Planning For The Future

Making short-term and long-term goals for your and your child’s future is important. Doing this can help you to better define what you want to achieve and to track (and celebrate) progress you make along the way. 

Set Goals

Short-term goals might include some of your biggest priorities and ones you want to accomplish in 12 months or less. They can also be steps towards achieving longer-term goals, which usually take a year or more. The following are examples of goals you might have and suggestions for ways you can begin to tackle them. 

  • Parenting. Goals can include potty training your child, teaching your child new skills (such as painting), or learning new songs together.
  • Education. Advancing your education can mean starting a search for schools or making an appointment with a counselor if you want to go to college. Our articles on finishing school can help get you started. If you are in college, a goal could be to apply for scholarships.
  • Job. It’s always a good idea to create or update your resume, especially if you want to find a job soon. If you already have a job, a goal could be finding work-life balance or getting more organized. Learn more in our article about job and career planning.
  • Relationships. Developing healthy relationships with your child, partner, and family members is always a work in progress. For tips, see our article on healthy relationships.
  • Career. Set big goals, such as starting your own business or working your way into a leadership position (a CEO, maybe?).
  • Health. Set ambitious goals, such as participating in a 5K or a marathon, losing weight, or committing to a healthier lifestyle.
  • Financial. Financial goals can take time, such as saving money to send your child to college, building or improving your credit score, or purchasing a car or home.
  • Family. Goals can include having more children or taking your family on a big vacation.

Reaching Your Goals 

Reaching your goals might require breaking them up into small steps and reminding yourself why your goals are important. Here are some tips to help: 
  • Visualize your goals. Write down your goals and steps you will take to achieve them, and track your progress. Or write a letter to yourself stating what you want to accomplish in 3 months, 1 year, and 5 years, and save it for future you. You can also make a vision board with pictures of your goals and post it somewhere to keep you motivated.  Learn about how to set SMART goals here.
  • Build a support network. For instance, reach out to family and friends, find a mentor who can guide you in a specific career path, and connect with people with similar interests and goals so you can learn from and support one another. Share your goals with individuals who can help hold you accountable and who can potentially share resources with you.
  • Money and time management. Learn how to manage your time and money, which are essential to reaching your goals. For help, see our article on managing time and managing money.
  • Step outside of your comfort zone. Become aware of the things you believe are worth doing and take baby steps to make them happen. Try to ignore fear of disappointment and view things as a learning opportunity.
  • Be flexible, and don’t give up. Unplanned events might set your goals back, and that’s okay. If it seems your goals may take longer to reach, be willing to take some time to re-think your timelines or approaches.
  • Take care of your health. Practice self-care. Working towards your goals can require good physical, mental, and emotional health. It also can require you to learn better stress management skills.
  • Celebrate yourself. Make sure to reward yourself every time you reach one of your goals. It can be as small as taking a break to watch a movie or going out to get ice cream with your child.