Setting Realistic Goals

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Sometimes in real life there are set backs that we don’t anticipate. The fact that we can re-evaluate our life, our plans and goals is such a blessing. Not attaining a goal the first time around or even the second or third does not equate failure. Try, try, again! @

I was working on this blog  post yesterday morning when Sarah began having more problems. We left the house around 2:30 in the afternoon and drove the 2 hours to the hospital where she had her surgery and went to the emergency room.

After running tests and doing another CT Scan, they discovered that she had a new, large abscess that stretched across her pelvis. They admitted her into the hospital last night and this morning she had a drain put into the abscess. So, I’m hanging out at the hospital with her until they release her. Her doctor said she’d be here a couple days probably. The drain will have to stay in for a couple of weeks. So, between the colon resection and this abscess she has a lot to recover from. I appreciate your prayers!


The Ministry of Homemaking

You can find all of the posts in this series here. 

Last time we talked about Re-Evaluating Your Life and Making Change. Today we’re going to talk about goal setting. I really believe in setting goals! But more than that, I believe in setting realistic goals.

So for instance, if you’ve spent a lifetime eating processed foods and food from fast food restaurants, you’re not going to find it super easy to immediately begin eating an uber healthy diet. It’s just not going to happen overnight – no matter how much you wish you could change.

The same goes with any big change we desire to make. At the beginning of the new year, people every where resolve to make changes in their life for the better. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, 45% of American’s make New Year’s Resolutions each year but only 8% of those people actually achieve their goals.

Setting Realistic Goals

That’s why setting realistic, achievable goals is better than setting broad, lofty goals.

Examples of Broad Goals

  • I’d like to live a more Godly life.
  • This year I’m going to be more patient with my kids.
  • I want to lose weight and get healthy.
  • I’m going to spend more quality time with my family.
  • I want to be a better homemaker.

Examples of Realistic Goals

  • I will set aside 30 minutes each morning to read my Bible and pray.
  • I am going to practice patience with my kids by doing breathing exercises when I feel stressed and pausing before I open my mouth.
  • I will spend time praying each day for patience, believing that God will provide the grace I need.
  • I need to lose 20 pounds this year. I will join a exercise class for moms and commit to attending each week for the next six months.
  • Each week I will find a new, healthier alternative to an unhealthy food I love.
  • I will set aside time each evening to sit on the floor and play or have fun with my kids.
  • I will have my kids help me each night in the kitchen as soon as supper is over so we can get it clean quickly.

Achieving Your Goals

So, even if you set realistic goals, there’s discipline that comes with actually achieving them. Self-discipline is easier for some than it is for others. If you’re like me, being disciplined is easy when it’s something you love doing – and not so easy for everything else.

There’s this woman whom I have known for quite a few years. Her family is one of the families my husband and I have been ministering to for a long time, hoping and praying that one day something would change. She’s been telling me for years that she wants to come back to church. But over the last decade I’ve seen her and her family touched by drug addiction, domestic violence, dire poverty, teen pregnancy and more.

Last year she and her husband really began to make some changes. They stopped doing drugs and drinking and began to talk more earnestly about coming to church. They don’t have a vehicle and I’ve offered many times to pick them up.

One day, she called me and she was so excited. In fact, I’d never heard her so excited about anything before! She spent over half and hour on the phone telling me all of her plans to make a better life for her and her children. And while I prayed for her success, encouraged her over the phone, and offered to help, I knew deep down that her desire for changing so many issues all at once was a recipe for failure and discouragement.

Old habits die hard. And Satan knows just what he needs to do to pull you back into the pit of discouragement and despair.

[Tweet “Old habits die hard. And Satan knows just what he needs to do to pull you back into the pit of discouragement and despair.”]

That conversation was over a year ago. And before we hung up the phone she asked me if I would come and pick her family up for church the next morning. I prayed all night for her, for their family. I prayed as I drove to pick them up. I prayed as I walked up and knocked on the door. When her husband opened the door he informed me that their little girl had spent the night throwing up and they couldn’t come.

Satan is crafty. He really is.

Maybe you aren’t facing a lifetime of really bad choices – or maybe you are. Either way, change is hard.

Setting goals is easier when you don’t bite off more than you can chew. When setting realistic goals, think about what the changes you want to make and determine baby steps that you can take to reach those goals.

So if you want to have a tidy home on most days, what smaller goals do you need to meet in order to make that happen? Some ideas might include:

  • purge one bag of stuff from the house each day or week
  • declutter each drawer, closet, corner, and room
  • reorganize your kitchen cabinets
  • set aside time each day to straighten things up and get rid of clutter – even if just 15 minutes
  • go to bed each night with a clean kitchen
  • assign realistic chores for the kids and follow through

It might take you all year to get to the point where you are seeing real change, but that’s okay. If you’ve spent years collecting clutter and bad habits, you can’t very well expect to change everything overnight – as much as you’d like to. And if you do set unrealistic expectations for yourself, you are more likely to get discouraged and give up all together.

Baby Steps to Real Change

It’s also important not to set too many new goals all at once.

  1. I’m going to eat healthier and lose weight!
  2. I’m going to bake all of our bread from scratch!
  3. Better than that, I’m going to make everything from scratch!
  4. I’m going to be a better mom!
  5. I’m going to declutter my whole house and keep it clean from now on!
  6. I’m going to give up smoking!
  7. I’m going to wake up early every morning!
  8. I’m going to exercise for 15 minutes every day without fail!
  9. I’m going to volunteer at the homeless shelter and take on a project!
  10. This year I’m going to scrapbook everything and stay on top of all our photos!
  11. I think we should homeschool the kids this year!

Long term, you might want to work toward all of those things. But, start with one or two and as you find success, add another to your list.

Goal Setting and Weekly Planning

So, once you have re-evaluated your life and determined which areas you currently need to focus on, you can set goals that are reasonable and attainable. Set goals for the month and goals for your week based on your schedule.

As you feel you’re ready to move onto new goals through the year, you can change your goals as needed. And as you plan each week, you can spend time thinking about what you are currently working on and new things that have come to mind.

The Ministry of Homemaking

As a homemaker, thoughtful planning each week will help you prioritize your goals better. I like to spend time at the beginning of the week, and again, as time permits, throughout the week planning each day and incorporating my goals into my schedule. When you set aside time for planning, you’ll find yourself accomplishing more and feeling confident about your day.

I made a mistake in January thinking I could do the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. I’ve done 5 bags total. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t finish the goal, it just means that it’s not going to happen on the schedule I originally set for myself. January, with Sarah being in the hospital and so many other things going on… not much else got done around here.

That’s okay though. Sometimes in real life there are set backs that we don’t anticipate. The fact that we can re-evaluate our life, our plans and goals is such a blessing. Not attaining a goal the first time around or even the second or third does not equate failure. Try, try, again.

God is a God of second chances, and third changes, fourth and fifth – He doesn’t give up on us!

Home Work

Answers these questions below in a journal or notebook. Or, download my journaling page here.

I am Called to the Ministry of Homemaker

  • Write down one of my favorite verses: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
  • Write down two realistic goals you’d like to work on right now.
  • Make a list of baby steps you can take to reach those goals.
  • Set a time line for your goals or a end date to work toward.
  • Ask God to help you reach your goals.

Share your two goals in the comments below and let me know if you have any questions!

You might also like to read: How to Make Change Stick

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  1. My heart aches to hear Sarah is in pain. I pray that God would heal her body and that he will give you the strength needed to hold her hand during this time. God bless you. You are such a blessing to me with every post you write. Jackie.
  2. Hi! Recently God asked what my priorities are. I feel like God is asking me to commit to running my home better even though I not a mother yet. However, due to circumstances I have to work full time as well as my husband, so I often feel overwhelmed by everything. I've tried to ask my husnand to help but I have to nag him to get him to do anything. I almost feel like I resent the time I spend at my job because I could be working at home instead. I'm not sure what to do. Advice and prayer would be most appreciated
  3. My goals are to make breakfast for my husband each morning, and to go to bed with a clean sink. I have been making small adjustments here and there, this is a great reminder to keep working upwards and the homework to set a goal date is going to help me push myself a little harder
  4. Great article. Wow, how ever did you get this article written, with your daughter being so sick? I really admire your self discipline. These are good points on goals. I usually make too many goals as far as housework, even for 1 day, and my family told me to stick to 3 things a day to accomplish for housework. I like how you made these goals so specific. Thank you.
  5. Im so sorry to hear about Sarah. I’ll be praying for her and for comfort and strength for all of you. I think the two goals I’m going to set is first complete the love dare. I’m going to finish it this time no matter how hard it is and pick one chapter a week to study in scripture and study that chapter daily. I struggle with focus is the reason I’m going to take it slow. Tomorrow morning I’m starting on Romans chapter 12. The small goals are helping me to stay in task. It seems so little but they saying a little bit goes a long way is so true. Thank you for this