It’s the first week of 2023, and if you’re like me (and all other moms), you’ve probably said something along the lines of, “This year, I’m finally going to…”
What is it for you? Toning up your middle? (That’s mine.) Learning guitar? Finishing that big project you left behind last year?
In this article, I’m sharing 6 ways to make it easier to reach your goals, so you can make this your best year yet.
We’ll start from the most obvious step, but one that many people don’t take full advantage of:
Table of Contents
- #1 – Write down each goal in detail
- #2 – Plan out how you will achieve each one
- #3 – Make mental space by writing everything down
- #4 – Break goals down into daily habits
- #5 – Raise the stakes
- #6 – Work on your beliefs
#1 – Write down each goal in detail
It’s pretty clear at this point that if you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them.
So don’t forget this crucial step. If you’re an analog person, grab a piece of paper and write each one down in a list. If you love all things digital, open up your favorite note taking app and make bullet points.
The key is to be specific. What exactly are you trying to do? What numbers do you want to hit? For example, instead of writing “slimming down” on my goals this year, I’m setting a number of centimeters I want to lose on my arms and waist.
By the way, you don’t have to hit these numbers. They just give you a place to aim and a way to measure yourself. You can always adjust them later.
#2 – Plan out how you will achieve each one
Most people get a rush of accomplishment by writing down all their goals. That’s because we imagine our future selves already achieving them.
But this is where things start to break down.
Without a concrete plan, we’ll never get to that sunny future we dream of.
It’s like downloading a picture of a Greek beach and then just expecting to wake up there at the end of the year. That’s not how it works.
So after writing a list of specific goals, I like to get a new piece of paper (or make a new document) for each goal and then brainstorm how I can actually achieve it.
What’s the first step? What might I need to put in place or buy to make it happen? How long might it take? What kind of pitfalls could I face along the way, and how could I avoid them?
#3 – Make mental space by writing everything down
Up until this point, things have been pretty straightforward. But there’s another hurdle that most moms face when trying to achieve new things.
You’re hit with that brain fog, that lack of focus that makes it hard to do anything more than survive and keep our kids alive.
Now, sometimes brain fog comes down to a medical condition like PPD, in which case, please speak to a doctor and get medical treatment.
But for most people, a huge part of our lack of focus is that we simply have too many things on our mind.
It’s like, where did I put my keys? Oh wait, I have to take out the laundry. Ooh, did I make the reservation for tonight? Wait, where’s my kid? How are we gonna pay for retirement? Oh, I’ve got to respond to that text…
If you feel your brain ping-ponging between too many things, I want you to know 2 things:
- This is totally normal, and there’s nothing wrong with you—there are too many things to deal with as a mom in the 21st century
- If you want to manage it, there is a way to do it
What I recommend is building a capture habit, in other words, writing things down as soon as you think of them. You can do it on a single piece of paper or put reminders in your phone.
- Where did I put my keys? —> Find my keys
- Have to take out the laundry —> Take out laundry
- Did I make the reservation? —> Call the restaurant and double check
- How are we gonna pay for retirement? —> Research investment options for retirement
Your brain is doing its job by bringing things up to your attention so you don’t forget them. But don’t leave it to your brain to keep doing the heavy lifting. Write them down and then review your lists every day.
You’ll notice that amount of “tabs” open in your mind will become less and less.
(There are more things you can do to make this easier, but this is the very first step!)
#4 – Break goals down into daily habits
This is my favorite tip for making your goals happen in real life.
Instead of trying to do something once a week for an hour (like go to the gym or sit down and paint), my favorite thing to do is chuck it into my daily routine and spend 5 minutes a day working toward a goal. (Or 10, or 15, just as long as it’s sustainable.)
The benefits are huge.
- You stay consistent with the habit, which makes it easier to continue
- You feel like you’re making progress every day instead of just once a week
- It’s easy to do something for 5 minutes instead of trying to find an hour of uninterrupted time
I’ve used this method to:
- Deep clean my house
- Improve my Japanese
- Build an exercise habit
- Practice singing
- Write more for this blog
This little hack works so well. Try it!
#5 – Raise the stakes
If you need a little more motivation to achieve your goals, it might be time to raise the stakes.
This could look like setting a reward for yourself when you hit different milestones or having your spouse deduct money from your account when you don’t show up for your daily session. (There are even apps that can punish you in different ways for not doing the task you promised.)
I personally thing positive motivators are better than negative, but you can experiment to find what works for you.
#6 – Work on your beliefs
So let’s say you’ve done everything you can to make achieving goals easy, but you still can’t make yourself get up and actually do them. In this case, the culprit is usually a lack of belief.
If you don’t believe you’ll ever actually achieve the goal you’ve set, your conscience won’t let you even try. Why would you spend time on something that you already know will fail?
That’s why it’s crucial to have faith that you can achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Look through your goals list. Are there any in there that, if you searched deep in your heart, you aren’t sure you’ll ever achieve?
For me, this was always the weight loss or muscle tone goals. Deep down, I believed that I could never actually make it a habit, or I would never be a person that could eat healthy.
But this is silly. I only believe this because it’s been my experience so far. But if I want to, I can totally become a person who eats healthy.
I can become a person who loves exercise.
Here are a few thought exercises that helped me to change my beliefs:
- What are some things that used to be hard for me, but that are now easy? (If I could master other hard things, I can do this, too.)
- What are habits that I didn’t have 10 years ago, but I have now? (I can build new habits.)
- What kind of person do I want to be? (I can choose a new “identity” for myself and become that over time.)
Now, when I say I can choose a new “identity,” I don’t mean that I’m going to become a totally different person. But as humans, we use different identifiers to describe ourselves that we’ve actually just adopted over time. Things like:
- I’m lazy
- I love sweets
- I hate exercise
I used to identify with these. But now I say these things about myself instead:
- I can train myself to do hard things
- I eat to fuel myself
- I like to move and strengthen my body
So what kind of identities do you have for yourself that aren’t serving you? What could you say instead to become the person you want to be this year?
Whew! It turns out I have a lot to say on the topic of reaching goals.
I’ve been thinking about this and trying to improve my own performance for more than 5 years now. This is the accumulation of what I’ve tested and what has worked for me.
The great thing about humans is that we are all different, so these may not all work for you, or you may want to tweak them for yourself.
Here’s the list one more time:
- List your goals (make it clear what you want to achieve)
- Plan out how you will achieve each goal (what are the steps?)
- Create mental space by making a running list of everything you’re working on, want to achieve, need to do, or need to remember
- Break goals down into daily 5-minute habits
- Raise the stakes
- Work on your beliefs
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts on reaching your goals! What are your goals for 2023? Do you resonate with any of these tips? Is there anything you would add?
Let me know in the comments! 👇