Do you ever feel as though your life is consumed with caring for others and that you have lost your sense of self somewhere along the way? Learn how to rediscover your dreams, and set and attain goals to reach them. You’re likely to become a better mom in the process!
Breakfast in bed, flowers and a dinner out… perfect gifts from your loved one. But you as Mom need one more –a gift from yourself, a chance to look at your life, your dreams and make sure you are going in the right direction.
Soccer, dance, playing Barbies, vacuuming, cleaning, washing, cooking, shopping, paying bills, reading, working, doctor appointments… It is no wonder that moms sometimes lose a sense of self. We are doing, but are we being? Moms may sense something is missing, but if asked what it is or what they actually want, they really don’t know.
At some point, many moms go through what I did a few years ago. I found myself in tears. I loved my family, my life, my home and my friends, but something was missing. I was missing me–my sense of self. I decided to take a look at my life and realized I needed a road map. Instead of looking at where I was going, I had put my journey on hold until later. It was time to include my journey in the family map.
I set a goal; something to do for me. Through the process of setting this one goal, I started a ball rolling. One goal led to another. And with the goals, I found myself. I am more balanced and guess what, so is my family.
Creating your Life Map
A road map for life has three main components. Dreams represent your destination. The activities are comprised of all the different options you have to reach the destination –different roads, different forms of travel, different resting areas, and different scenery along the way. Finally, goals are your itinerary–the final decisions about how to travel, which road to take, where to stop along the way, how long to take, where to stay, and what to see.
Dreams, activities and goals are integral components of your life map. Without dreams, we don’t have a reason to start. They provide the inspiration and the excitement, but as you know, you can’t just do a dream. You have to figure out all the activities that can be done to reach the destination. You then need to take these activities and turn them into small, specific and achievable goals. As you accomplish these goals, step by step, you are closer to your dream. The following steps will guide you to create your life map.
Dreams – Destination
- Write down at least fifty things you dream of doing. These could be things you wished for as a child or things you wish for now. Big dreams, small dreams, realistic, or unrealistic. Don’t pre-judge them, just write them all down.
- Take three minutes and write down all the things you would do if you found out that something would happen to you in one year. (Don’t worry about details; just focus on your dreams.)
- Compare the lists. What did you put in the second list? These are the things that are really important to you.
- Pick, from both lists, five dreams on which you would like to focus. You can do most everything you want in life, but you can’t do everything all at once.
Activities – Directions
Record the different activities or actions you can take to achieve each dream. Again, don’t pre-judge the activities, just write down everything you think of. The more you come up with, the more opportunities you will come across. For example if your dream is to become financially free, some possible activities are to save money, invest, get a part-time job, get a better job, cut out one latte a day, take lunch to work, trade childcare, walk to places, take local trips, etc.
Goals – Itinerary
Goal-setting is creating the actual map using your listed dreams and activities.
- Goals must have dates (e.g., I will complete my education by the time my son is six).
- Goals must be specific (e.g., I will start walking and lifting weights every week to get fit).
- Goals must be possible. If you have never skated, you likely won’t become a gold medalist, but you could set a goal to learn to figure skate.
- Goals are incremental. You need long-term, short-term, weekly and daily goals.
- You must write down your goals and commit to them. A great idea is to do this activity with a friend and share your goals, thus creating a stronger commitment.
I personally have achieved every goal to which I have written and committed.
Starting with at least one dream, use the guidelines above and set your goals. Add your other dreams to complete the map. You now have your road map; you need to use it. Refer to it daily so that you don’t get lost. Make changes as necessary. Add new goals as you achieve others.
Change of Plans
Just as when traveling with a road map, following your life map isn’t static. When traveling you may run into detours, closed roads, or have forgotten something and have to go back while following your life map. You may decide that you would like to spend more time at one of the stops along the way. You may realize you don’t even like the destination when you get there. Your life map may raise similar issues. You may run into challenges along the way. You may have to adjust your course and re-do sections or goals. You definitely need to evaluate your plans along the way, but you will get much closer to your destination if you have a map than without one!
You will be amazed at the success you will find from doing this activity. By becoming aware of your dreams you start to see opportunities all around that will lead to them. Things you had thought were impossible will occur. Re-evaluate your life map annually. Your dreams change, your life changes, opportunities change, your children grow and have different needs, and the journey changes–but make sure you always have the map to follow. Remember, you need to take care of yourself so you can take better care of others.