Lots of people do their goal-setting at the end of the year, or the beginning of the year, or near the end or the beginning of their financial year. I just realized I do mine while on summer vacation. That makes sense, right? After all, I’ve always lived by the school calendar, even when I wasn’t in school and didn’t have kids in school.
But this year, on my annual visit to my hometown, I paid attention to the restlessness I always feel after a couple of days away from my “real life.” I sat with my coffee and my notebook and practiced a goal-setting technique I’ve seen in many places, but learned more about with Ruth Soukup’s free goal-setting resources on her blog Living Well Spending Less. I downloaded this one a few years ago and went through the motions and I can actually say that I met some of my goals at the time by articulating my goals and steps in her easy to follow format.
You need to sign up for her mailing list to download the Goal Setting Workbook, but I am recommending this because it’s one of the only newsletters I actually read! This isn’t a sponsored post, just a resource I often recommend to people. I also like Samantha Ettus’s book The Pie Life for a more in-depth examination of the working parent life.
Anyway, I’ve done this exercise enough times that I can just do it on my own. Basically I list the main areas of my life:
- Mental health
- Physical health
I articulate, through journaling and reflection, what I feel could use improvement in those five main areas. Then I pick small ways (or big ones, and I break those down into small ones too) I can work toward improving those things. I pick an “action item” I can do today and give it a star.
And then I forget all about it and everything stays the same.
This time of life has been challenging. My children are getting older, I’m learning a lot at work, always missing my far-flung family and friends, redefining (again) my place in the world. I think we are all always redefining our standards: what we will tolerate and what we want to welcome into our lives.
For now that translates into a nap after work and getting up early in the morning to journal and meditate. Remembering to take my supplements and eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Practicing self-compassion and making room to succeed in all of the areas of my life.
It’s true that I identified some action steps a week ago and then promptly ignored them. But I didn’t forget—one of those actions was “write a blog post, tonight!” Self-compassion means it’s okay that “tonight” translated to “in a week!”