Goals as a Couple
Whether you are married, living with a significant other or working with a partner, setting goals as a couple is valuable. It’s a way to organize life where the “have to’s” don’t get in the way of the “need to’s.” Scott Adams in his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big states that, Goals are for losers and systems are for winners. I tend to agree with that statement, so as we speak about goals, we will search for a system that will work for you.
Any time you spend talking and clarifying thoughts and dreams together as a team is a worthwhile process. With the amount of interruptions and urgent matters that crop up daily, having a big-picture mindset of where you are and where you want to be will help you weed through the urgent interruptions that can eat up your time and energy. Here, we will cover the areas of finance, family, personal & professional development, health and living location. We will ask two questions of each area. One: Why the goal? Two: What obstacles are in the way of the goal?
Financial Goals as a Couple
Finances are an area where many are in survival mode, but I encourage an ongoing, regular conversation. When Greg and I started out, there was very little money for anything extra. Christmas gifts to our kids were mostly from grandparents. Greg was working full time and finishing up a graduate degree and I decided to work part-time at home to be around for our kids. So we paid off bills and schooling as we went, spending mostly on necessities.
However, we got to a point where we could have the conversation about the future. We wanted to develop more freedom in our lives and that was our why. The obstacle would be accumulation of debt. Freedom didn’t mean extravagant travel or possessions for us, but the ability to work in an area we love and that has now happened with very little debt. If you are looking for guidance in putting together a system for you, I can highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s program at Ramsey Solutions. He has free online debt calculators, assessments and even investment calculators. There is no better time to assess where you’re at than at the end and beginning of a new year.
Family Goals as a Couple
When you have a growing family, one activity will borrow time from another activity. Activities such as, coaching sports teams, church involvement, music lessons and even time away for trips. Our regular meals together pretty much ended during sports season. Also, some church activities were no longer possible when band competitions became a conflict. Some will want to keep spiritual activities a priority, but we found our sons had a good group to hang with.
Determining your priorities and why they are important is crucial before many of those activities take over your life and even work. Raising teenagers becomes an art form and it will be necessary to regroup midstream. However, regular communication helps immensely. At this point with adult children in our lives, we plan on regular trips to see our sons around the country because we like to keep the relationship close as possible and communication fresh. We’ve made at least the Christmas holiday a priority to get our whole family together in our home, even flying a member or two across the country. It takes work, commitment and coordination but fits in with our why.
Personal and Professional Goals as a Couple
This would seem like an individual goal, but ideally you should be able to share what books you are reading, courses you are taking, podcasts you are listening to and conferences you’ll be attending. It helps me to clarify some of my thoughts by sharing them aloud with Greg. I don’t always ask for feedback, but when I do, it’s usually valuable as he knows me so well.
When kids are growing, it’s hard to find the time to share experiences but encouragement from a spouse or a partner is a gift. Thoughtful gestures and notes, especially when traveling, is so valuable to keep a relationship vibrant, no matter what the situation. Even when facing retirement, spouses or partners should encourage each other to keep a lifelong learning attitude. It keeps the mind sharp and just could ward away the onset of Alzheimer’s!
Health Goals as a Couple
Your health goals should include both diet and exercise. The U.S. obesity prevalence was 42.4% in 2017-18. The prevalence of severe obesity was highest among adults aged 40-59. This should make every reader take note. Diet and exercise becomes a part of a lifestyle and a job at mid-career and halftime of life.
Helping partners and spouses out in this area is becoming more and more important. I have booked some of our travel as active vacations. Backroads is a good organization for this with active tours including bike riding, canoeing and hiking. Diet is a touchy subject for many. It doesn’t work for me to take away all the treats Greg brings home. I’m not leaving myself out in this area as I’m a lover of dark chocolate blueberries! However, discussing our meals and making our last meal of the day a lighter one is working better and better for us. We also work out regularly. This is where a consistent system works very well. We do not want to end up immobile in a wheelchair, so that why drives us to keep moving!
Location Goals as a Couple
Downsizing is becoming more and more prevalent among our friends as we grow older. We do not plan on moving in the near future as our offices and even workout areas are all now home-based. Plus, we live in a safe location that is easy for travel and our home is all one level, which we found as an added plus when taking care of aging parents.
With programs like Airbnb and Vrbo, it’s possible to keep a home base and travel to different location, even for a month at a time. With remote work, the possibilities are even more expansive with good internet coverage and portable equipment. Even virtual speaking engagements are more common with the addition of online tools to interact with the audience. I have moved my business in this direction and has the potential to expand my reach even to remote areas.
To sum all this up, think through why you want to progress in a certain area, then work to clear up any obstacles. With a clear purpose, the obstacles won’t seem as formidable. Remember, when a door is closed, there’s a window. When a window is closed, there’s a crack in the wall. You can usually find a way through most any obstacle. When talking over any goal or system, it’s helpful to review Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages to keep the communication positive and moving forward, especially with a spouse. I’m rooting for you!
Any time you spend talking and clarifying thoughts and dreams together as a team is a worthwhile process.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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