As parents, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Our emotions become out of control, leaving us incapable of making decisions, completing chores, or simply getting out of bed. While battling with our feelings, we also have to care for a little person who is usually oblivious to our emotions. To keep moving forward and complete the goals we have set for ourselves, we first have to control our emotions.
What do we do to control overwhelming emotions?
- Figure out what is causing the emotion.
- Realize it’s okay to have emotional reactions.
- Set a time in your day to focus on yourself.
- Reach out for help with a therapist or friend.
After controlling our emotions, we should focus on getting tasks done.
- Make a list of what you need to do.
- Start with the most important or most complicated tasks.
- Break the tasks down into small, manageable pieces.
- Cross each task off your list.
But what if you have long-term goals that you also need to accomplish? You can utilize the ASPIRE Framework Lori Gano-Overway and Sarah Carson Sackett created. The ASPIRE Framework allows you to set realistic goals that you are more likely to complete.
Assess Personal and Environmental Factors
Take note of what motivates you. Assess your current level of performance and any constraints, needs, or wants that may affect you achieving your goals. Also, figure out how committed you are to achieving your goals.
Specific and Measurable Goals
Goals should be specific and measurable, which leads to more progress toward achieving a goal. Using this aspect allows consistent motivation because the progress is measurable.
Performance, Learning, and Process Goals
There are 3 types of goals:
- Outcome goals focus on win-loss outcomes.
- Performance goals focus on improving your personal performance
- Process goals focus on the essentials needed to complete a task successfully.
All goal types have their place, but there should be less focus on outcome goals because you have less control over the outcomes. Researchers found that when we focus on performance and process goals, we have reduced anxiety, pressure, and increased self-efficacy (the belief that you have the skills necessary to complete a task). Gano-Overlay and Sackett (2022) state, “setting performance and process goals that focus on personal, controllable, and action-oriented task execution and support a positive mental state …may be more desirable.”
Incremental Short-Term Goals
Short and long-term goals should be combined to enhance motivation and performance. First, set a long-term goal that is specific and measurable. Then, break the long-term goal into short-term goals with an explicit timeline.
Short-term goals provide immediate feedback and assist in understanding the difficulty of the goal and whether new strategies should be used. While setting goals, identify barriers to achieving your goals and list strategies to conquer these barriers.
Realistic Yet Challenging Goals
The most effective goals are moderately difficult. Goals that are too difficult, lower the chances of achieving a goal. This can cause a reduction in effort and giving up the goals long term. You should also set goals that are relevant to you based on past performance. You can objectively set goals by having someone close to you give feedback, through observation or baseline data gathered from past performance. Setting realistic goals gives you control and makes you more committed to achieving them.
Evaluate and Support
Evaluating goals and overall progress is critical and often missed in goal-setting. You should develop an evaluation plan, record and share your goals, and set time to meet with an accountability partner to assess your progress. An evaluation plan allows you to adjust goals and maintain your level of challenge.
Your evaluation plan can include the following:
- Time of goals. Both short and long-term.
- Plans for recording progress and stumbling blocks.
- Reminders to stay focused on the journey and improvements despite stumbling blocks.
- Opportunities to reflect
- Goal evaluation time
The ASPIRE framework keeps you focused on your goals using various steps. The framework also helps you accomplish your goals while on your parenting journey by enabling you to set realistic goals and look at barriers you may encounter. You can also use motivational quotes along with this method to keep you on your journey to success. Make today your first step towards achieving your goals.
Gano-Overway, L., & Sackett, S. C. (2022). Let’s get smart and set goals to ASPIRE. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 13(4), 230-244.
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