Last week’s blog post focused on the importance of setting goals and making plans. This week, we’re going to focus on the hard part: actually following through and sticking to the plans we’ve made, to turn our goals into a reality.

This is easier said than done. How many of us have sat down and planned out a diet, or an exercise program, only to abandon the whole thing within a week or two? It happens all the time. Making a plan is one thing, but even with the best intentions, you can’t create postive change in your life without rearranging some things. It’s going to take time, and effort, and probably at least a little bit of sacrifice. So when you are laying out your plans and preparing to challenge yourself in a new way, make sure you are ready to make some changes, to set yourself up with the tools you need to succeed in your goals.

Every aspect of life that requires you to show up is going to demand two major resources: time and energy. Whether the challenge is raising a family, maintaining a career, going back to school to gain new skills, or just indulging in a hobby that enriches your spirit—if you don’t put your energy into it, you won’t get good results. And if you don’t put any time in, well, it might not happen at all.

Since this is the IDLM blog, our focus is on how much time you need to make your doula practice look the way you want it to look. This will be different for everyone, but it is important to figure out what the answer is for you. Are you working on improving your skills and knowledge so you can be of the best possible service to your own family and community? Are you hoping to build a full-time professional practice that will support you financially? Are you focusing on building something in-between, or more specific, or maybe using your doula training as a tool do do some other kind of work?

The more you are hoping to get out of this work, the more you will have to put in. So figure out how much time and energy you think your doula practice will need from you. It might be a couple of hours a week, it might be a little bit of time every day. It might be a lot of time every day. Whatever it is, make sure to plan for that time and commit to it. Make task lists and prioritize the right time to go through them, don’t just tell yourself, “Oh I need to think about getting XYZ done sometime,” and then let yourself forget. Because you will forget.

This is true for all the other life commitments that have already been mentioned: family, school, and professional work. Some of these things will have to take priority over your doula practice, and that’s all right. Some of them might be able to take a back seat. Sometimes emergencies come up and we have to rearrange our priorities to fit our immediate needs… there’s nothing wrong with that either. What matters is being mindful of where your time and energy are going, and sending them where you most want them to go.

Working as a doula doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a “grind set mindset.” Very much the opposite, in fact—one of the priorities on your list should always be rest and self care! But if you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out. And as always, remember you’re not in this alone. Your IDLM family is always here to support you.

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