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7 Steps to Successful Goal Setting As a Couple

As I write this post, I'm baffled that after nearly 10 years of marriage, this is our first year setting and writing goals together as a couple. In the back of my mind goals seemed daunting and impossible. Like for those hyper-motivated, perpetual doers, "I wake up at 5am everyday to workout and eat kale" type of people. Anyone else catch my drift? I equated resolutions (read: lofty, unattainable, unrealistic dreams that never come to fruition) with goals. Mentally I had to shift the idea that writing goals on paper meant I might not achieve them making me a failure as a person. I decided to let go of the negative self talk and drama, let myself dream audaciously and take the time to write actionable goals. Did you know that just by writing out your goals you are 42 percent more likely to achieve them? Now you don't have an excuse right?! After listening to numerous podcasts, combined with my Hubbs professional learnings and experiences around goal setting, we decided to give it a go. I'd like to preface that there is no one right way or strategy to set goals; this is merely a guideline and roadmap that has helped us get super clear on our vision for 2020. This post is super packed, so grab a pen and paper (maybe a glass of wine, mood music and your fave candle too because #selfcare) and let's get started!

  1. Reflect and Project - If you set goals for last year, now is the time to reflect on achievements, misses, strategies, what worked, what didn't, so that you can adapt and set yourself up for success in the upcoming year. If you didn't set goals, no worries you're not alone! Make note of the same things above whether that's accomplishments, wins, misses; take time to notice. Whatever you do don't skip over this part because it's foundational to the process. For example: wins = paying off over $40k in heloc debt while also saving toward retirement and cash flowing 2 vacations. misses = losing money on selling our boat, the truck, and a canceled vacation. strategy going forward = creating an overarching vision this year so that our goals, actions, essentially everything we do align with our vision, creating a visual family calendar so we always know what's happening and we minimize miscommunication, having a savings goal so we can give more generously

  2. Themes and Priorities (no more than 3-5) - What are the main areas of your life that you would like to focus your goals around? Is that your career and relationships? Or maybe that's your home and travel? Whatever it is, it's important to define what your theme/priority is and keep it to less than 5. When you have too many it's easy to lose focus. For example: our themes/priorities include: faith, health, home, career and finances. These themes will be our existing framework going forward to create our goals

  3. Goals! (between 1-2) - The meat and potatoes, here it is! Under each theme/priority write down your goals. Think big, dream big, have fun, make this a free-write. Later you will narrow them down to 1-2 main goals and revise them to be actionable. For example: Health - Lose weight (ok original I know), be holistically healthy, exercise more.

  4. Make them S.M.A.R.T. - This isn't revolutionary, but why re-create the wheel? If it's good enough for Fortune 500 companies, it's good enough for me. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound. After all, goals are dreams with a deadline. If there's no way of measuring progress and working toward a deadline, how can we live our best lives and hold ourselves accountable? I'm adopting my mentality to believe I can acheive anything I set my mind to, no goal is too lofty, as long as I break them down into enough actionable steps. For example: Take my last goal in Step 3, Health - before: my goal was too broad, when we apply the S.M.A.R.T. principle it transforms to be, after: I will lose 8 pounds by April 11, 2020 (our 10 year wedding anniversary) and fit into my wedding dress. Do you see how this goal is specific and sets a deadline? You ask: How will this happen? Ahh, I'm so glad you asked that important question. Here is where the magic happens when we turn this statement into actionable items (are you sick of the word actionable yet?). Making sub points will help keep yourself accountable and move you closer toward your goal. Sub points look like the daily, unsexy stuff like--drinking 60 oz of water daily, starting my day with an acv shot and supplements before breakfast, weekly meal planning (Wednesdays) and prepping (Sundays) mostly veggies, healthy fats and grains, limiting sugar and alcohol to once a week on Saturdays, losing 0.5-1 pound per week until I reach my goal pre-baby weight, weekly weigh-ins on Friday mornings, working out 3 days a week for at least 20 minutes a day. Another method of helping to develop these sub points is called 'reverse engineering'. Envision yourself at your goal weight, having a rocking bod in that curve hugging wedding dress. What do your habits, daily practices, mindset, all of it look like? How did you get there? Work your way back into the present and name everything that the future you did to get where you're at.

  5. 10 Year Visualization - While Michael and I were goal planning and creating our 2020 vision, we encountered a minor hurdle. My restlessness surfaced and I blurted out, "What if we're missing out, should we be living abroad and buying one of those $1 villas in Italy? Are we crazy to not be traveling and raising our kids internationally while they're young?" Michael interjected with this exercise that proved insightful and helped reinforce our vision/goals for this year. Ready? Ok, each person grab a sticky note or notecard and set the timer for 5 minutes. Now this is a solo, free write activity so here is what you'll answer--in 10 years from now, what do you want to say you've accomplished? Don't think too hard, just note what initially comes to mind. Now come back together to share your findings. Were they the same or similar? Based on your conclusions you can revise and adapt your current goals/vision to fit. Do you know what happened for us? Not only were they nearly identical, but also nowhere on our sticky notes did either of us include living abroad with kids in this chapter of our lives. I absolutely loved this exercise and encourage you to delve into this step to ensure you're both on the same page.

  6. Edit and Fine Tune - Take a close look over every goal under each theme/priority. Do they align with your values, vision for the year and future selves? Do they meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria? Are you passionate, obsessed, and absolutely committed to making them happen? If you answered 'no' to any of the above, then you might want to remove or table them for another time. As I write this, the Hubbs and I still have to walk through this step before we finalize each and every goal. By doing this step you set yourself up for success because you are choosing to focus and accomplish only what is feasible and realistic to your yearly vision.

  7. Wine and What's Up - Ok this just seemed like a catchy, sexy way of saying--hold yourself accountable and decide how often you will evaluate your goals and measure progress. There's no magic formula, just decide what works best for your schedule, personality and preferences. For us that means monthly check-ins to look over our goals and action items to make sure we're moving toward progress.

Whew! There you have it friends. I hope this is encouraging, takes the guesswork out of and simplifies goal setting; most importantly that it helps you move toward where you want to go. In addition I'm linking these uber useful podcast resources of people far smarter than myself when it comes to goal setting. You got this friends, craft a vision, crush your goals and go live your best life!

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