I used to be a very avid goal setter. Fitness goals, personal goals, professional goals … you name it, I had it. I was the queen of SMART goals and often preached their worthiness to others – my students, my friends, my colleagues. Goal-setting was like a drug to me. I absolutely loved it!
In recent years, since I’ve had my children, I am terribly sad to say, my passion for goal-setting has fizzled. My success rate stinks, and now, it seems, I have failed a few too many times to be inclined to set a new goal.
An example of one such failure? Housecleaning. In recent years, I’ve spent hours trying to come up with an appropriate cleaning “schedule” of sorts that I could follow (you know, a few chores to do each day that would grant me a tidy house). Over and over again, I’ve failed to accomplish the “goals” I set out each day. In fact, I’ve failed so many times that I’ve destroyed the cleaning charts and vowed to never resurrect them. So what’s the deal? Maybe there’s just too damn much to do in a day (yet, I get to the end of the day, and wonder, what did I actually do today?). Maybe there’s 42 billion things to do that aren’t even on the daily list. Or maybe, I don’t care about having a clean house as much as I think I do. Whatever it is, daily chores on a checklist is obviously not a good goal for me. The motivation just isn’t there. There’s no reward … or, the reward is so fleeting, it’s … just … not … worth it, because, let’s face it … how long do freshly mopped floors really stay clean? An hour? Depends if the kids are napping or not! And what about that toilet? One toddler poop in a freshly cleaned toilet and it looks worse than it did before I cleaned it. And do my kids really care if the house is spotless? Nope, they could care less (though Big M did tell me today we should maybe get a new house, since ours was getting a little messy).
Soooo much time can be spent cleaning, and it feels like it is all for nought! Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t clean, I do … VERY frantically just before someone is about to come over! (I guess that is a little goal in itself, generally accomplished before the doorbell rings). PLEASE, don’t come by unannounced or you will find out the dirty, messy truth about me and my house.
Okay, now that I’ve divulged all my dirty secrets (and thoughts) about housecleaning, let’s get back to goal setting. It’s obvious that I should not be setting housekeeping goals. But what about other goals? I feel like I want some, but I’m really not sure what they should be. I don’t want to fail again, but I am also a little disappointed about how complacent I’ve become. I’ve lowered my standards so much that many things are “good enough” now it seems. The house is “good enough” and my post-pregnancy body is “good enough” (though I secretly want it to be SO much better).
As I rack my brain and search for other “good enoughs” in my life, I am happy to say I can’t find many more. With my kids, I truly try to be the best mother I can be. I try to cook quality meals. I try to give them opportunities and experiences. I try to make sure they’re happy. I ensure all their needs are met. I play with them. I teach them. I discipline them. I read to them. I encourage them. I cuddle them. And I love them. I guess, at the end of the day, when I wonder, what did I actually do today, I have to look at THIS list, not some stupid housecleaning duty list.
Since the birth of my second child, I have definitely come to accept that the house is “good enough” (and frankly, that did not come easy for me). I might even come to accept that my body is “good enough.” Undoubtedly, it’s different than it used to be, but sometimes, I think I need to be a bit more thankful for how well my body treats me, and how this body brought two beautiful girls into this world … something that should never really go unappreciated!
Having two girls, I feel that I need to be VERY mindful of body image. I NEVER speak poorly about my body around them, and I NEVER say that I need to lose weight or tone up. I want to instill in my girls the importance of physical activity and the importance of taking care of (and respecting) their bodies (by feeding them healthfully).
For me, there is always a certain amount of guilt associated with not exercising regularly (I also feel guilty for not getting Big M moving for the recommended number of minutes each day – 60 at her age!). I attribute this to my well-developed understanding of the importance of being physically active. Perhaps I have been unsuccessful with my exercise goals lately because I have been focusing on the wrong thing … altering my body. Perhaps, I need to be active because of how good it makes me feel mentally (better self-image and better mood). Or maybe I need to be active because I want my kids to be active (even if they are not necessarily active WITH me right now). I also want to be healthy (and around) for a REALLY long time yet.
Further reflection makes me think maybe it’s not a goal that I need … maybe it’s a habit. “They” say it takes 21 days to form a habit (and by ‘they’ I mean, I saw it on Pinterest) … I truly want to make being active a habit, so today, on this first day of 2014, I am going to try and start a habit. I am going to be active for at least 20 minutes each day. It’s a pittance of time really (even though it’s still less than what I ‘should’ be doing). But for now, it will be “good enough.” Who’s with me?