How do you set goals and plan in uncertain times?

There is no doubt that we’re all going into 2021 feeling pretty uncertain. After the global pandemic literally threw all our plans to the wind last year, it feels challenging to write anything down in terms of goals for 2021.

This season of your life probably isn’t helping either. Whether you’re trying to conceive (and can’t guarantee or predict anything), or are pregnant (and at the whim of your hormones and baby at this point), or you’re a mother who has to go with the flow (or will of other small beings), planning anything can feel super challenging.

I think this is one of the reasons why we feel a bit lost in this time of our lives. It’s a season of massive change and without any direction it can feel like we’re just drifting and not really going anywhere.

In my experience, planning and goal setting is very helpful to dispel this lost feeling BUT you have to make sure you don’t do it in a way that just sets you up for failure. So let’s talk about how you actually do that. Read on or scroll to the end to watch the video.

plan in uncertain times

How do you plan in uncertain times?

1. Get clear on what you can and can’t control

In the past I’ve been guilty of setting goals that involve outcomes I have zero control over. As you can probably guess, it didn’t end well.

Things you can’t control = when you’ll fall pregnant, when your baby will arrive, what your baby will be like when he/she arrives, how your body will hold weight, how much sleep you’ll get with a new baby, how your partner will act once a baby arrives.

If you set goals around things that are completely out of your hands you’ll end the year feeling disheartened and like you haven’t succeeded in any area.

Things you can control = how you look after yourself, how you organise your time to make yourself happy, how you communicate your needs, how you fuel your body to feel the best you can, how you move your body to be in your best health.

Setting goals that are within your control means you at least have a chance of meeting them.

2. Focus on how you want to feel

Achievement based goals can feel really overwhelming when you’re in an uncertain season of life. Goals are meant to feel motivating, but they often have the opposite effect when you don’t have stable routine to work from.

If you find this to be true, I recommend creating FEELING based goals instead. Danielle Laporte’s work is based around this and I highly recommend checking her out if this is something that resonates with you.

For example, let’s say you’re a new Mum who is feeling resentful that you don’t have time for yourself. Perhaps you’re struggling to remember who you are now that you’ve got kids and you want to set a goal to rediscover who YOU are.

Now that is a really big fucking goal. “Find my life purpose” is pretty big. (In fact I have a sneaking suspicion that many of us will still be doing this at 90). It feels too overwhelming.

However, if instead you focused on how you wanted to feel. Eg. Rested, expansive, accomplished, connected. You’d have a better chance of getting there (and probably a better idea of how to get there as well).

If your goal is to feel connected you might schedule some time to yourself, book a babysitter, organise a play date swap with a friend. You might also take up activities that help you feel connected to yourself – journalling, meditation, quiet time alone.

And as a bonus these seemingly small baby steps ARE probably stepping you closer to feeling like YOU again, but they are much less overwhelming than the previously ‘achievement’ focused goal.

3. Let yourself dream big (but plan small)

I think there is a tendency when life feels uncertain to play it small. To not allow yourself to dream big, for fear of feeling disappointed when said intended goal doesn’t happen. But I think it’s really important to keep dreaming big even when your goal feels impossible.

Our brains can’t create a reality that they can’t imagine or see (with the exception of the few big impossible dreamers out there). Most of us though, can’t even imagine something we haven’t encountered before. So we end up moving towards things that feel familiar and possible, even if it feels like a bit of a challenge, instead of dreaming bigger or different or impossible.

But for the last four years I’ve been challenging myself to write goals that feel impossible to me at the time. I’ve done this through my own personal journalling but also here on the blog.

Each time I put my goals out there they felt scary. I don’t like feeling the shame of possibly not achieving them, but I knew if my brain was ever going to get to work on them I had to at least write them down.

On that list has included;

Publishing a book.

Preparing my body to be healthy enough to carry another baby (after 3 losses)

Growing this online business to reach women all around the world.

None of these things would have happened if I didn’t let myself dream outside what I thought was possible for me. (As a SIDE note, none of them happened when I THOUGHT they should happen. We have no control over the ‘when’, but we can continue letting them be a possibility by visualising them)

Are you ready to start planning your year? I’d love to know what your big seemingly impossible goals are for 2021?

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