Dear Working Mother,

Years ago, I did a course on Effective Personal Productivity with Leadership Management International and one of the things that really stuck with me from that course was the power of goals and the idea of setting goals to establish priorities in all six areas of your life: financial and career, physical and health, family and home, mental and educational, spiritual and ethical, and social and cultural.

As busy working mothers, we often get too focused on one or two aspects of our lives, and we forget to tend to other, important areas. Our time is heavily weighted in favour of financial and career, and family and home. This is probably somewhat unavoidable, at least for a few years… but the important thing is to set aside some time to take stock, to evaluate your priorities and set yourself goals.

Perhaps you don’t have time to train to run a marathon but you might want to set yourself a goal of running 5km over the next year… and sure, you probably aren’t partying like you did Before Children, but if you are feeling a bit of a social recluse you could set yourself a goal of joining a social group or club… and maybe you’re not religious but perhaps you can make time to go to a meditation or mindfulness class once a week…

You alone are responsible for your life and only you can decide what’s important. You are not just a mother and not just an employee or a business owner… you are a complex person with many needs and desires, dreams and ambitions. If you are feeling dissatisfied or as though your life is out of balance, take a look at your Wheel of Life and figure out what you want and set your priorities. Then take the time to write down some short, medium and long-term goals.

Just remember to make your goals SMART, in other words, make them:

  • Specific: So instead of a vague goal like ‘get fit’, make your goal something ultra-specific like ‘run the 5km fun run in September’.
  • Measurable: make sure your goal and its outcome can be measured so you can know when you’ve achieved it. Put numbers on your goal so you can track it easily.
  • Attainable: if your goal is too lofty, you are more than likely setting yourself up for failure. Make your goals challenging, but realistic, as actually achieving your goals will give you a great mental boost.
  • Relevant: only choose goals that are really important to you and that fit into your lifestyle. If you don’t REALLY care about it, then it more than likely won’t happen.
  • Timely: make sure you set a target date for completion and if necessary, date specific timelines. An end date will make that goal more urgent and you more focused.

As working mothers, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut… getting through the everyday challenges can sometimes be goal enough. But it pays to take time out to examine where we are at and where we want to be and take steps to make that happen. If you have dreams and ambitions, now is the time to realise them. Tomorrow might never come.

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” ― Harvey MacKay

Sincerely,

Elaine Lawless
The Working Mother

This post originally appeared on Eumom.ie.