First things first, let's address the elephant in the room: mom life is crazy, am I right?! We wake up early (like, way too early) each and every day to serve the needs of our families, constantly being pulled in a million different directions by a million different requests and responsibilities.
"Mom, I'm hungry!"
"Mom, I can't find my shoes!"
"Mom, my sister hit me!"
"Honey, I don't have any clean socks!"
"Ma'am, did you know your child is licking that....."
Honestly, it's no wonder we often get to the end of our days feeling more than a little defeated and used up, lacking in the joy and fulfillment department, but totally clueless about how to improve things. When you're stuck in a rhythm of survival mode, there's no room for clarity, focus or growth. There is only the here and now, doing the one thing you know to do: keep trudging forward. And that is no way to live, mama!
Here's the thin: you can't improve something unless you know what you want the end result to be. Recognizing that things aren't working is a great starting point....but you can't stop there! In order to actually figure out what you want (and how to get it!) you're going to have to tackle a few key things first (don't worry, I promise they won't be too painful!)
1. Get to know yourself
Something I've noticed over the years is that mothers all across the world are massively out of touch with who they are. They might be able to tell you who they were when they were kids, or in high school or before having kids. But, since becoming moms? Nothing.
So many women draw a blank as to who they are outside the context of "mom" (the label shouted at them approximately 1.2 thousand times per day!) Ask a chronically overwhelmed, exhausted mom what she likes or wants to do, and you'll most likely be met with a blank stare followed by two standard responses: chocolate and a nap!
In order to figure out what you really want (and don't want!) so that you can make it happen, you have to first discover who you are right now. You need to know the good stuff: what you enjoy, what you're good at, what conditions your thrive in, what drives you, what you're passionate about, etc. And, you need to also know your unique personal challenges too: your fears, weaknesses, personal biases, what conditions stress you out or make you angry, what you dislike, etc.
Word to the wise: I think it can be incredibly helpful to invite the outside perspectives of people who know you well into this process, BUT be picky about who you choose. Allow only those whose thoughts, opinions, and observations have a track record of being life-giving to you.
To help you get reacquainted with yourself, I've put together a little workbook that will get you asking and answering the important questions to work through this process for yourself.
2. Discover what's important to you and why it's so important
Once you've gotten to know the core of who you are, the next step in your journey to discover what you want most is to learn what matters to you most - and why. Identifying and understanding your core values as a wife/mom/woman/friend/daughter/entrepreneur, etc will help you better understand the driving force behind your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Something important to remember is that your values will often change throughout the course of your life as you grow, evolve and move in and out of different seasons. So, what was most important to you as a child or a teen probably looks very different from what is most important to you now.
This is why getting intentional about including regular self reflection in your life is so essential to ongoing personal growth. If you're not regularly reassessing, you'll find yourself stuck in old rhythms and patters that aren't serving you anymore.
In the workbook you'll do a little deep digging to discover just what it is that drives your passions so that you can take that knowledge and begin rebuilding a life centered around what's most important to you.
3. Identify and overcome the obstacles in your way
By this point you might be feeling like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, as you've gotten reacquainted with yourself and your passions - this process can have a kind of buoyancy effect! But, I'm going to be real with you mama: it isn't enough just to learn who you are and what's important to you. In order to actually move forward with living the kind of life you want to, you've got to know what you're going up against.
Honestly, I think it can be a little addicting to focus only on the good stuff - why else are we so obsessed with taking those online Buzzfeed quizzes and personality tests? It feels good to receive validation about who we are when we've been living in a place of confusion, out of touch with ourselves and our desires. But being armed with the knowledge of what exactly you'll need to overcome on your journey is what is going to set you up for success!
I'm sure you've experienced that feeling of being "stuck" never able to actually make forward progress despite how much you desperately want things to change. Know the feeling I'm talking about? Yeah, me too - and it turns out there's a name for it! It's called "opposition resistance," and it's when we say we want something, but a combination of our memories, experiences, and beliefs lead us to fear the outcome of actually getting what we say we want. This can lead to us subconsciously self-sabotaging and staying stuck where we're at.
"The only limits you see are the ones you impose on yourself." - Dr. Wayne Dyer
This is why understanding and working through your internal baggage is so important on your journey to achieve everything you want in life. Once you've identified and overcome your mindset blocks and obstacles, you'll be blown away by how quickly the pathways to success will open up for you in every area of your life!
4. Find your baseline
Moving on to a more practical side of things, it's time for you to get a thorough assessment of both what is and is not working, what you are and are not loving in your life, so that you can accurately pick and choose what needs to stay and what needs to go!
Important note here: you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because it feels like things in your life aren't exactly right at the moment, doesn't mean everything is wrong - right? Think about it like this. When your house gets messy and cluttered, you wouldn't just light a match and send the whole thing up in flames, would you? Hopefully not! Instead, you would tackle it one step at a time, working to de-clutter and clean up room by room, deciding what is okay the way it is and what isn't.
Likewise, when it comes to getting your life in order, you just need to assess what you want more of and what you want less of, so you can move forward with clear focus and direction that aligns with the values you outlined earlier.
5. Connect the dots
This last part is, in my opinion, the most fun step! This is the part where you get to look back over everything you've just done and learned and find the common threads that will point you in a direction (or multiple directions) that equal what you really want in your life!
Everything that you've worked through to this point has led to you being able to figure out with greater clarity which paths make the most sense for who you are and what you want to achieve in life.
Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone here! Comfort zones are nice, cozy places, but rarely will you ever find growth in them. Embrace whatever conclusions you've reached at this point.
Maybe you knew what you wanted all along, and this process has helped reaffirm what you were already thinking and feeling. Or maybe what's staring you in the face right now is so wildly different from the reality you've been living, that you're completely overwhelmed by the thought of changing course so drastically. Either way, you owe it to yourself, your family, your creator, and to the world to be exactly who you are and live a life you love.
At this point it might be really helpful for you to find someone who can help you make sense of where exactly you've landed and how to best move forward with what you've discovered you want in your life. Remember this truth: you can do this. God has equipped you to step into the destiny for which He's created you. But, you don't have to do it alone!