Mama talks... goals, part 1: Building foundations

This week we have a jam-packed two-parter for our goals theme. We'll be talking about intentions, attention, priorities, motivation and more. And because all of these things get turned upside down when you become a parent, it's really important that we go easy on ourselves, especially on those days when we haven't stopped for a single moment, and yet somehow feel like we've got nothing to show for all our hard work. But you can breathe easy now, because these two mums understand how to keep it both real and realistic, for everyone's sake.

Today in Part 1 we're hearing from Liz Ward, an Executive Life Coach who helps professionals and entrepreneurs pivot their careers and businesses for success. For her it's all about the tiny steps that add up to make big things happen.

Tomorrow we'll hear a different angle from Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor Kim Saha, as she takes us through her advice for postnatal fitness goals. Kim makes juggling her fitness career with three busy kids look easy, so we can certainly learn a thing or two here!

Four foundations to help you pivot - Liz Ward

When we proactively make a decision to pivot from the place we are now, to somewhere new, it can be overwhelming. For most, our desire for growth is a constant, and our ability to hit our goals comes down to our approach.

I believe the secret to pivoting towards our goals successfully is to create small, consistent, repetitive behaviours, so that we can facilitate change more gradually.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

When we proactively form regular, positive behaviours towards our goals, the goals become a lot more achievable. The regularity exercises the muscle memory in our brains. Positivity breeds positivity, removing the overwhelm.

Here are four foundations that you can apply to a goal in any area of your life, whether it be parenting, health, hobbies, career or relationships:

1. Go big, then go small

Create a big vision for what you want. A vision is simply a moment in your future where you have your perfect world. It’s the way you’d like everything to be. It’s best to write this down and incorporate as many senses as you can. What do you hear, see, smell, feel? Write it down or create a “vision board”, then put it somewhere you can see it every day.

Take a few minutes each day to write or draw in a journal. Doing this helps to turn visions, affirmations, and gratitude into habits. Each morning, write down a few things that you are grateful for, what would make your day great, and an affirmation or two. That is a great way to kick start your day. End your day by recapping the day, celebrating a few small wins, and identifying one or two things that you can improve on. Doing this gets your subconscious rolling and working on the next day while you sleep.

2. Nourish your body and mind in the morning

During major pivots (and the small ones too) our bodies need to be treated super kindly so that we have the energy, brain-space and courage to operate outside our comfort zones and implement change.

“Morning routine” is a self-help buzz word right now, I’d prefer not to jump on the bandwagon, but they really do work. For us busy mamas, we might not have the luxury of long uninterrupted meditations, but you can still find something that works for you.

I use tech to help me…I find the Headspace ten minute guided meditations really useful and I journal for a few minutes on my iPhone when I wake up. I note how I’m feeling, what I want to get out of the day (my tiny step) and what I’m grateful for. Then I eat a good breakfast.

3. Buddy Up

Telling someone else your vision makes it real. It also means that by putting it out there you may be more likely to do something about it. You can turn this into a real positive by finding an accountability buddy. Someone you can check in with at regular intervals. They could be a friend or colleague with a similar mission to you, or a coach where you can have a more formal set up.

They say “a problem shared is a problem halved”, so find a buddy that can support, encourage and challenge you. You’ll find you get so much more done in between the chats.

4. High five every tiny step

Have a mini celebration each time you complete a tiny step. That celebration might simply be giving yourself a high five, emailing your buddy or taking a walk along the river, looking at the sky and feeling pleased with yourself.

By giving ourselves recognition for each little thing, we celebrate progress, positivity is reinforced and our motivation continues.

The key to successful pivots is to turn these four foundations into habits. Try not to worry too much, just see what happens if you commit to practising these four things for a week. I wonder what you will have achieved by the end of the week?

“It’s the little details that are vital. They make the big things happen.” John Wooden.

Lizzy Ward is Founder and Coach at Slick Pivot. Helping professionals and entrepreneurs pivot their careers and businesses for success