goals. As each month goes by there may need to be some adjustments. Different outside factors may affect whether we reach the monthly goal as planned. For example, in the goal above, we could have a very upsetting event happen. If we are emotional eaters, it can very possibly knock us off of our path. When that happens, don’t condemn yourself. Get up the next day and tell yourself “today is a new start” and “today I will get back on track”.
There will be constant monitoring on your path to your goal. It is best to have a tangible way to see the work towards your goal and small victories. It is best to keep a written journal or a spreadsheet. At the end of each day you can document what you ate, what exercise you did and any weight changes. As your body adjusts, there may be some ups and downs, especially if you start exercising more. If you are building muscle, it will weigh more than fat. In a few weeks of maintaining your plan, it will even out. As you start to see positive changes, it will fuel your belief that your goal is attainable. Once you hit some of your goals, you will understand that they were attainable and you can achieve many things. This will build your confidence and let you know there aren’t too many things you cannot achieve. Of course, it is teamwork with you, God and maybe some friends and family members. Many times it will get hard and it helps to have a friend or family member keep you accountable.
There will be times you feel like giving up. If you have a personal relationship with the Lord and spend daily time with Him, it will help a lot. Keep the conversation going regularly and make sure you are documenting everything. If something is not working out like you planned, the documentation will help assess where the problem lies. It will also give you positive feedback and encouragement.
In another chapter, we discussed financial planning. Since we are all single moms, let us discuss a goal that would pertain to our children. Let’s say that your child desires to raise his/her grades. Where is their grade at this time? Where would we like it to be at the end of the school quarter? Involve the child (if age appropriate) in this goal planning. It teaches them how and also makes them analyze where some of their weaknesses might be. Let’s say for example, that they are now at a C and want to be at a B the next time the report cards come out. Talk with their teacher and find out the subjects they will be covering the next quarter. How are certain graded items weighted? Do certain tests count for more of their grade? How much does homework count? I always told my children when they were in school, some of the “easiest” credits were going to be from homework. It was assigned regularly, usually easy to complete along with reviewing subject matter that was covered that day. It is an awesome review along with a obtainable way to gain credits towards their grade. Ask their teacher if there are any ways to get and work through extra credit projects. If your child is invested in getting their grade up and sees a tangible way to do it, there will be more buy-in from your child.
As with any goal, you start with what you (they) want at the end of a specific time-period and work backwards toward smaller increments of time. Have them write down for example, their weekly goal and what they did each day to work towards that goal. As their work starts to come back to them, have them document what grade they have obtained. They will start to see “fruits of their labor” and it will help build their confidence along with the belief that it can be achieved. You can also attach some kind of reward program to this goal-setting process. Set these goals together, maybe making a chart that both of you can see. As they reach each one of the smaller goals, let them choose a special meal, snack, or other activity where you can spend more time together. This form of positive reinforcement goes a long way in teaching them how to achieve things and to work towards a larger goal.
Future planning can be helpful for everyone. It is an awesome feeling once a goal is reached. Remember to stay positive! Do not beat up on yourself if you go backwards for a moment or have a slip up. Always show yourself grace and mercy, just as God does for us. Love yourself and allow for mistakes; we all make them. Pick yourself back up and start tomorrow as a new day. Look at why those slip ups happened and try to avoid them. Use them as a learning tool to do better, so that you can obtain your end goal. Many times the lessons we learn along the way are more valuable than obtaining the goal in the end. These lessons teach us a lot about ourselves and others. It is usually the journey along the way that has the biggest lessons!
As you learn these lessons, share them with your friends and family. There is always someone out there that is still struggling in the area that you have successfully overcome. Reach out and share your knowledge. It will make the achieving the goal even more rewarding. We are all meant to help others and sow into each other’s lives.
- What areas of my life do I want to see changed?
- Do I know how to make these changes?
- Do I need help from family, friends or a professional to obtain these goals?
- Why do I want to achieve these goals? What will be the positive change in my life if I do achieve them?
- Where does my relationship with God fit into these goals? How can it help us draw closer and how can I lean on Him to get to the “finish line” of my goal?
- Have there been others to go before me to achieve this goal in my circle of influence? Reach out to them for advice?
- Is it possible to achieve a certain goal that can be done in a group?
- Are there groups in my community that I can join to help me?
- What areas in my children’s lives can we set some goals?
- Are there goals that my children and I can work on together, such as the amount of time spent together?
- Will I be setting these goals to make others happy or are these goals to help me to achieve something positive in my life?
- Who will partner with me during this time and an accountability partner(s) to male sure I stay on track?
- Decide on some area of your life that you want to set a goal.
- Decide on the time period and break it down to daily/weekly or monthly pieces.
- Decide on how to achieve that goal and what will be the outcome when you achieve it.
- Find some friends or family that will stand in as accountability partners.
- Do not be hard on yourself if you slip up. Get up the next day and tell yourself “today is a new day” and “I have a new opportunity to succeed today”