It’s been our experienced that being goal centered improves the possibility of success. There are several things that go into the goals we have.
First, we don’t always agree about what should be the priority in our lives. But, we both recognize and are committed to the importance of defining and setting goals that we can both mutually agree to. Where differences arise we usually handle them through negotiation and compromise.
For example, Miel’s financial goals tend towards saving money and using finances to ensure that basic needs can be comfortably met in the near future. James on the other hand, would invest every spare penny he had, and reduce other aspects of the household budget, including holding onto cash reserves to pay the mortgage or to purchase household goods.
That said, we’d recommend the following for couples who are interested in goal setting:
1) Define your goals jointly.
This is important. If either party in the relationship isn’t happy with the goal, or feels left out, it’s going to be that much harder to achieve the goal. While this hasn’t happened to us, in the worst case scenario one partner might actually act to sabotage the other.
2) Make sure you want the goal.
There is a great deal of inertia in life. This happens especially when you have competing priorities. In order to achieve the goal, your desire for it must be greater than your desire for other things.
3) Your goal should not contradict other goals.
James’ goal is to get his doctorate by 2010. Clearly, it will be harder for both of us to meet the goal of having net-worth of over $4,000,000 by age 65 and will be harder to meet our shorter term savings goals. So, clearly goals are going to diverge to some degree. That said, its important for both people to continually negotiate and prioritize.
4) Write your goal in the positive.
This means you should write your goal using positive affirming language. For example, say something like ‘save $100.00 in checking by March 3rd’, rather than ‘stop wasting money’. Its important that you move forward in your goal setting, not beat yourself up over minor issues.
5) Be sure your goal is realistic and achievable.
If your goal is to be a billionaire within 24 hours, or to be the president of the United States, it’s going to be execeptionally difficult to achieve your goal. It is best not to set yourself up for failure by reaching too high. On the other hand, your goal should be a stretch. For example, if your goal is to brush your teeth after you get up in the morning, then it’s probably not worth setting it as a goal, because you’d do that as a matter of routine.
6) Write down your goals.
The act of writing stimulates memory and, we think, builds personal commitment to what you want to achieve. It’s better if, once you write down your goals, that you put them some place where you’ll be often reminded of your goal. The bathroom mirror, your computer monitor or the refrigerator. When we saved for our wedding, we wrote down our goals and put them on the refrigerator.
7) Keep your eye on the pie.
Several of the other tips lead to this one, but it can’t be stressed enough how a goal has to become part of your life. Without a true commitment and drive, goals go by the wayside. What you dream you can achieve.
Hope this helps!