Whilst being assertive and having positive self talk were high on my list of skills for every woman, I think that being able to set meaningful goals is also a very important skill for women to have. The reason is that a lot of women get to a certain age, and they put their own desires and dreams last. But that doesn’t need to be the case, although the progression of achieving their desires might slow down during years when children are young, that progression doesn’t have to stop altogether.
The goals can be as ambitious or cautious as you wish, as personal or work-related as you wish, as public or private as you wish.
Goals for this section: help clarify your thoughts, get you started, save time, give you the impetus to make changes, are not set in concrete and can be changed!
Some people feel uncomfortable about setting goals because:
- it seems like tempting fate
- if they don’t reach them, they’ll feel a failure
- if they’re a success – what next?
- they’d rather just let life happen to them
- they’d rather make it up as they go along
- they’re too busy
- they don’t have the confidence
How do you feel about setting goals?
Life for many women is rather like doing a circus balancing act while juggling at the same time! For those setting out on adult life there are so many options to think about and choices to make. Older women have to take account of the consequences of many previous decisions. Take as much time as you need to think about the questions that are important to you.
The questions are designed to help you think about the different aspects of your life. Use them to clarify your thoughts and spark off ideas to help you in your goals. Skip the sections that don’t apply to you.
- do you have your own income?
- if so, how well does your income match your outgoings?
- how do you feel about the different?
- are you the only breadwinner? What does that mean to you?
- do you have, or are you considering having, a mortgage?
- how much more do you want to earn?
- how much less could you manage on if you really needed to or wanted to?
- how much money do you want to earn long-term?
- why about superannuation? Are you in the best scheme for you?
- do you have any investments or savings? Do you know what’s best for your future investment?
- what if you became ill or couldn’t work for a long time?
- are you in paid employment?
- are you looking for paid employment?
- how do you feel about working/not working in paid employment?
- how do you want to work? full-time/part-time/job-sharing/self-employment?
- how prepared are you to move for work?
- what daily travel are you prepared to do?
If you are thinking of starting your own business or already have one, consider:
- how far down the track are you?
- what is the nature of your produce or service?
- what market are you in?
- who specifically are your customers?
- what do they buy now?
- who are your competitors?
- how will market trends affect your business?
- how ill you cope if your income is irregular?
Philosophy of life
Everybody has one, whether it is a deeply held spiritual belief, or a catch phrase you run your life by, such as ‘live and let live’, ‘never do harm to anyone’. It may not be something you think about every day.
- what is your philosophy of life?
- do you have particular religious or spiritual beliefs?
- do you follow any other particular path of development?
- what are you looking for or hoping for?
- what are your views about death?
- have you made a Will?
Living on your own
- is it out of choice, or through special circumstances?
- what do you enjoy most about living on your own?
- what do you like least about living on your own?
- how long do you want to go on living on your own?
- what do your friends/family think about it?
- do they pressurise you to do something different?
- how does it affect you financially?
- how prepared are you to move?
- what do you like to do for holidays?
Considering a close partnership
If you are considering sharing your life with someone else do you:
- see it as a partnership for life or short-term?
- want to live with the person?
- know where you will live?
- want to share financial arrangements?
- want to have sexual relations?
- want to make it a legal arrangement?
- feel your freedom being eaten away?
- know what you want out of the relationship?
- know what the other person wants?
- know your doubts, fears and hopes?
- share your doubts, fear and hopes with the other person?
- love the person?
- know how compatible or complementary your daily rhythms are?
- know what effect if will have on your social life?
- know how your work patterns relate to each other’s?
- know how your track record with relationships in influencing you?
Being in a partnership
- how do you feel about your relationship?
- how much respect does your partner show for you?
- to what extent does your sex life satisfy you?
- to what extent do you tolerate verbal, emotional and physical violence?
- what financial arrangements do you have – separate or joint?
- how do you share all the expenses equally/proportionally to your income? pool everything and act as if it’s one income?
- if you both work what comes first – your work? your partner’s work? your relationship with each other?
- how do you see your own work?
- how does your partner see your work?
- essential financially?
- unimportant for your fulfilment as a person
- necessary for your development as a person?
- gets in the way of your relationship?
- enhances your relationship?
- stops you being effective in other roles?
- helps you cope with other roles?
- how mobile and flexible are you?
- will move for your own work
- will move for your partners’ work
- happy to be away for short spells/ longer spells
- happy for you partner to be away for short spells/longer spells
- whose work takes priority?
- how mobile and flexible is your partner?
- what about holidays? – have them together/separate/varies
- how long do you see your partnership lasting?
Considering having children?
- how do you feel about it?
- how does your partner feel?
- what size family do you want?
- how ill children affect your life generally (financially, practically, emotionally)?
- what arrangements will be needed for items of ill health?
- who will take what amount of time off around the birth?
- how might a career break affect your career/your life with the children/your partnership?
- what if you are unable to have children?
- how might you feel?
- what help will you seek?
- when will you give up trying?
- will you consider adoption?
Already have children
- was this a conscious choice?
- how do you feel about it?
- what are the benefits and drawbacks?
- how do other people trade you as a result?
- what might change this situation?
- who supports the children financially?
- how would you cope with the children or your partner in the event of illness in the family/short or long spells away for work?
- who cares for, or will care for, your children after school and in the school holidays?
- if your child is under school age, how happy are you with your childcare arrangements?
- who arranges babysitting?
- who does the ‘thinking’ around how the children are looked after?
- hoe does being a working mother appeal to you?
- what do you enjoy or look forward to about being a working mother?
- what do you need to do to improve things?
- has your child any special needs?
- how does this affect your life?
- how is your relationships with your children changing as they grow up?
- how do you feel about your children leaving or having left home?
- how does having grown-up children affect you?
- what effect does this situation have on your life?
- in terms of time
- in terms of mobility
- what special needs does your relative have?
- how much are you able to meet the needs yourself?
- how are the rest of the needs met?
- what support services do you still need?
- what further support do you still need?
- what changes do you foresee in the immediate future?
Personal interest and activities
Are you involved in any activities outside work and home?
- how important are these activities to you, and why?
- are any of your family, friends or colleagues involved in these activities too or is this a separate network you are connected with?
- what impact do these activities have on you?
- physically, mentally, emotionally
- in terms of time
- in terms of your relationships
- would you prefer to spend more or less time and energy involved in these activities?
- are there other personal interest and activities you would like to pursue?
- what would you have to do to become involved with these?
Sense of direction
- What makes you really angry?
- What do you get really excited about?
- If you were to die today, what would you regret not having achieved?
- What ambitions do you have that remain unfulfilled?
- What unfulfilled dreams to you have?
- What are your deepest held values? Are they being met?
- Are you spending the time of your life as you would wish?