How To Set Goals with Your Significant Other

How To Set Goals with Your Significant Other

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! In light of this love-filled holiday, I wanted to share a few of my best tips for setting goals with your significant other. Setting goals with my husband John has been one of the sweetest and most fruitful parts of my life, and I wish the same for you!

  • Explain why goal setting has worked for you. If your significant other isn’t fully on board right away, explain why goal setting matters to you, what excites you about it, and the difference it has made in your life. Give tangible examples.
  • Play it cool. Introduce the idea of goal setting gently. Don’t bust out eight different colored pens and our couples guide and a supplemental notebook and your calendar and ask for a three-hour block of his day all at the same time. If you think sitting down for a large chunk of time isn’t in the cards, try incorporating some prompts from the guide into your normal conversation. I find John and I have our best uninterrupted conversation on our evening walks, so if it were me, I’d just choose one prompt per day, then jot some notes down in the guide once we were back home.
  • Make it fun. If your significant other is on board for a meeting of the minds, make your time for dreaming and planning fun. We like to go out to dinner for our big once a year “life audit” and goal setting session. We choose a restaurant with a quiet atmosphere that lends itself to a leisurely dinner. (Bonus points for choosing a spot you don’t go to often, so it feels like more of a special occasion!) You certainly could have your celebration dinner at home, but I find that it’s easier to concentrate, have a deeper conversation, and get into dreaming mode when I’m out of my normal environment. If it’s feasible for you, a weekend getaway would be even better (but certainly not required)!
  • Stay flexible. Remember that goal setting together doesn’t have to look the same as goal setting apart. I’m most likely to get frustrated when I set up rigid expectations around our goal setting evenings, expecting them to fit into a perfect little box because I’M the one who suggested this goal setting idea, anyway. My husband, however, usually has his own thoughts about how the evening should go, and they’re often better than mine! Stay loose and open, and the time will more rewarding and productive for everyone.
  • Say thank you. If your significant other goes out of his way to set goals with you, especially if doing so is out of his comfort zone, a heartfelt thank you is in order (and will make it more likely he’ll agree to another session!). Go out of your way to reciprocate in his own love language.
  • Celebrate your progress. A hallmark of the PowerSheets and our couples guide is that you don’t just set goals and forget about them. Post them up in your home, return to them regularly, and when there’s progress to celebrate, do so with abundance! Make your favorite meal for dinner, go out for ice cream, go to the beach for the day, take the afternoon off of work and go to a movie – whatever is meaningful and fun for the two of you, do it.

I’d love to hear: how do you set goals with your significant other? If you don’t, what has stopped you in the past?

1 comment

This is a great idea! Emily, would you consider going into depth on you and John’s annual “life audit?” Not the personal parts, just an overview of what it is. It sounds like a great idea. I hope you and your hubby have an amazing Valentine’s Day!


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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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