Four easy steps to actually reach your goals

Making goals is easy. Reaching goals is hard. If you’re sick and tired of setting goals and just giving up a couple weeks in, this is the process for you!

It’s that time of year again. Four weeks ago everyone set goals, told everyone they know about the Keto-Paleo-Vegan-No Carb-Gluten-Free Diet that was going to totally change their life when they finally lose those 20 pounds that they’ve been trying to lose for the better part of a decade. People joined gyms, bought treadmills, started meal planning and said triumphantly, “This is my year!”

But now the gyms are back to the regulars with a couple new additions of people who are keeping the course, those meal prep containers that were an impulse buy from Amazon are sitting unused in the cabinet, and cheesy carbo-loaded pasta casseroles are back on the menu.

That was so totally me for YEARS (and still is sometimes!), but one day I had just had enough of just getting through life. I was walking to my car after work and all of a sudden for some reason I just stopped and said out loud “What the heck am I doing with my life?”

So I went home and started writing the things down I wanted to accomplish. I started with the broad strokes, then I got super granular. And the craziest thing started to happen: I started meeting my goals one step at a time. Not all at once, and not even every single one because life, but definitely making progress. 

HOW TO SET GOALS YOU’LL ACTUALLY KEEP

1)  Start with the big picture

I’m a Google Drive gal, so I typically open a Google Doc and start typing my goals using broad sweeping terms like more and less. Use whatever system you like: pen and paper, a note-taking app, whatever works for you.

Big picture goals are things like:

  • Read more
  • Weigh less
  • Be more intentional in my life

2) Get specific

Be really specific about your goals, but also be realistic! If you’ve never run a day in your life, setting the goal to run a sub-3:00 hour marathon might be a bit unrealistic.

Let’s say your goal is to read more. More is a pretty ambiguous word, it means something different to everyone. If you’re a real bookworm, more might mean read 2 books a week instead of just one. If you’re more of a Netflix and popcorn gal, more might mean actually read a book this year.

Let’s say you’re somewhere in between, so a specific goal would be:

  • Read 12 books this year

3) Get granular

This is where it starts to feel like you’re being silly. But this is also a step beyond what most people do!

So, you’ve set your specific goal of reading 12 books a year, which in your head you’re thinking, “That’s an average of one a month! Perfect! Good.To.Go”

Exactly. One per month. That’s your sub-goal!

4) What can you do TODAY?

Taking it one step further, ask yourself, “What can I do TODAY to help me reach my goal?”

And then break it down. If in order to read one book each month you need to read for 15 minutes a day, then put a reminder in your phone, pencil it in your calendar, or add it to your daily to-do list.

Now, this was a simple goal. There are other goals that are much more complex like “become my own boss” that might require 30 subgoals and 200 daily goals or even more, but no matter what your goals are, this process WORKS.

What are your goals this year? Show me on Insta by tagging @simply.sarahmae on your post, or send me a DM!

xo- Sarah

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The secret to getting out of survival mode

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The other day in Kroger, I was paralyzed in the mustard section. Spicy Brown? Dijon? Yellow? Name brand? Store brand? Oh yeah, we also need diapers. *Adds diapers to the list* What was I doing? Oh, right. Mustard.

I stared at rows and rows of the yellowish-brown condiment for nearly 7 minutes. I could not for the life of me, just pick one. So what happened? Did I just not sleep enough the night before — probably, but I think that I was a victim of decision fatigue, which is a fancy way of saying that my brain was exhausted from doing the heavy duty of making thousands of decisions every.single.day.

Pause. I know what you’re thinking. Sarah, there’s no way you made a thousand decisions in a day.  

Oh but I did. You definitely do too, every.single.day.  

According to recent research, you are going to make 35,000 “remotely conscious” decisions today.

By contrast, our adorable chitlins are only going to make about 3,000.

So while you might not have stared aimlessly at the mustard section of your local supermarket for an inordinate amount of time, I’m sure you’ve experienced the moment when you literally couldn’t make another decision even if you wanted to.

Enter: Rhythms.

A heartbeat. The thump of a bass drum. Despacito. They all have rhythm, so why not your life?

Rhythms are these beautiful things that we just do. We do them every day, so they just happen in the background of our lives. We don’t think about them. We don’t stress about them. And we all already have them.

I love how Allie Casazza puts it on her blog, rhythms have been part of the key to “escaping survival mode in motherhood.” By having to make fewer decisions about day-to-day things, I’m happier, lighter and able to put more focus on things that actually matter: my marriage, my baby, and my brain!

My Rhythms

Since Ava was born, I realized that my old way of doing laundry just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I couldn’t just set aside an entire day to do a MOUNTAIN of laundry anymore. So I established a rhythm.

Now, first thing every morning I get up, grab the basket and start a load. At some point during the day, but usually after dinner, I’ll fold it and take it upstairs where it will get sorted and put away in 3-5 minutes by morning. It’s a little thing saving me a meltdown, raised cortisol levels, a sassy attitude with my husband.

It took a couple weeks of reminding myself, but now it just happens. And for the first time in forever, I don’t stress about doing the laundry because it’s always done. There aren’t piles and piles of it everywhere taunting me.

Some other rhythms I have:

  • Getting up early and tackling the most pressing things on my to-do list first thing in the morning

This one has been a game changer for personally, because even if my entire day hits the fan later, it’s okay because I got the most important thing done before anyone else was out of bed. It totally changed my life and my marriage.

  • Wiping down the counters, rinsing the dishes, and placing them in the dishwasher after every meal
  • Doing a quick 10-minute pick-up every evening after Ava goes to bed

So, if you want to stop feeling like you’re just surviving motherhood and really starting thriving, establish some rhythms in your life.

Start by asking yourself: What are the things I HAVE to get done in a day in order to not be anxious/stressed/feel like I’m behind?

These aren’t the things that you want to get done, these are things that stress you out like crazy and you will not go to bed until it’s done.

Write them down.

Now write down how you would feel to walk in the door after a long day knowing that those things were taken care of.

Pretty great, right?

Set aside a few minutes today (I know you’re crazy busy, but trust me, you have 5 minutes to spare to do this) and write down a couple rhythms for your own life. Then commit to doing them for a week. Just one week!  Do whatever it takes to hold yourself accountable, even if you miss a day, that’s okay! Show yourself some grace and get back after it.

Tag me on Instagram @simply.sarahmae! I can’t wait to see all of the rhythms you guys establish to make your life more intentional, less stressful, and much much happier.

Peace, Love & Cookie Dough — Sarah

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