“I’m so over this” my friend told me as we were sitting on a park bench watching our kids play happily. Why couldn’t life always be that easy?
She had set some goals for herself, but never accomplished them. I had a theory that she was picking the wrong goals. Her goals didn’t seem like her.
“What if you shifted your thinking a bit?” I asked tentatively. “You know, set goals like ‘create a good family meal’ instead of ‘save enough to go out to a fancy dinner with just my husband’. Not that the second is a bad goal. It’s just that lately you seem to love your family time and it might be a more manageable goal.”
“Hmm” she replied, with a thoughtful (and not ticked off) look on her face. Our friendship lived another day even though I’d recommended some personal development advice. You never know with these things!
Have you ever watched a kid lie through their teeth to get what she wanted? They look you right in the eye and tell you something you know to be false just so they can get whatever particular thing they are after.
When children do this, especially our children, we know we need to teach them better. It’s a natural part of growing up.
Unfortunately, some people don’t learn that it’s best not to lie to get what you want. The truth is always the preferred method.
These characteristics are unmistakable in many people that we come into contact with day in and day out. And the majority of them aren’t children.
It’s crazy to think of how many people are drawn into these lies. These people sacrifice their values to reach their goals.
If you want to be successful in life, you have to align your values with your goals. Success comes from living your life day in and day out on the path toward your goals. Values and goals must complement each other in order to be effective.
Let’s say your goal is to teach your children to tell the truth. If you lie to them constantly it’s going to send them a mixed message. Rather than teach them to tell the truth, your actions are going to teach them to lie.
Instead, if you are honest with them and show them the benefits of telling the truth day in and day out, you show them what it means to live with integrity and pass that characteristic on to them.
Your values in this case specifically help you reach the goal of teaching your children to tell the truth.
However, there’s another side of the coin here. What if your goals cause you anxiety? What if you wake up in the morning and feel this crushing weight when you think of achieving your goals?
These gloomy feelings might just be tipping you off that your goals aren’t going to give you that happy feeling when you are successful. If you don’t like the person you are going to become if you reach your goals, maybe it’s time to change goals. If you don’t like yourself, then how can you expect someone else to like you? If you don’t respect yourself, what will your children see when they look at you?
Instead, you need to align your goals and your values so you can be confident in your ability to reach your goals AND in the person you are based on the values you hold.
Define your goals
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The first step is to define your goals. There are many types of goals and only you can decide which ones are most important to you and your family.
Most of the time we like to think of goals as things that apply to a career or wealth. Common goals might be “get a promotion” or “bring in an extra $2,000 a year”. These are good goals, but they may not be the best goals for you.
Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom. What promotion do you have to look forward to? Trick question I know!
Does this mean you shouldn’t have goals? Of course not! It means that career and wealth goals aren’t the only ones worth having!
There are all sorts of goals, from social goals to spiritual goals, or even personal goals that are about self-development (which I’m guessing is probably closer to what you’re expecting if you’re reading this blog!).
In the end, you want to find balance in these different qualities of life. You want to have well rounded goals that help you move forward as a person in many areas of your life.
If you need more help with figuring out goals, I have an entire post dedicated to how to set goals and achieve them.
Would you rather take a quiz? I found a fantastic FREE quiz from Nadalie at It’s All You Boo to help you figure it out!
Define your values
Next, you need to define your values. What do you stand for?Some common values are:
What gets you out of bed every day? What’s that drive behind your actions?
Maybe you are a spiritual person and your relationship with God is a motivator. Maybe you are a family person through and through.
You might be ambitious and want an exciting career and lasting success. Or maybe you feel peace in helping others achieve their goals.
If you want to be happy (and I’m talking long term happiness as opposed to fake it until you make it happiness), then you need to align your values and your goals.
Unless these are your true values, faking it will only get you a hollow victory. Instead, strive to be true to yourself, work hard every day, and you will become the person you deserve to be.
Who do you admire?
Still struggling? Let’s think of some people you admire. Maybe they are famous and exhibit the values you’d like to have yourself. It’s their character you admire (not their money) so aspire to take similar actions.
Let’s take Oprah for example. She has a lot of characteristics that people admire. She has persevered through many hardships, was ambitious enough to develop a brand, and is generous with her wealth.
Maybe it’s a personal friend or family member. Sit down and talk to them. Pick their brain.Ask them what motivates their lives. What are their values? How have they aligned them with their goals?
My neighbor was my mentor for years. She got out of bed in the morning to give back to the teenagers of our community and provided a safe place for them to go for years. Watching her go after her goals and seeing her live out her values was inspiring not only to me, but to countless others.
A conversation with them can go a long way! And you might learn a thing or two from a person you admire.
How this helps you be a better parent
At some point or another, we’ve all felt a bit like a fraud when it comes to parenting.
Remember that feeling when you left the hospital with your first born? They just gave you a child to take care of! What were they thinking?
Eventually, you learn what you need to know as a parent and your confidence grows. But we’re constantly being thrown into various situations that have us questioning our decisions and choices. Not that we’d ever let our kids on to that little secret…
When we set goals that align with our values, they are goals that we WANT to accomplish. And we show our children what it looks like when an adult goes after a goal and completes it.
We share that pride and joy with them as they watch us succeed and life become better based on our own actions.
When your life is improved, it helps to improve your children’s lives too. You get a promotion at work and bring home a larger paycheck? That’s going to benefit your children.
You read all five books on your book club’s recommended list? You should them how to set a goal and achieve it one page at a time.
You get your entire basement organized and cleaned up? Your family now enjoys a sense of calm in the basement and maybe now there’s room for a new game or activity you all can benefit from.
Our children learn best from watching us. By practicing what we preach and showing them how to go after their goals (that are based on their values), we teach them an important life skill.
And isn’t that what parenting is all about?
How do you align your goals and values together? How do you discuss it with your children? Comment below and let’s talk about it!
If you need more help beating back the overwhelm, I’ve created an entire series to help get you back on track and organized. You can find it here: From Overwhelmed to Organized: 7 Steps for Taking Control of Your Life.