Even though I know the rate of success of a New Year’s resolution is very low, I still like to work on my personal growth every year. It is something I started to focus on after having my daughter. The thought of only being a mom was not enough for me and I wanted more. Due to the lack of hours in my day, I started to have, I knew how important it was to learn how to set life goals after having kids. I needed a plan!
It’s important to better understand yourself and what you are trying to accomplish over the next 6 months to one year. Even if it’s just a crazy idea floating in your head, like running a marathon, I am 100% sure you can figure out some ways to complete your life goals.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are only the beginning, working on your mental blocks and how to overcome your previous failures can provide you with better chances of success. Life is not a series of successes we see on social media, we all have a hard time and fail at things. It’s okay.
What you do with your failures can make you stronger.
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Understand S.M.A.R.T. goals
The reason we are using this formula it’s mostly because it works. As parents, we don’t have a lot of time anymore, after homework, cooking, cleaning, putting the kids to bed and having some sort of life with your partners there is not a lot of time left. Be smart and learn how to set life goals after having kids. Plan them right and let’s work together to make them a reality.
Specific: Is it something that can be easily identified when you complete it? For example, “I want to lose weight” vs ” I want to lose 20 pounds”.
Measurable: Is there a clear criteria? Measurable is often referred to as a unit of measure, for example, “I want more money” vs “I want to pay down 5000$ from my debt”.
Achievable: Is your goal something that you can accomplish, something that is possible? As much as we would like not everyone has an equal amount of potential or starts from the same place. I would love to believe I can make millions of dollars, but the reality is that I don’t want to work that much to achieve this.
Realistic: Even for a big challenge, is it something that you can physically and mentally do? Can you prepare for it? Are you able to commit to it? For example, “I don’t ever want to work again and live on an island” may not be reachable for most.
I truly believe if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it, but if you never ran in your life, running a marathon in the next month might not be realistic for you at the moment. Yes, you can divide it into smaller actions, like starting to run a 5km. It’s okay to have life goals but don’t make it so big that you get discouraged.
Time Framed: Does your goal have a specific end? A duration? Even if your endpoint might be in a long time from now, be sure to set up smaller milestones along the way. “I want more money” vs “I want to save 1,000$ over the next 6 months”.
What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?
S.M.A.R.T. goals can provide you with a direction, a guide for you to follow instead of just saying things out loud. For example, a lot of people say things like “I want to lose weight”. How will you do it? What does losing weight mean to you? If you were to wake up tomorrow and the scale shows 30 pounds less, but you feel the same and look the same will the number on the scale matter? Is it a feeling you are looking for? A look maybe? Do you want more muscles or fit in a certain outfit? What does it all mean?
How to set life goals after having kids can be difficult, but there are steps you can take to ensure you plant it right. For example, by setting objectives, a way to measure when you are on the right track and realistic goals you will have a better chance of success. When that is done, divide them into smaller achievable milestones you will have a plan and it will become easier to take action.
Instead of “I want to lose weight” and saying “I want to lose 5 pounds this month” you know what you want. It will not be enough to keep you going forever, but already you have a better idea of what you are working on in the next 30 days.
Motivation and understanding the true meaning of your behind your choices will make or break you. By digging deep you will have a better knowledge of your values, your why and what will keep you going. The next section will be about getting what you want!
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Intrinsic motivation and why it matters
Intrinsic motivation comes from within, which you will need. This type of motivation will ensure that you are engaged in your success, you will need to find a way to include pleasure and satisfaction. Do the steps you are choosing make you happy? Are they enjoyable? If the answer is no, find a way to adjust your goal so you have fun in the process.
Motivation will not just come to you. If part of your new training regimen is to wake up early to workout, trust me some mornings you just won’t want to do it. You will roll back in bed and tell yourself “I will do it tomorrow”. Over time, these patterns will grow and make it harder and harder to break.
When you set S.M.A.R.T. goals, you will have a true understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. You will understand your values and personal fulfillment, this will help you when you want to quit or want to postpone your goal for the next day.
What is extrinsic motivation?
Extrinsic motivation is when you ask for help from an outside group, praise and support from your family member. Both types of motivation will be necessary for your success, but external help is not quite enough.
Whenever you decide on a new behaviour, direct input from social life can motivate you to begin your journey. For example, you want to be more active to keep up with your growing children. Even though the reason for your goal is coming from an external source, there will always be a part of you that is seeking internal satisfaction.
External factors are less likely to be sustainable in the long term, so it will be important to reframe your goals to ensure internal satisfaction. For example, if you do want to be more active with your children, do you also want to feel less tired and have more energy daily? Feel better about yourself and your own body?
5 main barriers that can show up
Get your notebook out and answer the following questions!
1. Confidence: Have you experienced any struggles or failures with health, nutrition, or fitness in the past?
2. Setting Unrealistic Goals:
- What are your long-term goals?
- What is the timeframe you would like to reach this goal in?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being 100% confident), how confident are you that you will achieve this?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being 100% motivated), how motivated do you feel to make these changes?
- What do you believe could happen that would de-motivate you?
4. Time Commitment
- How much time do you believe it will take you to implement these changes, including preparation, exercise, or other needed activities?
- What other responsibilities (work, school, family, etc) could potentially get in the way of the time you need to dedicate to this?
- What times of the day and week will you schedule the needed activities? (Take out a weekly calendar and plan everything you will need to do.)
- What type of support do you need to implement this wellness program?
- Who will support you?
- Are there any groups you can join or new accountability partners you can connect with?
- Are there any people who will be unsupportive or dissuade you from making progress?
9 Strategies for Overcoming Barriers
1. Use a strengths-based approach
- What are your strengths that will help you in this area?
- What resources and/or options do you have related to this area?
2. Processing feelings
- How are you feeling about the process and your progress?
- Track after each step what you have accomplished and how you feel about it.
3. Use strategic thinking in the process
- Are there any responsibilities or activities that you are currently spending time on that could be eliminated or delegated, allowing you to focus more of your energy on your wellness plan?
- Are there any other problems you are facing with making these lifestyle changes?
- If so, what are some solutions you can think of?
4. Be ready to change
- Do you feel like you have the tools and knowledge to succeed? If not, what do you feel like you need?
- What specific challenges or obstacles may you face?
- What are you ready to do right now?
- Do you need any more information and tools to move forward?
5. Make the journey experimental
Remember that everything is a learning experience and that your strategy will adapt and evolve. Some days will work very well and some days won’t, all experiences good are bad are still experiences. Work on your mindset of letting go of only the result.
6. Make your goals value-based but outside of your comfort zone
- Do you feel that your plan and action you have taken so far toward your goals are in alignment with your values? How?
- Are there any areas where you would need to change your strategy to be more in alignment?
- Do you feel like any of the changes you are working on pushing you outside of your comfort zone?
- What routines are you or will you be changing?
- In what areas do you see you might need to plan to hold yourself accountable?
- What can you do to remind yourself to take the actions you need to take? (For instance, you could leave yourself notes, set yourself alarm reminders, etc.)
8. Build Rapport
- What can you do to create a relationship of trust from the beginning?
9. Celebrate Success
- What can you do to celebrate milestones and progress?
If you are ready to learn more about cognitive behaviours and what are the 15 limited beliefs and patterns that are stopping you from getting what you want, continue reading here.
How to set life goals after having kids?
You might have your specific goals in mind or just a vague idea. If you know what you want you can jump to step 3 below.
Write down everything you don’t want or are not interested in doing anymore.
From the list of what you don’t want, turn each item into something you want or something you would like to work towards. For example “I don’t want to eat junk food anymore” or “I want to introduce more healthy options in my lifestyle”.
For each goal or area of your life you want to work on or improve, answer the following questions:
- Write down what success would look or feel like for you.
- What results would you be able to notice?
- How would you know if you have reached your goal?
- How would you measure your success?
Write down the reasons you want to achieve this. What are you trying to achieve? How will this impact your life? What is the real reason you want to make this change?
On a piece of paper, write down the name of your goal, in the short-term, what does complete it look like? In the end, how will you know you are done?
For each of your goals, answer the following questions:
- Is it something that can be easily identified when you reach it?
- Would you be able to identify that you have reached it?
- Is there a clear criteria?
- Is your goal something that you can accomplish, something that is possible?
Even for a big challenge, is it something that you can physically and mentally do? Can you prepare for it? Are you able to commit to it? Does it have a specific end? A duration? Write down what you want (not just a task you want to accomplish), what are you looking for?
Last thing to know
Whether or not you have an idea of what you want to do in your life, having a series of smaller goals can help you. In all aspects of life, from family, health, relationships, work etc. Learning how to set life goals after having kids can be a life changer.
We all know plans can change, things happen and the timeframe you might have set might fall through. Plans can be rewritten if needed. In the guide I am providing, I am breaking down each section, how to set your short and long-term goals? What action can you take today that is bringing you closer?
If you are looking for a life coach to assist you in organizing your thoughts, how to reduce the stress in your life and want to develop a way to approach your goals. Schedule your free call with me!