Monday, June 20, 2016

On Goals and To-do lists: how my listmaking got a makeover

This post contains affiliate links.  

If you've been around here for any length of time, you may have guessed that I am a list person.  I write things down in my planner that stays on the desk (or sometimes in my purse).  I write things down on the family calendar that hangs in our kitchen.  I write things down in notebooks and scrap pieces of paper so that I don't forget things that are important for the day, but maybe not part of our regular routine.  Now that I am at home, I am especially aware of this new season in my life and want to be intentional about the goals I set and how I spend my time here.

It's only been two months, but today I'd like to share some of the things I've learned so far about my goal setting and list making as well as information about an awesome resource that has been a tremendous help to me along the way.

Goals are not the same as to-do lists.  

Goals are things that I want to accomplish over some set period of time.  To do lists are the action steps that I need to do on a given day to meet the goal.  Or some of the little things that come up that just need to be done.

For me, this was pivotal.  To actually think through all of the action steps to reaching a goal.  To keep the house cleaned and organized (goal) for example I need to: wash the dishes, put toys away, make our bed, etc. (to-do).  Goals will be accomplished when the to-dos are done dilligently.  BUT, the to-do's need to be in line with the larger goals. 

It matters how I choose to spend my time.  

This is a sneaky one because it sounds so simple and it so easy to forget.  Time, like money, is a valuable resource that needs to be stewarded well.  I've said it so many times in previous posts on stewardship and budgeting, but you really do have to understand that EVERY single time you say "yes" to something, you are saying "no" to something else.  This is important when it comes to accomplishing your goals.

At present, the Little takes two naps per day that are about 1-1.5 hours each.  That's the amount of time to myself that I have each day.  It is so easy to let that time slip by if I am not intentional and proactive.  I'm working on getting better at using this time wisely and creating specific routines to help me stay focused during these times each day so that I can really be present with the Little when he is awake.

When I am clear about and self aware of my goals, it is easier for me to decide how to spend my time. 

My goals need to be aligned with my priorities.  

Priorities should be the things that drive our goals.  They include our responsibilities and "titles" during any given season of life and should be the foundation for the goals that we set.  During this season, I view my priorities as follows:

1. Christ follower
2. Wife to Hubs
3. Mama to Little
4. Homemaker
5. Personal health/wellness director (director seems like a silly word to use here, but I think it's right - basically, I'm in charge of my own well-being)
6. Sister/Daughter
7. Neighbor/Friend
8. Blogger (although if I'm honest, this one gets trumped SO many times by the top 7...not mad about it.)

When I write it down like this, it really seems like a lot, but I don't really see a way of condensing it.  If I'm being intentional with my goals, they HAVE to fall under one of these priorities.  And frankly some of them overlap.  For example, as a Christ follower, it is important to me to maintain a strong and active relationship with God.  That also trickles down into all the other priorities.  As a homemaker, I want to create a safe, relaxing, and welcoming atmosphere in our home, which includes keeping things organized and tidy.  This also allows our family to spend time together (wife/mama) and to be able to host others in our home (sister/daughter, neighbor/friend) without major stress.

And then there are all the other things.  

I've also learned that there are a lot of things that I would like to accomplish and get done that don't fall specifically into those categories.  Several of these are on our family "home" list.  Some of them include some landscaping work, replacing the mailbox post for a newer one, finishing the garage, etc.  These are good things to do and I still want to do them, but I've realized that they have to be done during other free time when it is available.  I can't stop keeping the house in order for example, to paint the garage.  I can't miss my quiet time to make sure the bushes in the backyard are evenly trimmed.

So, these things stay on a separate list:  "all the other things".  It's a good list, but it's a lot more long term and flexible.

Goals with grace

So what's next?  All this sounds great, you say, but where in the world should I start?  I was in the same boat not too long ago.  I knew I needed to make some specific goals, but I already had some goals written down and a to-do list that spanned SEVERAL sticky notes.  Then I took some time to read through Victoria's e-book, Goals with Grace.  It was game changer.  

Goals with Grace is an excellent e-book that walks you through step-by-step how to identify your priorities and purpose, create a personal mission statement, and goals that matter and will put you on the path of accomplishing more.

Personally, Goals With Grace has really helped me reevaluate the process by which I set goals and make my to-do lists.  It has given me resources to be intentional about my goals, making sure that they align with my priorities and that my list is realistic and specific.

It's an easy read and comes with lots of beautiful printable worksheets to help you through each and every step.  I've gone back to it several times since reading it.  I highly recommend it for anyone who feels like they are always on the go, but never reaching the end of their list.

The best part about this e-book is that it is available at three different price points (and there is an early bird deal going on now!).  Click on any of the links below to learn more about each package.

The Basic Edition: $10
Only $7 if your order before June 26, at 9pm CST

60 page PDF ebook
11 chapters with assignments
26 beautiful worksheets for you to print off and work through
Lifetime access to any future updates — FREE!

The Deluxe Edition $20
Only $15 if your order before June 26, at 9pm CST

60 page PDF ebook
11 chapters with assignments
26 beautiful worksheets for you to print off and work through
Bonus Goal Planning Printables
2 Inspirational Prints
Audio Book version
Lifetime access to any future updates — FREE!

The Premium Edition $35
Only $26 if your order before June 26, at 9pm CST

60 page PDF ebook
11 chapters with assignments
26 beautiful worksheets for you to print off and work through
Bonus Goal Planning Printables
5 Inspirational Prints
Audio Book version
5 Video Tutorials
Goals with Grace Action Planner which includes 22 customizable printables, an eGuide and an additional video tutorial.
Lifetime access to any future updates — FREE!
But maybe you're still not sure.  You can download a FREE guide to creating your personal mission statement for starters.  (It's like a small taste of all the goodness that's in the book!)
No matter which you choose, I hope that you will start making intentional and purposeful goals today.  Go out and accomplish that list!



  1. I really like the way you broke this down!

  2. Another great post, Mary Leigh! I may have to check out this book. I am in a constant state of overwhelmed! Military wife, stay at home mom of 2 little ones, Vice President of my local chapter of MOMS Club, blogger, etc...I often find there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that I need and want to get to done. I am a list maker like you....lists everywhere, but I still flounder! Probably because I can't even get my lists in order! I am definitely going to try out some of your tips! Thanks for this wonderful post. And thank you for joining my On the Edge of the Week Link Up!


    1. Thanks! It really is a great little book! I enjoyed it very much. It takes you step by step to thinking through how you set your goals and get things done. It's really helpful!


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