The most important work you will ever do is goal setting. Goal setting is a powerful tool for realising dreams and turning visions of the future into reality.
Setting goals helps us know exactly what we want to achieve and where we need to concentrate our efforts in order to achieve them.
You might be wondering what does being a mother have to do with goal setting?
We all want to feel happy, energised, grounded, connected, loved and supported. And of course you want to feel like you are doing a great job.
Goal setting is the most important thing we can do in your life but it is also one of the most neglected.
We’ve all heard of goal setting in the business world, but what about our personal lives?
According to research, the problem with not doing goal setting is that without it, we end up living our life on autopilot.
Day after day, it’s easy to fall into the same routine – doing the same things over and over again and not really advancing. If we want to improve and be the best version of ourselves we need to be an active participant in our life.
I’ve had the pleasure to interview author, mindfulness expert and Clinical Psychologist- Chantal Hofstee to understand the importance of setting goals and how we can all get into it. She is also my next guest speaker, which I am super excited about!
How do you start your day?
Most days I start with a morning run during which I practice three things; mindfulness, gratitude and intention setting.
Mindfulness by consciously focussing on my surroundings; the trees, the water, the sky, feeling the sun on my skin and deeply breathing in the fresh air. Then I practice gratitude by focussing on three things, big and small, I am grateful and thankful for. For example:
I am so grateful and thankful that we had for a peaceful night,
I am so grateful and thankful that we live in this beautiful place,
I am so grateful and thankful that I have the house to myself today.
Then I set myself a clear goal/intention for the day ahead, for example, today I will tidy the kitchen before I get to work or this morning I will work on this project without interruption or today I will make sure to connect with my husband over breakfast.
What’s your approach to health and wellbeing?
My approach to health and wellbeing is, first of all, looking after what I call the ‘foundational pillars’ of sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress management. It is common sense that when these ‘foundational pillars’ are in okay or good shape you will be healthier and have a greater sense of wellbeing. I am not talking about perfection here but about okay shape or good enough.
Sometimes we are not really depressed but are just lacking sleep, that anxiety might be linked to not having enough or the right type of fuel in your system and feeling lathargic can be a natural result of sitting down day in and day out. Finding easy and practical ways to ‘invest’ in these foundational pilaars can make a huge difference to you physical and mental wellbeing.
Two of the most powerful ways I know to manage stress and boost wellbeing is learning how to think more mindfully and prioritising quality time with loved ones.
How do you motivate yourself?
Having clear goals, both long term and short term, helps me to stay motivated and on track with where my focus and energy goes. My goals are not just about what I want to achieve but also about the kind of person I want to be and how I want to feel. Visualising both the long terms goals (where do I want my carreer to be in 10 years time) and the short term goal (how do I want to respond to the inevitable question ‘can we watch a movie’?) helps me to prepare for situations, make consious decisions and plan ahead which reduces stress for me.
Best career advice you’ve ever been given?
The best career advice and life advice I have ever been given was about 10 years ago from my manager when I was an intern. She left the role when I was still an intern and gave me a card that said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams”. It is a cliche but I have found it profound advice that I live by and believe it has shaped my approach to progress and has taken me where I am today.
How important is goal setting for full time mothers?
Anything you do get’s better when it is done with intention whether it is related to parenting, work, sports, changing habits, anything. Parenting is the most important job you will ever have and most of us want to do the best possible job at it so taking some time to think about the parent you want to be and what you can do to set yourself up for achieving that, I believe, is very helpful.
For example, I want to be a very affectionate mother that takes time and really listens. To set myself up for doing this and doing it well we start and finish each day with cuddle time. My children (5 and 3) actually call it ‘I want to go higher up’ meaning I want you to pick me up and cuddle me. I love that they have started calling it this because to me it actually means just that. Taking a moment to consciously go ‘higher up’ to step out of the daily rush to get things done and to ‘rise above’ the to-do list and simply connect with cuddles and attention. Letting them talk about what they want to talk about and give them my undivided attention for that time.
To do this and to do it consistently takes planning because it takes time. Meaning we have to get up 10 minutes earlier and go to bed 10 minutes earlier to allow time for this and not make it create stress because of the time it has taken up. Planning for that extra time might not be possible for all families but for us it has been worth it.
Another goal I have as a mother is to have clear and consistent boundaries because I believe that creates predictability and reduces stress. To set ourselves up for doing this and doing it consistently me and my husband often talk about ‘the rules’ to make sure we are on the same page. As the kids get older the rules need to grow with them and taking the time to talk about this on a regular basis takes time and effort but has been worth it for our family.
How easy is personal goal setting?
Some people find setting goals easy and fun, others find it hard to do. Getting some help to do it in a strategic and effective way can be a huge help. Setting the goal is only step one, working towards achieving the goal, one small step at a time is what makes it into a goal and not just wishful thinking. In my book ‘Reach your goals’ I explain in detail my approach to setting goal and achieving them.
What about motherhood – what’s your approach to parenting?
My approach to parenting is mindful. First of all being mindful of what I need to be the best mother I can be and taking responsibility for making sure I fulfil those needs. For example I need to get enough sleep, eat well and have time for myself to be able to respond to my children the way I want to. Doing it just on willpower doesn’t work for me especially not after a long day. If I can stay in green brain I can provide a green brain environment for my kids with connection and clear and consistent boundaries. This doesn’t mean they will always be happy or behave perfectly but it does mean I am in control of my response to them and I won’t yell, snap or change rules based on my levels of emotion or energy in that moment.
We are offering the new book Reach Your Goals for $15 instead of $30 which is the normal price as the first print run has some minor imperfections on the cover.
Photographer: Alice Mahran