Often, couples can get a bit caught up in their wedding planning and not think so much about what they may be planning for the future and the rest of their lives. Their eyes are on the finish line when in reality, marriage isn’t an ending or a beginning, it’s a continuation of your relationship. It’s about strengthening your bond and creating lives that intertwine beautifully.
So, do you have plans beyond this wedding that you’ve been meticulously planning for the entirety of your engagement? If not, it’s time to write down some goals and get thinking about what you want to achieve in life with your new spouse by your side. Here’s our guide to setting goals and planning your life as a newly married couple:
Firstly, how do you set goals?
Plan to both sit down (alone) and jot down any goals you hope to achieve in your life. They could be small goals, or huge goals that will take years to accomplish. Either way, get them onto paper and get creative. Focus on what matters to you and you alone rather than what other people or your spouse may want you to do.
Think about bigger questions that you may not have had the chance to explore yet in your life. Maybe it’s learning a new language, getting fit, living abroad, having children, saving more money, investing, owning property or opening a business. No matter how big, write these things down. Don’t think about what limits you at this stage, look at the bigger picture rather than getting caught up in right now.
Think about your accomplishments in life so far and how they make you feel. Think about all the things that fill you with joy. Some people call them hobbies or passions, but they are what you need to cultivate, plus, what new experiences do you wish to have. What are your desires for your dream life? Write them all down.
If you get stuck on this step, consider who you look up to and how they structure their lives. What have they done to get to where they are currently? What can you learn from their path to success?
If you need to, you can ASK them! Ask them to coffee, send them an email, whatever you need to do. It’s always good to have a mentor in your life for support in constructing the path towards your goals.
Finally, you should have quite the list of goals for your future!
There are a few key areas that your goals are likely to fall under, with some example goals to get you thinking:
Money: Pay off a credit card, pay off student debts, save $20,000, start investing in stock, purchase a car, buy a property or land.
Career: Start your own business, secure a pay rise, change career path, get a promotion.
Family: Get a pet, have children, go on a holiday.
Education: Get a degree, take a course, attend more conferences, learn a new skill at work.
Health: Become fitter, focus on health, join a sports team, eat more nutrient-rich food, give up meat, consume less alcohol.
How do you make them come to life?
Then, come together and discuss all of your future goals with one another. You may be surprised or you may find that they align! Hear your partner out and together, you can decide on which need to be prioritised. Be realistic about money, time and how much effort or support will be required from the other person. If you’re going to need a lot of support for your goal as it relies on the other person (like having a child for example), be sure to discuss the realities and implications of that on your relationship.
Set your goals into three main categories:
Short-term, mid-term and long-term.
A short-term goal should be achievable in the next 12 months. An example of this may be, secure a 5% pay rise at work.
A mid-term goal should be achievable in 2-5 years. An example of this might be to learn a language or get a degree.
A long-term goal will take 5 years or longer to achieve. This might be to pay off a mortgage or student debts.
Next, discuss with your partner some reasonable steps to achieving each of these goals. It’s easy to get excited in the beginning, but how will you maintain motivation? Set smaller, measurable and timely goals within each overarching, long-term goal. This way, you will keep yourselves motivated and excited. We recommend setting aside time each month to discuss how your goals are going, if you’ve made any strides toward your goals or even better, achieved them! Maybe have a night set aside at the end of each month to discuss and celebrate, or discuss any hurdles that you’re experiencing. Maybe your partner will have some amazing ideas that you hadn’t considered to help you toward achieving your goals. You are a team, after all.
If you’re still having trouble, consider these tips for staying motivated:
- Set time sensitive mini-goals for each larger goal, so there are achievements along the way to keep you motivated
- Do the most difficult part of the task first so that you avoid wasting time dreading it!
- Create a vision board that you see daily to remind you of your goals. Maybe revisit it and add to it each month when you discuss your goals with your spouse
- Tell other people about your goals to hold you accountable, including workmates, family and friends
- Surround yourself with positive people who have a positive energy and want to see you succeed
- Engage with your mentors more often, catching up for coffee or skyping to discuss how you are progressing to remind you of where you’d like to be
- Plan out a strategy for getting to where you need to be, maybe include different pathways to success
- Visualise yourself succeeding- what would that look like for you?
- Be honest with yourself about why you set the goal to begin with