A few months ago I signed up to run local 10k in April. For many of the 40k participants, this race is a great local pastime. Some train, others don’t, but everyone comes out for it and it is a great event. They even have a service at the Cathedral to bless the runners beforehand!
For me, the race was to be my premier race following the birth of our fourth child last June. My comeback. It was important. Therefore, I set some lofty goals to help motivate me to train through the winter months. One, in particular, was a time goal that was relatively fast and required a good amount of speed training.
As my goal-setting was transpiring, I could almost see my husband doing an interior rolling of the eyes, “Why do you have to set your sights so high? he asked, “Why not go out and enjoy yourself like everyone else out there?” “Because,” I responded. That’s all I could come up with. Because.
After thinking through it more and considering why I was putting myself through undue stress, it hit me.
GOALS. As a mother, I’m not forced to have them. I don’t have anyone looking over my shoulder to measure my progress. I don’t have an annual report or review. It’s all up to me. As a result, I need personal goals now in my life more than ever. Without goals, I can potentially lolly around with no direction and no sense of achievement. I can float from mom task to mom task without noticing the minutes and hours quickly passing. Life can take on superficiality and carelessness. My interactions with my children can be meaningless and without purpose. Life can just be.
Goals. They are my prescription for all the moms out there this Mother’s Day 2011. We need them. Sometimes we begrudge them. But oh, they are so good for us.
For my master’s thesis, I studied the correlation between goal-setting and achievement in my eighth grade student body. The answers I found were obvious. If a student set goals for a particular task, he/she was much more likely to attain the goal and potentially push past previous performance toward greater achievement. Excellent. Here’s the caveat: The more specific the goal, the more likely it was to be achieved.
Therefore, if a mom wakes up one morning and says, “I’d really like to be more organized.” That’s a good start. But if she continues and says, “Today I aim to organize my junk drawer.” Then, voila!, her likelihood of success is much greater. Perhaps other specific goals need to also follow to ensure the success of the first goal, like, “Today I am going to be showered and dressed by 9am” which would inevitably lead to greater productivity and the greater chance that she will, in fact, get around to cleaning that drawer!
Think of this as a glorified to-do list. It has tasks, but each is more specific and defined. Each task should have a timeline for when it is to be completed. Each task should also have an appropriate plan in place as to how it is to get done. “Clean the garage” is no longer acceptable. It needs to be “Today: Remove bikes and toys then sweep the garage”; “Tomorrow: hose down toys and bikes, hose down garage floor, let all dry”; etc. etc. You get the picture.
Goals. Let’s make ’em, moms. Let’s fashion them specifically, appropriately, and within reach. And then let’s achieve them. Cheers to a well-earned Mother’s Day from your life coach (haha), B-mama ;).