Before I had my daughter I was a big dreamer with mega confidence. If I had a goal in my business I would just go for it without any fear. This trait came so naturally at this time in my life that I completely took it for granted. I expected it to be with me my whole life.
But then I got pregnant, had my baby girl, and everything changed. Like many new moms, my world completely shook in good and not so good ways. The adjustment was hard, but she was beautiful. I struggled with the fact that everything was completely new. Life was full of uncertainty with the smallest of decisions becoming the biggest mountains (what blanket should I buy that’s the best one?). And without even realizing it, this became my new norm and my old life of big dreams and big goals in my career had almost completely disappeared.
Everybody enters into motherhood differently. We all have our background stories and experiences, and I can only speak for myself, but If you’re reading this then you probably feel pretty similar to me. You want to have dreams for yourself. You want to do things in your life just for you. But sometimes it’s so hard because getting swept up in the daily tasks of motherhood can easily take over.
But there’s good news. There is a way to find time for your dreams and go after them, no matter how big or small, no matter how many kids you have. There is most definitely time.
So what can you do?
Well, you might be thinking that you have to sacrifice how you spend time with your kids in order to go after your dreams and make time for them. But this is totally wrong.
So if you’re ready to finally make time for your dreams, the ones that you’ve been putting off since becoming a mother, then it’s finally time to say YES! and do the damn thing.
So let’s get started!
MAKE THE COMMITMENT TO SAY YES TO YOU
If you’re used to telling yourself that you just don’t have the time to go after your dreams, then you’ll keep putting them off.I can speak from experience here.
And I want to tell you something really important. You’re not a bad mom if you choose to start putting yourself first at points of the day. In fact, I believe this makes you an even better mom!
Putting yourself first will show your kids that it’s important to take care of themselves. They’ll see what mom can accomplish and they’ll want to do the same. They’ll see that you’re more positive because you’re going after your dreams, gaining confidence, and ultimately being happier because you’re doing that thing for you.
So the first step is to just say YES to the dream. Tell yourself you’re going to do it. Tell yourself that the journey towards your dream isn’t going to be perfect, and that’s normal. Tell yourself that you’re going to commit to going after your dream even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day.
REWORK YOUR SCHEDULE
Before I had my daughter I was used to having all the free time and choosing to accomplish my goals whenever I felt like it. But as soon as she arrived I realized that this would no longer work. Instead, small chunks of time became my new work routine. If I had 15 minutes, I would do a 15-minute task. If I had an hour – that felt like 5 hours!!! – I could get so much done in an hour because I knew just how precious it was.
So the first step is to look at your current schedule and see where you have time leaks. These are the points of the day where you’re not doing anything too important. For example, scrolling your phone, watching tv, waiting for the kids to come home, etc. These are the sweet spots that you can use more wisely to accomplish your dreams.
If you’re not used to writing down your schedule, do it for the next three days in full detail. Write down how much time you spent for breakfast, scrolling your phone, cleaning the kitchen, driving kids to school. Get to know your time and how you spend it.
Once you start to see the patterns surface, where do you see time leaks that could be used more wisely?
Like the majority of moms, this will change and evolve over time.
If your kids are still babies, your best time to work is during nap time. Or when they’re playing with grandma and grandpa.
As they get a little bit older, the 2-3 hours that they’re at preschool is a perfect time.
Or maybe your husband can take them to the playground for an hour and you can work then (I use this one a lot).
And once they’re in a regular school routine, your schedule will change again.
The point is, whatever stage of motherhood you’re in right now, you can always find small chunks of time to work on your dreams. Those are your magic spots and you’ll need to write them into your schedule so that you know when it’s time to get to work.
MAKE THE SPACE YOU NEED FOR YOUR DREAM
We’ve already talked about the mental space you need to create for your goals, meaning you need to say yes to your dream and just go for it. Well, the same thing needs to happen in your physical space.
It doesn’t need to be much, but you need a space for you to achieve your dreams. If your dream is to lose weight naturally, then you’ll need to make space for healthier routines, including clearing out your kitchen of processed foods and finding room to exercise at home even if it’s just a place for a yoga mat. If you want to start going to the gym, then have your gym bag set out for you so that you’re ready to go.
If your goal is to start a blog, then you’ll need a space to write at home that’s away from distractions (including the kids). A small corner desk in the bedroom is all you need, as long as you make it a space that’s just for achieving your goal.
THE SMALL TASKS DAILY = BIG CHANGES
The truth is that big dreams are often pretty intimidating. How will I ever lose 40 pounds? Start a brand new business for scratch? Or finally, travel Europe but now with a family in tow?
The secret in achieving your massive goals is to break them down into bite-size chunks.
Here’s how I like to do it: when a goal is too big for me to really imagine how I’d ever accomplished it, I write it down and create a mind map.
First I take a piece of paper and write the big goal in the center, for example, I want to finally start my blog.
Then I think about all the smaller pieces that are involved in starting a blog. For example, spend 1 hour researching other bloggers, find resources online for blogging for beginners, buy a domain name, set up a web host, install my website, start writing blog posts, etc etc. I write down anything I can possibly think of, no matter how big or small of a task. And if the task I write is too big, then I break it down into even smaller ones.
At this point, all of the tasks I’ve created are small enough that they will take me between 15-60 minutes. If they take longer, then you need to break them down into even smaller tasks.
Then I start doing them one by one, and just focusing on that one thing at a time.
Here’s the best part: If you continue to do this method over time, and create a daily routine, that’s how you will work towards your big dream.
That’s the secret!
I currently have two big dreams for myself right now. The first one is Andianne.com. This one has been going for a year and a half now. When I started my blogging business I was completely overwhelmed by everything I had to do, or how I could ever make it successful.
So I created a mind map of everything I needed to do and then I started working on the smaller tasks.
When I started my blog I only had about 1 or 2 hours to work daily. It was in the evening when my husband came home. He would watch my daughter and help get her ready for bed. I was usually exhausted at this point of the day – could barely keep my eyes open – but I believed in my dream so much and wanted this for myself so I was committed to doing it anyway. I would grab a cup of chai tea (with a little caffeine in it to pep me up) put on my headphones and just focused on one small task at a time.
And guys, if you commit to this method of doing small tasks daily, you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually achieve in 6 months! I know this method works because I’ve seen the results myself in my own business. And I truly believe whatever your big dream is, that you can use this method to get there.
I mentioned earlier that I have two big goals, well the other one is to move my family to Vancouver Island where a lot of our family lives (including my mom and dad). To have my daughter closer to her grandparents, and to live by the ocean would be an absolute dream for us!
We’re working towards this goal using the same method – figuring out the small tasks we need to do to get there and knocking them off one by one.