How Working Moms Can Achieve Their Goals in 2023, Even While Juggling It All
Even as I did my best to rest this January following a busy holiday season, 2023 has come in fast and furious.
On top of the usual grind of keeping the kids fed, clothed and going to school, cleaning and managing the house, and connecting with my clients and employees, it seems we need to decide our summer plans and book camp for the kids, fix our dishwasher, washing machine, roof and air conditioner all at the same time, and respond to journalists for 2023 employee trend reports (did you see my quotes in this Forbes article?).
Meanwhile, I’m recovering from a cold I got the first week of January and I’m trying to carve out time to create a business strategy – but all I really wanted to do is take a nap.
It made me think of January 2018. I’d given birth to my youngest in mid-November the previous year, and when January rolled around with a 6-week-old and a toddler I had no extra bandwidth to put into being someone “new.” I was exhausted, drained, and overwhelmed. It took about 8 months (and an international move) before I found the where-with-all to make any additional requests of myself – and another 2 years before the health goals stuck.
It can be tough to create the time and mental space to figure out what we want, commit to it, and create a plan for it – let alone making it happen. So rather than putting the emphasis and pressure on the outcomes, let’s embrace the process of decision making.
The results will come – don’t worry! But by shifting the focus to the action of creating the goals, it will make them all the easier to achieve.
Sometimes our goals don’t happen (see my health goals above); there are times we aren’t ready for them, or we are doing it out obligation, or we aren’t in the right mind space, or haven’t found the right solution, or are maybe feeling decision fatigue, or are just plain scared. But within the right process, we can move out of that stagnate place and fully embrace those dreams and make them happen – and it only takes 30 minutes.
Step One: Make the Time
Carve out 30 minutes for yourself once a week for at least three weeks – put it in your calendar.
This sounds like an impossible task with all that is being asked of you, but I know you can do this. Turn off the TV 30 minutes before your bedtime, or set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier, or block off 30 minutes of your lunch hour. You and your goals are worth it, mama. Show up for yourself.
Step Two: Explore
The first week, take the time to reflect on your success, favorite moments or highlights of the past year and use that as a jumping off point to think about your desires for the next year.
This is your chance to be big and bold with no need to be held down by reality. Brainstorm fun, exciting and scary adventures for your professional, personal, physical and any other elements of your life that you want to expand.
If nothing comes up, take the week to explore. Ask friends about what excites or inspires them. Experiment with activities or try on ideas (like that blue dress that you’ve been eying).
Even if you have a goal in mind – say finding a new job – use this time to consider what that could look like. Is that the same job at another company? A new role? A new industry? Is it time to start that business you’ve been noodling?
The sky is the limit here. Have fun with it!
Step Three: Which Idea Lights You Up
Step away from the ideation for a week and let it all simmer. Your brain will continue to work on a solution now that the ideas are flowing.
In the second week’s 30-minute window take stock – what idea keeps coming back to you?
Which one excites you the most? Which story can you picture yourself living? Which one makes you smile?
If you are looking for a new job – is it a certain company that intrigues you, and you find yourself perusing their website? Does the idea of learning a new industry make you sparkle? Or are you feeling the pull of that business idea and your gut says the time is now?
If you take a moment to listen to yourself, the answer is likely right in front of you.
Step Four: Make a Plan
Now that you’ve taken the time to explore and organically make a decision, making it happen is the easy part! You are already jazzed about the idea, so taking a moment to craft the actions will be fun.
Use your 30-minute window to answer: What do you need to make this happen?
Make a list. Then which item needs to come first? Take it one step at a time, then create a timeline based on when you want to accomplish your goal.
If you want to launch your new beach towel business by summer, how many towels do you need? If there are 22 weeks until summer, how many towels is that per week to create? Will you focus on one design per week or per month?
What else do you need to do for your business? Maybe it’s product pictures, where to sell them, how to market them. Take each of these items in a 30-minute window and ask yourself questions about how you want to accomplish them. Be curious and open minded, and step away when you need.
By working in 30-minute intervals to investigate the options, do the things that excite you, and take your action items in small steps, you will make your goal a reality. And if you need a guide to support you along the way, or to get there faster, contact me here!
Sara Madera is a mother of two and founder of Plan Creatively, which provides individuals and organizations with career coaching programs for working mothers.