How To Set Goals Together For A Healthier Relationship
Creating A Relationship Roadmap
My husband loves to set goals. And once he puts his mind to those goals, he’s great at achieving them. I, on the other hand, am not such a goal enthusiast. My tactic is more of a “dream it, wish it, do it” approach. Obviously, this tactic is not always the most sustainable or productive one. We are a Pisces (me)/Gemini (him) combo, so I can get lost in dreamland while my beau is truly talented at communicating his plans for reaching his goals. This is something I admire about him.
As a team, we are always finding ways to better communicate our desires, which helps us understand one another more clearly. Sometimes he needs me to be more forward in my thinking, and occasionally I need him to be less forward in his thinking. It does help that we’re both three-wing-fours on the Enneagram—we need to be seen and heard in similar ways.
Ever since getting married, our goals have become more far-reaching for the long haul. The goals we’re setting now are stepping stones in the path to our future, versus goals that focus on short-term achievements.
Below are some of our approaches for laying a foundation and creating goals together:
Create Goals Together—And Separately
The first step for setting goals together is to get on the same page. Start by getting honest with each other about your individual goals. Knowing what the other person wants for the future allows you to support each other in achieving dreams, both together and as individuals.
Make it a point to have goal-related meetings at least once a month to check in and support one another:
Set aside time (maybe during dinner) to chat about goals
Hold each other accountable and ask how the other person’s projects are coming along
Open up about challenges that are keeping you from accomplishing your goals
From there, the conversation may naturally shift to a big-picture goal conversation and a discussion about real-life stuff. When my husband and I have these meetings, the conversation often turns into talks about finances, family, work, passions, and all the in-between stuff that gets us out of bed in the morning.
Create A Roadmap: Discuss The Destination & The Plan For Getting There
Once goal conversations start to become more of a norm (this can take time, especially if it’s a new relationship, so be patient), a more detailed strategy for creating a life together can take shape.
A roadmap for my husband and me allows for a broad understanding of our individual and couple goals. With this clarity, we can see the general direction of where we’re headed. This roadmap is the route we can return to when life throws its wrenches into our plans. It’s the thing that keeps us on track and reminds us of our dreams.
To give you a look into our roadmap, we would both love to live in a place with more nature someday; that’s our ultimate goal. So, we’re in the process of discussing where to buy property or a house, and how we can make that dream a reality. We both have entrepreneurial spirits, so we’re also talking about starting a business together. Creating a business and buying property are two of the stepping stones on our roadmap. Again, these are broad, big-picture goals that we’ll work towards together—and as individuals.
Have Fun On The Journey; Don’t Get Too Serious
Have fun in this process of mapping out the future. There’s no doubt that it can get overwhelming when developing your personal and relationship goals. Practice being in the present and enjoy the process of simply dreaming (take it from the Pisces); the future will always feel a little scary and out-of-reach.
One way to do this is to dream really big—be creative and outrageous in what you want. Allow conversations to be fluid, and get excited about each other’s ideas. Try not to put the other person down or brush off ideas they bring to the table, and remove judgment about how you think their goals fit into yours. These conversations expand over time and will most likely take on many different shapes.
Practice grace in the discomfort that comes with pursuing dreams together, and laugh when things don’t go as planned. There will be times that one or the other person in a relationship might feel stuck in their pursuits. Create an environment that leaves room for trust in discussing growing pains. Achieving goals can be uncomfortable; work towards allowing space for that discomfort.
Whether you’re in a long term relationship, or just starting out, implementing goal-oriented conversations can be crucial for a healthy and long-lasting relationship. Be proactive in laying the foundation for open, transparent, and honest conversations about goals and dreams. With grace, encourage one another to move through this life, and support one another. We’re all just trying to figure out what the heck we’re even doing anyway.
For more guidance about making space for yourself while building a life together, read our tips on maintaining individuality in a long-term relationship.
Courtney Jay is a writer at The Good Trade. She is also a yoga instructor, health enthusiast, and sustainable fashion advocate. She believes the most powerful way to nurture the planet is to nurture ourselves. You can find more of her writing and take one of her online yoga classes on her website Coincide.