Those of us who make New Year’s resolutions are usually derailed just a few short weeks into the year. If you are in this camp, don’t despair. I will give you six proven tips for getting back on track and staying there.
1. Set goals, not resolutions
Most resolutions fail because they require a big and immediate behavior change: for example, launch web site by February 15, or lose 10 pounds by Spring. Setting goals instead of resolutions gives you flexibility to choose different paths to your goal, and to break them down into manageable steps. For example, rather than simply listing “launch web-site by February 15,” first learn about the steps involved in creating web sites. Step one might be research different web-hosting companies geared to small business. Decide how much time you will devote to the research. Then block your calendar on specific days at specific times to do the research. Step two might be choosing a logo. Decide whether this is something you are good at, or should delegate, and precede accordingly.
2.Give guilt the boot
You deserve success. Moms trying to make strides in a venture or hobby often carry a heavy burden: guilt. Baby boomers and women from traditional families often feel guilty if they are not “all Mom, all the time”. This view is unrealistic and unhelpful. In fact, when your children see you working, they are learning important life skills. Furthermore, if your creative or intellectual side is fulfilled, you will be happier. Research supports what you already know: that when Mom is content, the whole family is happier.
3. Think about what you really want Write down the goals most meaningful to you. Start a journal and answer the following:
What do I want to achieve in my business/hobby?
How much time am I willing to devote to it?
How do I see myself in one, three or five years from now?
4. Prioritize and break goals down into small steps
The other obstacle most moms face is finding the time and energy for their many responsibilities. Most of us over-estimate how much we can accomplish in a day. I highly recommend writing down all the tasks you accomplish in a week, or even a full month. Get a calendar that includes 15-minute increments. Fill in every task, no matter how menial and repetitive: sleeping, driving time, doctor appointments, etc. This is an important way to learn how much time you truly have to devote to your pursuits of choice. You will then be able to better predict how many weeks or months it will take to achieve the “small steps” of your goals. You might decide to delegate some of the household tasks. Break down business goals into weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual increments.
5. Review and revise Review and update your goals regularly. Fine tune them, or devise new ones. Figure out which obstacles are hindering you, and determine what you need to do to overcome them.
6. Be patient with yourself and others
Expect roadblocks: technology will fail, competition will crop up, and your children will need your guidance. Breathe, visualize yourself achieving your goal, and be patient.
You will achieve your goals, but never exactly the way you expected, and that’s OK!