A new year may imply resolutions, but these can be short lived and unnecessary. Instead, the new year is a good time to take stock of your goals and plan how to meet them. Setting goals with your partner can seem like a daunting task. You are, after all, two different people, so it can be hard to decide what you want to work on. However, you are with that person for a reason. And hopefully, your shared interests and views on what the future should look like will help you set goals together.
Agree on a Plan
Setting goals is a process, so first, decide that you actually want to do this together. Setting goals won’t be meaningful if only one person is interested in the activity. Once you’ve agreed on this activity, talk about how best to achieve it. Maybe your partner needs a few days to think about their goals. Maybe they’ve already been thinking and are ready to dive right in. There’s no right or wrong answer, so be sure to listen to your partner and understand their feelings.
Take Some Time
Set a meeting time to go over your goals. It could be an ongoing conversation as you take a walk outside. It could be over dinner and drinks. If you have kids, be sure to save your discussion for after they are in bed so that you don’t have any interruptions. Often, setting goals with your partner takes a few sessions. You might need time to think about what your partner has brought to the table or think about your reactions.
Write Them Down
Verbalizing goals is the first step, but for them to be meaningful, goals need to be written down. This way they become more significant. There is some ownership attached to them. Then, place your paper somewhere visible. As you go about your daily life it can be easy to forget what you’re actually working towards. Visible goals help give you a purpose. They are a reminder to live your life according to what you and your partner have agreed upon. This not only strengthens your personal actions, but it strengthens your relationship too.
Schedule regular check-ins with your partner to discover your progress. Once a month usually works. Sometimes it takes longer to reach certain goals than planned, and that’s ok. Sometimes life throws in unexpected curve balls and you need to adjust. Again, that’s ok. This is also the reason why you have a partner: to provide support and strength.
Most goals, once they are achieved, should not be forgotten, but rather should continue to be maintained. However, if you have set a milestone and have reached it, be sure to acknowledge this and celebrate. Crack open a bottle of champagne. Go on a special date night. Be sure to honour your commitment, and acknowledge the support of your partner.