Monthly Goal Setting : Things I Do Daily, Weekly and Monthly To Create Balance
We have all heard of that magical word: BALANCE. The concept of balance can be such a struggle that many have come to the opinion that balance doesn’t truly exist. Can we really balance multiple things so that our heart feels fulfilled in all areas of our life? While some question it’s possibility, I believe it is possible to create balance. Notice how I say create, as I think balance is something we need to be intentional with and it will look different for each of us, since we all have different things we need to balance. As a stay-at-home mom of a 2 year old and a 1 year old, who owns and runs a photography business from home, I have really studied and prayed about this concept of balance to make sure that my heart is at peace with how I handle all of my responsibilities and ensures that I go to sleep at night knowing I did my best. It’s not to say that I have the perfect balance secret, but have learned that monthly goal setting is my biggest ticket to balancing home, work, motherhood, faith, me time, and photography.
So many have asked me how I manage to make time for photography, my business, publishing eBooks and personal projects, while staying home full time with two young children. It is all about being really intentional with my time. To give you a little glimpse at my approach to creating and feeling balanced and being intentional with my time, here are things that I do daily, weekly and monthly to create balance and make time for myself in the form of monthly goal setting.
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Monthly Goal Setting : Things I Do Daily, Weekly and Monthly To Create Balance
If you don’t have a goal planner, I urge you to get one. This is my third year using a goal planner and it has honestly changed my life. And I don’t say that lightly, I honest to goodness know that this planner has done amazing things for me. I started using one right after my first baby was born, as I needed a little something to encourage me to continue creating personal goals to ensure that my business and self continued to thrive, while taking on the most beautiful job ever: being a mama. I think goal setting is one thing that we, as mamas, can do for ourselves to ensure that we continue to balance our dreams and hobbies, while we pour our hearts into our babies. And because goal setting is monthly, it really encourages us to check in with our goals every 30 days (and even daily) to see what we are achieving and what we need to be more intentional about.
I make goals every month for myself and, while some goals stay the same, others change from month to month. I check in with my goals multiple times a day to make sure I am on track and to see how I need to plan my time for the day or week. When creating my monthly goals, I usually sit down around the 25th of the month to really dive deep into the next month’s goals by seeing what new things I want to achieve the next month and to see what things I would like to continue from the previous month.
To give you a clear idea of how I do this, here is a real life look at my goals and what I do daily, weekly and monthly to create balance in my life and heart.
Encouraging Words & Top Priority
On top of each month, there is a space to write encouraging words to yourself and to declare your top priority. Usually my words remind me of patience and to resist perfectionism.
When it comes to monthly goal setting, my monthly goals tend to change from month to month and are goals that usually take a little more time. I usually take a photography class, complete a Bible study, having a photo session with my girls, and read at least two books for leisure each month, as a way of carving out time for myself. Those four goals are consistent, but other goals change from month to month based on projects I am working on. Things like planning birthday parties, putting together Easter baskets, or working on an eBook are other things that I would put in the monthly goal category.
Next to each goal is a progress bar, which is my favorite part. My husband and I are both really motivated by progress bars so he understands my joy when I monitor my monthly progress with my monthly goal setting. The progress bar is so encouraging because it is a visual way to see where you are spending your time and what areas could use a little more time, throughout the month.
My weekly goals actually tend to be the same each month, as I have found these weekly things have really created balance for me. It’s important to understand that when you find something that works, it’s okay to repeat it! Ride that train! It took me awhile to really develop my system for weekly goals but they really work for me and make me feel balanced.
- Dedicated time to myself: every week, I intentionally take some time to myself. My husband knows of this weekly goal and encourages me every weekend to take some mama time, where I head out for a couple hours all on my own to do something completely for myself. Whether it’s get a pedicure or browse Target aisles by myself, it’s a time to fill my cup. No grocery shopping or errands, but something for me.
- Blog: I like to be intentional about blogging once a week, as it encourages me to keep up with my editing and helps encourage me to keep my website active.
- Clear email inbox by Friday: this is a huge business game changer for me, when balancing work and family. I like to go into each weekend with a clear inbox so that I can truly be present with my family. I like to make sure everything is buttoned up and responded to by Friday and literally delete everything in my inbox before going into my weekend. It also ensures that my correspondence is always up to date with clients, collaborations, or bookkeeping.
- Complete a nagging task: we all have those nagging tasks that we hate to do. I like to pick one, each week, and tackle it. Whether it is scheduling a doctor’s appointment, finishing an editing project, or writing a list of thank you notes, I make sure I tackle one dreaded task a week. When nagging tasks linger, it can be really disruptive to long term progress so tackling them weekly really helps make time for the big stuff.
- Purge and donate one area: I am big into organizing and maintaining order. I like to pick one area of the house each week to tidy and, if necessary, purge. Whether it is the mail station on the kitchen counter or the girls’ playroom, I pick something to organize and, if needed, donate or purge. Keeping the house tidy and minimizing things really helps everything just run smoothly.
Like my weekly goals, my daily goals have stayed the same for awhile now. I have really found the perfect rhythm for myself that creates my version of balance. Daily goals are meant to be completed and checked in on daily, allowing you to put a checkmark next to each goal/task in your goal planner.
- Read Bible: I am a 5:00am riser and I love starting my day right, with coffee and my Bible. Whether it is working on a Bible study or working on a daily reading (I am reading the Bible this year), I like to spend about 30 minutes to an hour with my Bible each morning, or day. Faith is something that pours over into motherhood, being a wife and running a business and simply helps me.
- Laundry: about 5-6 months ago I started doing one load of laundry a day to ensure laundry was never a stressor. It works! It usually takes me about 10 minutes a day and I have one load of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away usually before lunchtime. This is a simple thing that ensures that our weekends aren’t full of chores and, instead, are full of meaningful family time.
- Mama Prayer: making time daily to be grateful and pray has been really encouraging for me. It also helps me manage my stress by literally giving worries to God.
- Water: I drink 64 oz of water each day, simple as that. At the New Year, I cut myself down to only one cup of coffee per day, and the rest of the day is water.
- Patience: with a 1 year old and 2 year old, being intentional with patience really helps.
Monthly goal setting really helps me maintain balance in my life, and helps ensure that I take care of myself so that I can be the best mama and wife I can be. When I am intentional with my own personal goals, it really helps me live my best life. As mamas, we are always putting others before us. We are the cooks, cleaners, carpoolers, boo-boo kissers, and comforters. Monthly goal setting is a simple way that we can check in with ourselves and ensure that we are continuously thinking about our own personal goals.
Through the use of my goal planner, I have achieved so many goals that would have seemed nearly impossible for a mom of two little ones. It is amazing how a goal planner can be so encouraging and powerful, allowing me to put my dreams on paper. Little things like daily Bible readings turn into reading the entire Bible. Little things like daily writing turn into published eBooks. One thing that I have learned is that little things turn into big things, so small daily tasks are just as important as big goals.
Do yourself a favor and give monthly goal setting a chance. I promise you that putting your goals on paper is so powerful in creating balance and making time in your life to do all the things that you love.
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