There’s an old cliché that asks the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer that’s given replies simply, “One bite at a time.” It’s obvious from this trite scenario what the old adage is trying to tell us: When you have a task that’s too big to tackle, try taking it step by step. Like most things that are simple, following this advice isn’t as easy as it sounds. Change is always difficult.
You can tell yourself you’re going to behave differently, but to actually do so requires a focused effort. What our old proverb teaches us is where to focus. When you want to motivate yourself to become a changed person it’s best to start with the part of your life that’s right in front of you. A single mother trying to set new goals must look clearly at the discreet parts of her own life and those of her children. It requires her to settle upon a method of setting new goals and then discovering a process she can use to reach them.
Method Versus Process
There are different parts to solving a problem. The first step is the overview, a portion we can call the method. This is the place where we set our goals. When you’re tackling a problem you have to decide what vantage point you’ll take to approach and solve it. Establishing a goal is a matter of taking stock of where you are, then looking clearly at where you would like to be. There are different parts to solving a problem. The first step is the overview, a portion we can call the method. This is the place where we set our goals.
How Do You Look At That Elephant?
When you’re tackling a problem you have to decide what vantage point you’ll take to approach and solve it. Establishing a goal is a matter of taking stock of where you are, then looking clearly at where you would like to be.
If you set a goal that’s too far or too difficult, then chances are you’ll never reach it. Failing to reach a destination creates a sense of futility. You become despondent, and repeated failings lead to hopelessness. Conversely, reaching a goal successfully creates a sense of accomplishment. It builds confidence and gives you a very real sense of your own capability.
In our analogy about the elephant, we can imagine that each successive bite makes us believe we can finish our meal. We’re not trying to swallow an impossible thing whole. Instead, we’re working our way towards the end. Our goal was to take one bite, chew it and swallow it. We can take our time. We don’t have to gorge ourselves. We can digest our food while the leftovers are waiting in the fridge. We’ll take out more tomorrow and continue eating until we’re finally done. After a while, that once mighty meal will be over. Along the way, we developed a habit of success. We learned to pace ourselves and not bite off more than we could chew.
How Do You Decide To Bite?
Let’s finish our analogy (I promise you we’ll stop picking on that poor pachyderm). Once you know your method is to take things in manageable increments, you must decide what process you will use to accomplish your task.
One tried and true system is that used by engineers and programmers. It’s a process called SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Simply put it means you must first be specific and particular about what you are about to do. You must choose a task; that task must have a measurable goal in mind. The goal must be achievable and relevant, and it must be something you will do in a specified amount of time.
Using the SMART process in conjunction with goals that help you find incremental success means your progress in life will be steady and more likely to be rewarding. You won’t always succeed, but any failures will be small enough to handle because you’ve made your tasks manageable. Even more importantly, your successes will far outnumber any failures, and you’ll be learning and developing as you go.
Think Of Your World And How The System Applies To It
A single mother who adopts the method and process we’ve discussed can tackle goals that really matter in her life. She’ll need to think about the routines that govern her and her children’s time. As the system implies, there are two main factors to consider.
What Are The Components That Make Up Your Life?
You know the things that are important to you. Is your job a career that means a great deal to you, or is it merely a vehicle for supporting you and your children? Do your children have special aptitudes that you nurture and support? Is there an intimate loved one in your adult life? Do you have personal challenges or health concerns? Where do you see yourself now as opposed to ten years from now? These are just samples of the type of questions that help determine your goals. As you give yourself clear-minded responses, you’ll discover which goals you want to tackle first.
What Are The Components Of Your Day-To-Day World?
Once you have a goal in mind, be diligent about determining how every aspect of it affects your daily life. If your job is important to you and your goal is to get that next manager’s spot, then ask yourself what portion of your daily routine affects reaching that goal. Do you need to manage your time better? If so, choose a particular task that addresses that issue. Maybe it’s waking up an hour earlier. Perhaps it’s going to bed sooner. It could possibly be both. Whatever you decide, use SMART to set a daily goal you can reach. Once you succeed at that, proceed to the next increment. You’ll find these small successes lead to larger ones. Ultimately you reach your destination, if you continue taking the next step.
Think Of Your Children’s World And How The System Applies There
The British novelist William Makepeace Thackeray once famously said, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” Most people would agree that he pretty much got it right. The corollary for that of course is that even though you’ve created this world for them your children must live in it for themselves. No one knows their personalities better than you, so use similar metrics to the ones you trained upon yourself to anticipate their responses, as you move towards your goals.
What Are The Components Of Your Child’s Life?
Even though you set many of your children’s goals, those goals are heavily influenced by how you react to your child’s personality. Let their idiosyncrasies guide you as they do in the rest of your child-rearing choices. If you have more than one child, make individual assessments for each of them. The more your offspring are in line with the path you’re taking, the more rewarding it will be for you and for them.
How Does Your Child Manage Day To Day?
If they don’t go smoothly, day-to-day routines can wear down your resolve and stamina. You know this is especially important if your children are out of sorts with the direction you’re taking. Make their daily routine part of the success story. The positive reinforcement you get when things are going well will energize them in the same way it does for you.
I hope this article has helped you find some inspiration for setting smart goals to help your children grow up happy and healthy. If you’d like more information on the topics discussed in the blog post, take our single mom quiz! We want to make sure that all of our readers are empowered with knowledge about how they can create good lives for themselves as well as their children.
Take a few minutes now to fill out the short quiz – it will provide valuable insight into what areas might need improvement so that you can work towards achieving success both at home and at work.