Often times when I meet new or young parents they tell me all their fantastic dreams and goals for their children and how they are going to help their child achieve these milestones, which is fantastic! Then I turn the question around and ask the parent, what are your goals?
More often than not parents put themselves on the back burner, as this is something we have to do instinctively when babies are first born as their needs can usually only be met by us. As time goes on we pour more and more of ourselves into our children, and that is okay! But did you ever hear the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? Well that is true both literally and figuratively.
When the script is flipped and parents are given time to think about themselves, magical things happen. Not only do they thrive but their children thrive as well, watching their parents achieve their goals is a wonderful experience for a child.
Goal setting can sound daunting as we often feel pressure to be the best, or do the most. What I like to remind parents is that goals can be big and small. Maybe the goal is to take care of your mental well-being. The tasks to achieve this goal may be big or small as well. A task for that example of a goal might be big like “attend counseling” or they might be small like “deep breathe for 10 seconds” Either way, big or small, crossing a task off on your goal list feels phenomenal and keeps you motivated!
Goal setting keeps you focused and reminds you that you are doing enough and can help you determine what you want in life. As goals are completed, you will find other things you want to achieve that you may have never thought of before. Say, for example, your task for a “better mental well-being” goal is to find time to deep breathe. Once you have accomplished that task it could open the door to learning how to meditate, or sign up for a yoga class or even just reflecting that maybe you need more support to manage your mental well-being.
Here is a simple goal setting worksheet. All you need to do is plug in one or two specific goals and work your way through the rest. The nice thing about this sheet is that it helps you identify how you can reach your goal and allows space for error, as your lives change, your goals can change too. When the sheet is all filled hang it somewhere where you can see it and reflect on your progress.
Always be patient and kind to yourself on your journey. Always tell yourself that you are doing the best you can!