SMART goals is a common thing you’ll see, especially this time of year, in business and productivity circles.
SMART is an acronym describing the characteristics of goals that will, supposedly, work: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound.
The problem with SMART goals for moms is that we have less control over our situations and circumstances than we’d like to think. SMART goals assume that level of control we wish we had, so when we set goals like that, we end up frustrated and stressed.
More often than not, our goals as moms have less to do with our own actions – which we can control, but which often need to be other than what we thought – and more to do with others’ actions or with our circumstances.
We’d like to think we are executives, bossing others on down the line, setting the pace, casting the vision, making it happen. We are the CEOs of our homes, right?
Our subordinates might be relying on us for food and clothes and their very lives, but that seems to be different than relying on us for a paycheck.
It’s not their 9-5 task list that we’re in charge of. It’s their entire life. It’s creating and maintaining the atmosphere they’re growing up in, and it’s holding them accountable to grow in maturity and responsibility.
So, it’s different. We’re caretakers, not executives.
After all, our goal is not a profit. Our goal is not to crank out more widgets, make more sales calls, or anything so concrete and specific and, well, measurable.
Our goal is to guide those subordinates – as human beings – into greater maturity and responsibility, raising them, parenting them, educating them, loving them, disciplining them.
That’s an entirely different sort of role.
It requires an entirely different sort of goal.
Because, yes, we should still be setting goals. If we just fly by the seat of our pants, we are letting life happen and always reacting, always on the defensive.
We are not the executive, choosing the mission and the objectives. So we are tempted to think we don’t need goals.
However, we are the boots on the ground, having been given a mission: parenting others and growing in sanctification ourselves.
That takes intentional action and deliberate consideration.
Goal-setting is simply taking the time to think about where we are, what needs to happen, what direction we are headed, what direction we should be headed, and how to move the planned way rather than drift.
It’s a thought-exercise that then influences our mindset, sets our intentions, and makes us aware of our calling and our situation.
Instead of SMART goals, let’s set REAL goals, goals that fit real life at home without trying to control others or control circumstances.
REAL goals are:
Yes, I just made that acronym up, but it contains what are, I think, essential elements of goals that will make a difference in a mom’s life without causing undo frustration or stress.
After all, if we set goals that don’t jive with real life, we’re only adding conflict, tension, and friction to our lives. Goals that work with, instead of against, our real lives should provide the jumpstart and the guidance system we need to stay focused in the midst of the muddle of everyday life.