Goal Setting Tips #4 and #5:: From Paper to Progress

Goals are great and dreaming is fine. But if it never goes past the tip of the pen all your wonderful plans and ideas stay just that ….. ideas.

Wishes, not reality.

This was my problem for a looooooong time. I was a list maker (Oooh, I love lists!); but not a list finisher. In all honesty, this is the area I struggle in the most. There’s been progress; but I have a ways to go.

While the other tips I’ve shared so far are, I believe, very important. These next two might be the most important.

Before we move on let’s review:




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So, I’ve made my list of what I want to accomplish this year and things I think God is calling me to do. I’ve looked at areas  where my family needs me most and I’ve  determined some things I need to cut out. I’ve made my Best Stuff List so I don’t get distracted by the urgent or the unimportant.

I do make goals for the year; but I like making my Best Stuff List for just a season. A season could be for a few months, for the summer, or while you are potty training. A year is so long and life has a way of changing unexpectedly. I wrote a post about My Best Stuff List here a few months ago. Looking back now, my priorities were a little different back then. My Best Stuff List is not the same today.

Now I’m ready to take on some of those goals (and areas where I need to do better) and get to work!

How do I turn it from just “I wish I could do this.” or “I wish I could be better at….” to  “I did it!” or “I’m definitely seeing progress!” or “God is working!”

I believe there are two steps you need to take next. First, make your goals specific and something you can measure. Then, write down the baby steps you are going to take to accomplish your ultimate goal. These steps are Goal Setting Tips #4 and #5.

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Let me use one of my goals as an example:

The area of my life that has needed a big reboot is my sleeping habits. This area has progressively gotten worse ever since The Hubs started working nights. It started with me not being able to go sleep when he wasn’t there. In time, I did get use to it; but it was too late. I had a developed a horrible habit. On most nights I stay up past midnight. Some nights I only get between 5 and 6 hours of sleep. At the most I get between 6 and 7; but that’s not the average. This is not good for me and has definitely had an effect on several areas of my life.

One big area (besides being tired) this has hindered me in is that I often get up with my kids. Because of this it’s hard to have a quiet time in the morning and I always feel like I’m playing catch up. School gets started later than I’d like and I don’t have the time in the morning to gather my thoughts or have some time to myself. I hit the floor running.

I could just say, “I need more sleep.”; but I’m going to use my goal setting tips to help me map out a plan so I can succeed. I need to be specific and have a goal I can measure:

My goal is getting 7-71/2 hours of sleep every night. I want to go to bed early enough where I can wake up before my kids and have time to myself each morning. (There are those special instances that you cannot help. There are late night activities, sick kids during the middle of the night, etc.)

Now, I have to make a plan.

Breaking down my goals into bite sized pieces is the key for me. Writing down the steps helps tremendously. Daily or (weekly) reminding myself of those goals is the final piece to the puzzle that helps me stay focused.

Here’s the steps I’m going to (attempt) follow:

  1. Decide when I want to wake up. What do I want to accomplish before the kids get up? Once I figure that out, I know how much earlier I want to wake before my kids. For me that time is 6 a.m. (Oooh, that sounds early!)
  2. Now I know that I should be snoozing around 10:30. Simple subtraction; but not so simple to do. What keeps me from going to bed at a decent hour?
  3. Well, for me, I’ve decided I need a hard stop time. That means no matter what I’m doing I stop at 10 p.m. That gives me half an hour to wrap things up. I can lock up  the house, check on the kiddos and let the dog out one last time. I can brush my teeth, put on my pj’s, you get the picture.
  4. This means my nightly routine needs to be done by 10. I wrote about the 5 things I do each night before I went to bed here. I need to get these things done as early in the night as possible. When I wait to clean up the dinner dishes, I end up doing it late at night when I should be cozy in my bed.

Getting up at 6 is just not the norm for me. So, right now I’m shooting for 6:30 and working my way to 6:00. Baby Steps.

I can use these small but measurable steps for any goal; but ultimately, I just have to get off my butt and be diligent. That takes will power. No one can do that for me. No plan can make me do anything. I have to decide to succeed and believe that I can. I think these steps can really help, though, and give me the direction I need.

So, here’s to one night owl trying to change her ways!


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