How to Use the Magic of Long Term Goals to Find Happiness Now

Gooooaaaaal! How Setting Long Term Goals Maintains my Daily Sanity | Reining in Mom


How to Use The Magic of Long Term Goals to Find Happiness Now | Reining in Mom

Every morning with my kids begins with the same little squeak of the door being pushed open by a small hand, ready to play with me. It’s not quite the alarm clock playing “I Got You Babe” from Groundhog Day but the reference is appropriate. The rest of my day and night follows a pleasant pattern seemingly carbon copied from the day before and the day to come. Breakfast, crafts, legos, dishes. Rinse, wash, repeat. 

Only the magic of long term goals can break the spell of the daily grind. Having projects to work on where I can see real progress and feel accomplished helps me move through the monotony of child rearing.

Break the Cycle with Long Term Goals

Of course raising children is an amazing experience. But it is the ultimate grind. We just keep working at it even though it seems all gains from yesterday are erased tomorrow. It’s hard to gauge how you’re doing at it, or feel like you really nailed it day to day. 

We all know self-confidence is built on “wins” both small and large. Long term goals give us those wins. Otherwise, I feel like I’m just running in place with no measure of success.

Plus, if I don’t have a project, I too easily fall into scrolling Facebook anytime I have a free moment. I need a plan to capitalize on those rare times I have an hour or two to myself.

Break Long Term Goals Down Into Achievable Bites

Every year, I review the closing year and set up goals for the coming year. Then I break down what I want to do to achieve those goals by month.  I break that down even further into steps I can take each week to progress on my goals.

I have assigned different goals to different days of the week. So on any given Sunday, I know I am working on being a more active and engaged parent. Usually that means picking out kids activities to do for the week, like crafts or events. On Tuesdays, I know I’m working on my financial goals. Thursdays are for deepening friendships, and so on.

You could try to gamify (game-i-fie) your goals by doing a 30-day Challenge. Say your goal is to have better sleeping habits. Your challenge could be to sleep 8 hours every night for 30 days. Then you can create a tracker and check off when you achieve your goal, trying to get to 30 days in a row. Or you can use an app like Today which tracks your habit for you.

Check in With Your Long Term Goals Often

Too often we set goals in the beginning of the year only to completely lose touch with them by February. The key to setting and achieving your long term goals is checking in with them regularly. 

Reviewing my long term goals weekly to set my tasks for the week helps me recognize that I have in fact been making gains even when I feel like I’m just treading water. I can also course correct when I get too focused on one goal to the detriment of others. For example, I’ve been very focused on health and wellness and have made great strides there, but I’ve ignored for the most part spirituality and finding purpose outside of motherhood. If I didn’t have a roadmap that I checked frequently, I would have forgotten these goals. 

Reviewing my long term goals weekly highlights my gains when I feel like I’m just treading water. Click To Tweet

So I need a plan, or rather, a really good planner. I’ve used the Spark Notebook and Passion Planner in the past, which are great goal-setting planners if you want everything set up for you. I now use my bullet journal to track my 30-day challenges, long term goals, and short term tasks. I love that it’s totally customizable based on my changing needs or whims but it’s definitely more DIY and self-directed.

The important thing is just to find a way that works for you to check in with your goals regularly so you can track your progress and remember where you want to go.


Long term goals help me feel a sense of tangible accomplishment every day. I can see my progress and build on it which is a huge boost to my confidence and my energy. Without that, it is too easy to feel at sea, dependent on the changing currents to move me. With long term goals,  I am directing my own vessel.

Without goals, it is too easy to feel at sea. With goals, I am directing my own vessel.Click To Tweet

Do you set long term goals? Maybe you are a superstar with a 5-year plan? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, please pin, email, or share this post if it was useful to you!


How To Use The Magic of Long Term Goals to Find Happiness Now | Reining in Mom

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  1. I just have a lot of “to-do” lists. Long term, short term, whatever. Written by hand. It’s fun to cross stuff off. So last century.

    1. I love crossing things off my to do list, but I use an app called Clear that even lets you swipe to put a line through the item, and then gives a little buzz. Very satisfying 🙂

  2. I LOVE setting goals. I am such a nerd about them too. I have an Excel sheet which I use to plan and then time them in a daily planner. It has helped me increase my productivity two-fold.

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