Have you struggled to achieve goals and create new habits as a parent? Think about the goals you have for yourself and your home. Maybe you want to organize the food pantry or stick to an exercise regimen. What keeps you from doing those things? There is likely a long list of reasons with COVID-19 and kids learning at home currently sitting at the top. In this blog, we’ll explore the speed bumps, hurdles and brick walls that keep us from achieving goals as parents, as well as ways to overcome these obstacles.
How to Achieve Goals as a Parent
Organize Your Goals
To help you prioritize and complete goals, consider writing them down. Write them all on a piece of paper and then number them in order of priority.
If your goals have to do with various spaces in your home, you can draw a blueprint of your house and list the goals in each room. Then, you can number them. The point is to find a visual representation that is best for you.
Identify Your Motivation
Once you’ve got a working list, ask yourself why you want to achieve each goal. Your answer will likely fall in one of two camps. The first is, “This is something I really want to do.” The second is, “This is something that I feel I should want to do.”
The latter motivation probably won’t carry you across the finish line. It’s important that you think about why you should do something. If the goal really does seem beneficial, find other reasons to be motivated. For example, if exercising more is on your list simply because you feel like you should exercise more, consider the benefits you’ll enjoy. Better energy levels and mood, increased stamina and endurance for keeping up with the kids and better sleep typically come with physical activity. Make these your motivators.
Practice Self Discipline
When motivation and drive fail us, self-discipline needs to be the backup battery. Self-discipline is a learned skill that quickly goes away when not practiced. What’s the best way to practice self-discipline? When you are tired or lack interest, take the next step to achieving your goal anyway. Keep in mind that every decision you make contributes to whether or not you will achieve your goal.
Acknowledge the Time Commitment
How many projects have gone half-finished because you ran out of time or energy? Many goals can be worked towards in daily or weekly increments. Other goals require that you set aside the time to complete the work all at once. An example of this could be reorganizing your kitchen cabinets. If you leave displaced kitchen items scattered around the house with the goal of reorganizing, you’ll likely give up and put everything back without any new system of organization.
Activate Your Family to Help
Remember that time you successfully cleaned the house only to have it demolished in seconds with shoes, back packs, jackets, toys, etc.? With the kids home for school, it will help to communicate what you are working on and expectations for how the family will positively contribute. It could be as small as putting shoes in a designated location or as big as delegating part of the job.
If your goal is to implement a new system of organization, it’s very important that you communicate how the new system will work. Visuals, like posters, may help. This can also be used as a learning opportunity for your kids to learn organizational skills.
If you are working towards an exercise or fitness goal, consider incorporating the family into your workouts or offer fun ways for them to hold you accountable. For example, you can offer that if you get in three days of exercise every week for a month, the family will go get ice cream or go to the beach. This may motivate little ones to let you get your exercise in.
Recognize Personal Challenges
Some people really struggle to implement good habits when it comes to organization and time management. This can be a result of executive functioning issues that are linked to several mental or learning disorders. This does not mean you are incapable of strengthening your organizational skills but having insight into your own challenges will help you determine how to move forward.
If this is an area you struggle with, it’s likely you will see it in at least one of your children as well. This is your opportunity to help you and your child establish helpful life skills. Please contact me if you would like to discuss any of these concepts further.