Goal Series Week 1: Setting Goals and Habits to Break Free From Survival Mode

setting goals

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There once was a hilarious, quirky film starring Bill Murray called Groundhog Day that was about one man reliving the same day over and over again. At first it was fun, then it was infuriating, and then it was a quest to find meaning in the moment.

Cue the current quarantine.

At first we had fun staying home from school and work, and then it became scary and overwhelming with seclusion and homeschooling. Now I’m trying to get to the point where I’m accepting what’s happening and find the meaning in the moment.

But really, this is wearing me down. I feel like I’m living the same day on repeat, and frankly it sucks. I’m bored, I’m grumpy, I’m tired. I go through these phases of high productivity (mask making and blog development) to days of Netflix and junk food. (Can anyone relate?)

It’s not just the quarantine that leaves us feeling empty and alone though. We’ve all experienced times in our lives when we felt like we were just going through the motions.

Survival mode is not something I’ve only been in once and finally figured a way out of one day. It’s a recurring pattern of getting stuck and learning to live intentionally again and again.

Intentional living is a daily choice. Some days you succeed, others you grab a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and binge The Office.

setting goals


I’ve noticed a trend in the times I’ve hunkered down into survival mode. It’s always during a big life change. For example:

  • Moving halfway across the country for college and then regretting it immediately
  • Becoming a newly wed and realizing that adulthood is a lot harder than it looks
  • Getting my first teaching job and being so insecure about my ability to succeed
  • Having my first baby and feeling like I would never get any sleep again
  • Being diagnosed with a controversial disease and thinking my life was over

Being stuck in survival mode is like prison. You feel like there’s no hope, no escape and it will always be like this. But you know what? These are all lies.

Fear keeps us imprisoned, hope gives us freedom. You know how I conquered all of these fears? I learned to quit my endless pity party (it’s ok to acknowledge these things are real and they are hard, but not to stay there), and make a change.

You know how Bill Murray ends the cycle in Groundhog Day? He changes. He stops becoming selfish and bitter and accepts that this may be his fate and makes the best of it. Now I’m not saying that you are selfish or bitter, I’m only saying that in order for life to look more hopeful, we need to become more hopeful.

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (I’m guilty of this!) So let’s make a few changes and see how it affects our results.

setting goals



Determine whether you will take control of your life or whether this obstacle will take control of you. (The circumstance may not change, but your mindset about it can.)


Write down your personal goals. How do you want to feel each morning? What do you want to accomplish each day? Each week? Each month? By the end of this year? In the next five years?


Write down habits to get you there. Wake up earlier to feel more refreshed before the kids wake up. Go on a walk each afternoon to take a break from work. Take an online class to learn more about what interests you.

setting goals


I have an entire Goal Planning Workbook dedicated to this very idea of going from survival mode to intentional living. It’s FREE to download when you subscribe to my weekly newsletter. Enter your email and get it in your inbox instantly! I’d love to help you find motivation in this difficult time. You can sign up here:

setting goals


It wasn’t my own brilliant idea to create goals and habits, but rather I discovered it through a compilation of resources I found during my search to conquer difficult transitions. Here are some my absolute favorites for getting yourself out of a rut, changing your mindset and setting goals for yourself:


If you’re in survival mode, that’s ok! But remember, life won’t always be like this, and you will get through it and see how far you’ve come. You’ve got this!

Now check out all the posts in my goal series here:

For more encouragement, I’d love for you to join my email list! Sharing our ups and downs are what get us through these crazy times. You can always reply directly to any email and I’ll write you back. Let’s be friends!


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