The Prospect of Joy Part 2: Goals

the prospect of joy

Yes, goals.  (don’t be scared, i promise it won’t hurt.)

Last week, I shared a post titled The Prospect of Joy that laid out two very different definitions for prospect.

The second definition was about how a prospector searches for treasure and was an encouragement to see our children as the treasures that they are.

The first definition was about the relationship between prospects, hope, and goals and how they help us find joy.

Today, I’d like us to talk about that first definition some more.

Goals are not to-do lists.

If you aren’t a to-do list kind of person, you can still do goals.

If you are a to-do list kind of person, goals aren’t the things you can check off in a day (most of the time).

Goals don’t have to be fancy.

I can’t tell you how many training classes and book I’ve read that talk about SMART goals (insert eye roll here).  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.

The problem with that is that any goal written as a SMART goal irritates the snot out of me because it sounds like it belongs on a memo from Human Resources.

If I have a goal of “Teach my kids to put away their own laundry” that seems like enough.

If I write it as a smart goal, it would come out as “My two children will be able to put away an entire basket of their own laundry within twenty minutes, without adult assistance and only minimal nagging by the end of October 2012.”  BLECH.  (and even then, i suspect it might fail the “reasonableness” test.)

(ok, when i proof-read that smart goal, it read as blah blah blah in my head.  honest.)

Mom-Goals can be down and dirty.

None of my goals are fancy (or smart).  But they work for me.

(if a goal isn’t “smart” does that make it stupid?)

Down and Dirty Goals Give me Hope and Purpose.

Keeping up with the daily house cleaning is boring.  Cleaning the house in anticipation of a PARTY? That’s motivation and purpose!

Walking every day is boring (for me) and I ignore it on my to-do list. Walking as part of a goal to score more steps on the pedometer than my husband makes it more fun. Walking with a mental map of how many steps it takes to walk the circle at Epcot?  Motivating.

Teaching my kids to put away their own laundry is a chore.  It would be easier to do it on my own (and faster).  But then I’m stuck forever putting away their clothes (and re-doing it because they make messes).

Keeping the big picture in mind (their launch to adulthood) isn’t enough.  Envisioning their laundry independence by Christmas gives me Joy.  (admit it.  the idea of not putting away laundry gives you joy too, right?)

Down and Dirty Blueprint for Goals

Each month, I set a handful of goals.

Honestly, I have no intention of actually making them all happen.

If I set ten goals, I’m happy if I achieve seven of them during the month.  Because I spend all of five minutes jotting down my goals at the start of the month, I often discover that some of them just aren’t feasible or well thought out.  Or I discover that they just aren’t a priority.


If you’ve followed my blog very long, you also know that I only started setting goals for myself in August of this year.  Not a huge track record.  I know that it made an instant difference in my life and my “joy-level” because I felt more purposeful and focused each day.  But I used to have a job where goal setting and achievements were a big deal.  I’ve just been on a “goal sabbatical” for about seven years.

My goals follow a simple format.goals blueprint

  1. Life skills for kids
  2. Good habits for me (max of three)
  3. Big scary thing
  4. Adventure and family fun
  5. Marriage
  6. God
  7. House
  8. Give back to the world
  9. Business
  10. Just for me

Ten things that I try to do for a month that will make my world a better place next month.  Accomplishing even one of them will give me the prospect of a better future.

Notice I said “my world” and not the world in general.  It’s just a list of 10 things that will make me a happier mom.  How hard is that?

If you take a closer look, you’ll see that the goals represent a fairly well-balanced mix for life.

(the goals blueprint is available as a goals blueprint pdf and a blank version is available as goals blank pdf)

This month:

  1. Teach the kids how to put away their own blooming laundry.
  2. Schedule the appointment with the dermatologist about that spot on my nose.
  3. Schedule open house party (probably not going to happen this month. sigh)
  4. Go camping and set up the deer lease camp.
  5. Coffee date with hubby twice a week.
  6. Weekly bible study.
  7. Get ready for the upcoming open house.
  8. Clear out books and sell them for missions donations.
  9. Blog – 31 Days of Joy in Motherhood
  10. Read two books.  One fiction and one non fiction.

See? Simple.

I have my list jotted on an index card.  Am I going to achieve them all? Nope.  But will I be closer than I would have been without them? Yep. Will next month be better than this month because of them? Probably.

Your “joy assignment” today is really simple.  Take five minutes and jot down 10 simple things that would make you a happier mom.  Then start making them happen for yourself.

This is day 15 of 31 Days of Joy in Motherhood.  I’d love to know if you have any requests for specific “joy topics” that I haven’t covered yet in the series.   

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination for eggs, socks, and books. She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family. She serves an amazing God. She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

Get social:
Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

Latest posts by Susan Baker (see all)


  1. Great list! I was just working on my goals for this season. I’m thinking it is time for me to get really real on my blog (more to come!) and I’m committing myself to reading The 5 Love Languages by New Years, which means I’ll probably be reading it all night New Year’s Eve…
    Emily recently posted..Mama goes old school: Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Casserole StyleMy Profile

    • I’m looking forward to seeing how your weekend in Vegas translates onto your blog. 🙂 And the love language book is available on audio if that makes it easier for you.

  2. I’m definitely not a list maker, or even one to write down goals, but I do agree that it is important to pursue what you want. It’s not enough to say, for example, that your marriage is important. You need to work at it in concrete ways.
    Ginger Kay recently posted..What Elwood taught meMy Profile

  3. Your discussion of the SMART goals made me smile. That concept always drove me nuts and you put the “why” into words. I’m going to have to follow closely on how well you succeed with that children & the laundry goal. My older son is currently incapable of moving a large pile from the foot of his bed to the dresser where it belongs.
    Jean recently posted..When the Cat’s Away Menu PlanMy Profile

    • This morning, my kids were sorting clean laundry from the big pilo-o-clean laundry into a basket with just THEIR clothes. They were putting stuff away into their closet. It was WITHOUT any prompting. I was in total shock! I gave them the vision (leadership style) of them being adults. My husband gave them the how-to.

      I suspect it was an isolated incident and will not happen again. 🙂

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.
%d bloggers like this: