Written by Bethany Bartholomew
It’s more than halfway through the year, and you may have forgotten completely about any goals you made on January 1. You panic. Do you give up on those goals altogether? Start all of them over right now, today, this very minute?
Breathe. It’s okay. A lot of us are in the same boat.
Why not make some new goals (or refocus on one of your New Year’s resolutions) with your spouse? Making and achieving goals is always easier with another person, and making goals as a couple is a good practice for bringing your family closer together.
So pull out your journals, your checklists, your sticky notes, and sit down with your spouse for some goal talk.
Here are a few ways you can work on reaching for your dreams with your spouse—no matter the time of year.
READ: 3 REASONS YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE NEED A BUCKET LIST
Talk about It
Maybe your goal is personal and would be difficult to do with someone else. For example, you might have a goal to lose 15 pounds by the end of the year. Well, if your spouse has a different body type than you (which is highly likely) they may not need to lose 15 pounds exactly. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get involved!
Tell your spouse what you want to accomplish. Set the goal together, with him or her as a witness and a support. Then, ask your spouse to check in with you (lovingly) every so often. You could set a specific time each week that your spouse sits down to talk about your goals with you. Or you could simply ask your spouse to say something to you every day as a quick and gentle reminder (something like, “Did you make that salad you wanted for lunch today?” or “How did your jog go this morning?”). Having an open conversation with your spouse can help you to talk about your goal and work through the difficulties with someone right by your side.
And don’t forget that you can be your spouse’s cheerleader, coach, and support in their goals as well. Ask your spouse what he or she wants to accomplish by the end of the year. Then offer to check in on them or to just sit down once a week to discuss your accomplishments together. As you both offer support in a loving, non-judgmental way, you’ll find that reaching your goals becomes easier, and you’ll find that the love you have for each other grows.
Do it Together
There are some goals you can (and sometimes should) work on with your spouse. Whether you want to make a goal to do something together every Friday or you just think exercise would be a whole lot more fun if you did it side-by-side, you can find many different ways to reach higher with your spouse.
Make it fun! Talk to each other about what you want to do. What kind of goal are you setting? Is it something you want to do that will strengthen your dating life together? Is it something that will help you both communicate with each other better? Maybe it’s not so directly tied to your marriage (just don’t be surprised if it strengthens your relationship anyway!). You could make a goal to eat one additional serving of vegetables together every day. Or you could work on writing down more of your favorite stories from family vacations and outings together. Whatever it is, doing it together will make it more fun and feasible.
Decide on a day each week or month that you want to talk about your goals. Write down what you have accomplished as you go throughout the week so that you can see your successes on paper. Then, meet to talk about what you have done together, how you can improve, and how you can keep working together to achieve those goals. You’ll get to know each other really well, and you’ll make some fun memories together.
5 Tips to Remember
Whether you’re working on a personal goal or teaming up for success, here are a few tips to remember on your road to success.
1. Be positive.
Even if you have a hard time achieving your goal, be willing to celebrate your successes. Talk about what you still need to do to improve, but decide from the start that you will always give positive feedback on each other’s goals. Create your own judge-free zone and give support with gentle reminders and loving encouragement. And if a conversation starts to turn negative, feel free to press the pause button and come back to it in an hour or so when emotions have calmed down.
READ: THE POWER OF COUPLE RESOLUTIONS
2. Don’t overload.
You are your own best critic. It’s easy to think of a ton of things you want to improve about yourself. But give yourself a chance. Pick just one or two (maybe three) things you want to work on. Once you’ve focused on those few things you want to improve, you’ll have a lot more energy to focus on a few more things the next time, and a few more the next.
3. Be realistic.
If you want to set a goal to go on a vacation, maybe now is not the time to dream up how you can save for a three-month stay in Scandinavia by the end of this year. Talk about your dreams, and pave the way with baby steps. You’ll still get there, and you won’t feel bad about not achieving the unachievable in the here-and-now.
4. Dream on.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your dreams. And if you can’t think of any, talk with your spouse about what makes you happy. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Is there something you’ve been meaning to try for years but haven’t had the time? Is there something you want to do together but haven’t brought up because you feel like it’s too unrealistic? Talk about your dreams, and work together to reach them with realistic, baby-step goals. Those faraway dreams will seem a lot more possible as you plan them together.
READ: 16 GOALS TO IMPROVE YOUR MARRIAGE IN 2016
5. Have fun!
Whatever you do, find ways to enjoy it. As a couple, you can take on anything from finally tackling that overgrown bush in the backyard to deciding if you want to go back to school for another degree. With a little encouragement and a lot of smiles, you can make those goal-reaching experiences memorable and fun. So enjoy! And keep dreaming.
Photo Credit: Ashley Swenson Photo
“A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”
- Fawn Weaver
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