There’s work and school and dinner to be made. You have bills to pay, errands to run and events to attend. How do people have time for themselves?
By creating a routine, you can identify your non-negotiables and be flexible with the rest. You can pinpoint what habits bring you energy and which ones are time-wasters.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR ROUTINE
The key is not to add to your schedule, but to simplify it. Use these tips to create a routine that helps you reach your goals.
1. Write down your set-time essentials.
For example: wake and bed times, work/school start and end times, meal times.
2. Write down your flexible essentials.
For example: chores, errands, reply to emails.
3. Choose one goal to add to your schedule.
Referring to your goal list you made, choose ONE goal and find a free time for it in your schedule each day. For example: go to the gym, quiet Bible study time, play a game with the kids
4. Update your goals as you reach them.
Reaching your goals will be measured by your own standards. Do you want to do the same thing 21 days in a row? Three times a week for a month? Set your specifics and reward your milestones. Then build on what you’ve accomplished.
As you reach your goals, you may need to take them off the chart and replace them with a new goal. Other times, you may want to build on that goal by keeping your first goal in place and finding another chunk of time to work on your second goal.
Your routine should basically stay the same from day to day, with minor adjustments as you go throughout the year. The key to reaching goals is consistency, so try not to rock the routine too much, otherwise it won’t set in and become automatic.
Have big goals but not making any progress on reaching them? Follow these six steps to set yourself up for success and learn why you’re getting stuck.
WHY YOU’RE NOT REACHING YOUR GOALS
So you’ve set a goal. You want to get up early, you want to eat healthier, you want to be more present with your family, but…it’s not happening. Why?
You did all this work setting these big goals and dreams, but life is too busy, fast food is too convenient, plus there’s your job, and the house and all the other stuff you can’t think of right now because you’re too tired to remember.
Well friend, it’s not hopeless for you. I promise! You just need a few things in place to help set yourself up for success. For example, you wouldn’t expect your kids to learn to read without giving them a few tools and practices to start, right? You can’t just throw a few books at a kid and say READ! You use strategies:
GOAL: Get MY child to read
Enroll in school
Buy easy reader books to have at home
Read to my child daily
Teach her the ABCs
Practice letter sounds
So why do we set ourselves up for failure when it comes to reaching our own goals? I’m speaking to the choir here. Why do I tell myself to eat healthier and then add chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches to the grocery list?
The problem isn’t with our goals, the problem is the strategies we use to achieve them.
6 STEPS TO REACHING YOUR GOALS
First, if you haven’t set goals for yourself, go back and read this post.
Then choose ONE goal you want to work on. I know you’re going to want to tackle them all, but too much at once is setting yourself up for failure. Focus on ONE goal at a time.
The impatient part of me is struggling with this too. I want to go faster, I want to do more! But seriously, go slow. Get good at ONE goal, and then build on it. Don’t go halfway on a goal and then pick up another one along the way. Chances are, you’ll reach neither. Get good at one thing before you move to the next.
1. NARROW IT DOWN
Want to exercise more? Great! But if you expect to be motivated every day for the next 30 days, you’re kidding yourself. Try to pinpoint specifics you want to accomplish, rather than general ideas.
“Exercise more” vs “I want to exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week.”
“Sell my crafts online” vs “I want to open an Etsy shop, create 5 new products and buy business cards by the end of the year.”
“Be more present with my kids” vs “I want to set a bedtime for my kids where I’ll read a story to them each night and play a board game after school.”
2. GET MOTIVATED
Why is it that you are even working toward this goal? Write down all the reasons you want to achieve it and refer to it when you feel like making excuses or giving up.
GOAL: EAT HEALTHIER
Increase my energy
Lower my cholesterol levels
Reduce the amount of medications I take
Improve my moods
Model healthy eating habits for my children
3. MAKE IT REALISTIC
You may be super excited about reaching big goals, but you have to be realistic in what you’re asking of yourself. If you’re wanting your child to potty train, you can’t expect it to happen overnight. Any area where you want to grow will take time and patience.
GOAL: LEARN HOW TO PLAY THE PIANO
Buy a beginner’s book. (1 week)
Learn how to read music. (1 month)
Memorize scales. (1 month)
Play a song using two hands. (1 week)
Learn Moonlit Sonata. (2 weeks)
4. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Find a way to track your progress that you enjoy. Is it checking off a list? Marking off dates on the calendar? Tally marks on the bathroom mirror? Make it fun! Get creative! Buy a cute notebook and write down what you did each day to get yourself closer to the end goal.
5. REWARD YOURSELF
There will be bumps along the way. There will be days where you want to skip, cheat or quit. Give yourself tangible checkpoints to set up little rewards along the way.
GOAL: WRITE A BOOK
Read 3 books by authors I admire in that genre (get to shop for a writer’s notebook)
Brainstorm ideas and set up an outline (can watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see)
Have a goal of reading 52 books in a year? Well it’s June and you’re at 12, so maybe you need to change up your goal instead of neglecting everything else to try and keep up! Remember, these goals are to help you become a better version of yourself, not to turn yourself into a stressed out, to-do-list-making monster.
If you feel like maybe you need to break your goal down further, or set the deadline to a later date, that’s your call! You are the one in charge, set yourself up for success, not failure!
PRINT YOUR GOAL WORKSHEET
I’ve created a fun and simple worksheet that you can print to help you break down your BIG GOAL into SMALL STEPS. Print yours here. Refer to this example on how to fill it out:
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Want a little more guidance on where to start? Then check out this NEW Goal Setting Workbook I created just for you! You can find it in my shop here:
The key from going from survival mode to intentional living is to make changes. Set goals and habits to get you where you want to be.
*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.
LIVING OUT GROUNDHOG DAY
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.
HOW WE GET INTO SURVIVAL MODE
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 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.
HOW TO GET OUT OF SURVIVAL MODE
1. SET YOUR INTENTION
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.)
2. SET SOME GOALS
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?
3. SET SOME HABITS
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.
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:
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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. I’ve created a NEW Goal Setting Workbook to help you take the first steps. You can order it in my shop: