Normally I spend the last week of the year reviewing the passing year and planning out the coming one. In other words, I examine where I am/we are at and then outline where I/we want to be at by the end of the upcoming year.
Last year I skipped this process and looking back now, I’m convinced that the lack of reflection and planning made our year much less productive than it could have been. I have learned the importance of reflection, goal setting and organizing important areas of life the hard way.
You may ask, why I was so foolish to make this mistake. I’d honestly tell you that because life just took over. I was so out of control of all the things that were going on – or at least I thought so. More probably I was just too exhausted with all the things – transitions, grief, conflicts, daily struggles – that it felt too much to keep hold of – actually – anything. So I let go. I can tell now: it just made everything worse. It took more than a half year to finally make a turn and get things slowly better by taking back some control, one step at a time.
Reevaluate when life happens
Three things have helped me break through. I tell you about them because maybe you’re also feeling overwhelmed, out of place or out of control, and you are desperate to find a way out, too. I’m not saying that any of these will be your remedy, but maybe you face similar challenges or struggles and need some encouragement, so you can decide which way to go.
First, we discovered that we are expecting. Again. Out of the blue, as it is – you wouldn’t tell – in most cases. Baby #10. Yap, this little surprise has helped me tremendously. I’m in my top form in all ways when I’m expecting. It is a wonderful thing for me and it just gets better with each baby. So, yes I believe and can prove that children are blessings in many many ways right from the beginning.Even when you feel at your worst and most incapable of embracing them. You might have to change focus to realize this but you absolutely can.
Discovering this blessing helped me make a long due decision: skipping my focus from my struggles back to where it should be: my family and my call as a mother. I’d been struggling with so many things going on in my life at the same time, that I got lost in misery, lost focus. They took me to a dead end and made me feel the worst mother and person in the world. I had never been so low before. To get out I had to refocus on the right things again.
The third help was that life’s difficulties forced me to finally make the decision to become a WAHM after being a SAHM for nearly 16 years, including 8 years of homeschooling. This decision led me to start blogging again. I was worried that this would be too much and take my focus again, but it’s rather the opposite. Taking this step is helping me function better within my family. I missed blogging anyway, so I’m glad I’m able to do it again and very grateful that it helps me in so many – even unexpected – ways.
Finding a way back to Goal setting
Having experienced all of that, this year is about finding back to where I should be and want to be. So I’m not making last year’s mistake again and start the new year without goals. In earlier years I tried to set goals in each area of my life and each year I failed to accomplish most of them. This time I decided to simplify my goal setting and planning process having proved for myself that less is more, even when it comes to goal setting.
Setting Goals simplified
Last year I’ve also learned that having a goal list works much better for me than a to-do list. Keeps me much more focused and motivated. So, in the last few months I kept goal lists instead of to-do lists, even for accomplishing the daily mundane. I keep going this way and work on improving my planning system.
How to actually reach Goals
At the end of December Kalyn Brooke‘s free Bullet Journal webinar helped me to take the next steps. She pointed out that to reach our goals, we need to break them down and create a system for them. I found her explanation very helpful and setting goals with this mindset much easier. Maybe this is the first time when I go beyond hope and believe that I actually can reach my goals because I see them effectively and actionably planned out.
How to set the right Goals?
If you also find yourself overwhelmed by the process of year-end review and next year’s planning, I encourage you to simplify the process. Ask only the most important questions of the most important areas of your life. This can be different for everyone and that’s how it’s supposed to be. We all are at different stages of life, different circumstances, different states of personal development: as our reviews are not the same, we can’t have the same goals and plans either. Just do it your way!
The first questions you need to answer are:
which are the most important things in my life?
in which areas of my life I feel the need to change or improve right now?
You shouldn’t name more than three if you don’t want to grow thin here. If you’ve had a great year – unlike me – and scored your goals, then the answer for the second question probably will be different. This time I have the same answers for both. If you do too, don’t worry, that’s fine!
How to break down your Goals?
After determining my main focus, I have to decide in what ways I want to change and improve. To make this easier I chose a “word of the year“. Ok, it’s getting complicated, so to help you better understand, I share my personal Goal Planning Process with you.
My Goal Planning Process
As I told you earlier, last year I felt that I miserably failed at mothering and my responsibilities in family life. So my answer to the above questions is MOTHERING and FAMILY.
I am an introverted person with a large family who hardly gets what she needs in regard to her personality. So I must admit that unconsciously I’ve disconnected myself far too often to save my sanity. Now I have to work on reconnecting, especially with my teens – consciously. They accepted life as it happened, but they need more of me. So my #1 priority as a mother to build a strong family connection and bond with my husband and children again. It means that my word for this year is “CONNECTING”. Having this word helps to keep my focus when breaking down my goals. Sure I have a lot to do in this department next year and I am determined to score this goal. Just a few of my break-down lists:
purposeful one on one time with my children
figuring out love languages and focusing on them
pray for them – much more
As for the Family:
Purposeful Family Time
Bring back Family Devotions
Encourage sibling relationships.
A double on relationships
If you think about it, in our house we maintain 55 relationships. That’s a huge job for each of us. In 2 months time, when we welcome our new addition to the family this number goes up to 66. Wow! That’s scary but awesome at the same time. Life is all about relationships and I’m so grateful that my children have this immeasurable opportunity to experience and learn to maintain relationships within the family. Most people get this chance outside of their family.
How many relationships do you have in your home? Easy-peasy calc. x*(x-1)/2. x is the number of your family members. For example, if you have a family of 5, you have 5*4/2 = 10 relationships in your home. Tell me in the comments how many relationships you maintain in your family?
Follow up with your Goals!
Getting back to goal setting. I’ve found as a visual type of person, that to increase productivity I need to SEE my goals. I’ve also realized that my children like to see what they get, so I made our family calendar to serve this purpose and put our goals on the calendar too. Our January looks like this:
You may see that beside the main areas I focus on, I have another one that serves the primary areas. I also have other “supportive areas” listed in my Bullet Journal but my kids don’t need to see those. The point of these smaller, additional goals is to support the main goals.
Grab a Calendar!
You want a calendar like this? It can be yours and you can personalize even before printing it! Download it for free, open in Adobe Reader or a browser, type in your goals, save and print! Or just print out and handwrite your goals.
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I'm a wife to a wonderful man and mother of 9, soon-to-be-10 amazing kids. I'm constantly working on to be the mom I always wanted to be, and to make our house to be my dream-home finally. My goal is to help and encourage you to be the best mom you can be.