A Practical Anniversary Tradition: Goal Setting

January 1st marks the beginning of a new calendar year and a chance to start fresh with goals and habits. Your anniversary marks the beginning of a new year of your marriage and like January 1st, it is a great time to freshen up your relationship and the habits you've created so that the next year you spend together can be even better than the previous one. Early on in her marriage, Brooklyn recognized the need for goals and that intentional habits in her life would help her become the best wife possible, and I know that it's something she's been constantly working on. She's been an inspiration to me to put effort into my marriage every day and not let myself get lazy!

The funny thing about goals is that despite our best intentions and efforts sometimes the things we're hoping to accomplish just don't happen. Rather than giving up your goals, you should reevaluate them and see what needs to change in order for them to be something that you can one day achieve. There's a chance that you've set your sights too high or have unrealistic expectations for your current life situation. That doesn't mean that you have to view those goals as  a failure. "This thing we call failure is not falling down but staying down." So when you feel like you've failed at something, pick yourself up, look at it from a different perspective, and then recommit to the task, even if it means attacking it on a smaller scale! As part of your anniversary celebration every year, it would be fun and extremely beneficial to sit down as a couple and discuss your successes from the past year as well as your hopes for the coming one. Setting goals as a couple will give you something to work toward together, an accountability partner, and a way to work on strengthening your marriage constantly. Most people say vows at their wedding, think of the goals you set each year as a vow to continue working on your marriage and keep the promises you made to each other on the day that you got married.

Consider the Past: What has worked in your relationship so far and what hasn't? You can use those things as a starting point for your goals. Look at something you're doing well and find a way to improve that area of your marriage even more. Look at something that you struggle with and figure out what needs to happen in order for you to feel like you're seeing progress in that area of your marriage.

Look to the Future: What things do you hope to accomplish as a couple in your lifetime? Pick something little that you can do to help you get closer to those big dreams. Whether it's something you're hoping to accomplish in the next month, year, five years, or even twenty, there is always something you can be doing to get the ball rolling and make that dream a reality.

Set Smaller Goals: What can you do along the way to not make the task seem so daunting? One thing that can be a set back when you're trying to achieve a goal is that the ultimate goal seems big and unattainable. If you break that large goal down into smaller ones and tackle those one at a time, you'll see success sooner than you think and you won't be as overwhelmed.

  Write them Down: What good is a goal if it's not written down? Post your goals somewhere that you'll always see them. If you have one you're really focused on at the moment, create a fun print and hang it in your house so you're always aware of it. And then on your next anniversary, you can refer back to the list you made and discuss each goal individually, what worked and what didn't, what you achieved as a couple throughout the year, and maybe even what goals you forgot about altogether.

Reevaluate: What good is a goal if it's not working? The truth is, you're probably going to have to look at your goals and change them more often than once a year. If a goal isn't working, don't wait until your next set discussion to talk about it. Sit down and discuss what's not working and why and then formulate a plan to make it work! Goals are meant to help you feel successful, and if that's not what they're doing, then what's the point of having them?

Relationship: Obviously you want to work on your relationship, right?

The goals that you set to improve your relationship could include things like; regular date night, better communication, more quality time, time apart to regroup, romantic getaways, etc. Find an area of your relationship that you think could use some improvement and do something to make it better.

 Financial: One of the things that causes a lot of disagreements among couples is money, so I think goals surrounding that topic are great ones to set!

The goals that you set to improve your finances could include things like; getting out of debt, building up your savings, paying for everything with cash, creating a budget, etc. Working together and agreeing on something important for your finances will strengthen your marriage and help make money a positive conversation in your marriage instead of one you dread.

Home: This can be an especially good area to set goals in if you are a home owner. There are always projects to be done around the house and that list seems never ending.

The goals you set to improve your home could include things like; fixing up an area of your yard, refinishing some furniture, rearranging the layout of a room, making your master bedroom a sanctuary, etc. House projects could make a fun date activity, and will improve the atmosphere of your home.

Fitness: Getting married is a lifestyle change and I think every couple starts to realize that they're not in as great of shape as they once were. Working toward better health together can be a really good thing because you have an instant workout buddy and there won't be one lazy spouse while the other is trying hard to remain active or one spouse who wants to eat lots of junk while the other is trying to snack on veggies.

The goals you set to improve your health and fitness could include things like; only eating out once a week, going to the gym together, doing something active for date night, cooking a homemade meal together, planting a garden, etc.

Future: There may be things in your future plans that you can somehow be working toward now. Just because it seems like it's forever away doesn't mean that you can't be doing something to help you achieve it now.

The goals you set to improve your future together could include things like; dreaming up floor plans for your future house, setting money aside for when you decide to have children, saving up for your anniversary getaway or a dream vacation, looking into what kind of company you want to work for after you graduate college, etc. It's not too early to start planning for your future ever, even if those plans change later on down the road. The most important thing to remember when you're setting goals together is to have fun and don't be afraid to dream big! There may be things in your future plans that you can somehow be working toward now. No goal is too big or too small, too important or too trivial to set together. Setting them will help you focus on them consistently and make you more aware of what you should be doing to help you achieve the things you want.

  P.S. If you decide to set some goals and blog about them, I hope you'll consider joining my Marriage & Relationship Goals link-up on the first Monday of every month!

Have you set goals as a couple? What are some of the things you're working toward?

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