I know this sounds ridiculously corny, so I’m hesitant to even write an entire post about it, but I’m telling you – this one simple activity is how my husband and I have (and are) achieving all of our dreams in record timing. It’s why I’m able to stay at home with my son, how we bought two investment properties, are learning a second language, have spent our summer traveling, have become vegan, the list goes on and on…
So here’s the really simplistic, dumbed-down gist of how we’ve made it all happen: Every few months (if we’re lucky, weeks), we sit down and formally Goal Set. I’m emphasizing formally and capitalizing Goal Set on purpose – it’s that big of a deal and that big of an event for us…it’s better than a date night (actually, we love it so much that it basically is a date night). But most importantly, it consistently and reliably always works – sometimes it’s scary how much so.
So here’s what we do, and how you can (and should) do it too:
Identify Your Life Quadrants
Don’t worry, no one but my husband knows what Life Quadrants are – we made up the terminology ourselves (with a little inspiration from one of our favorite authors). But here’s what it is – I take a piece of paper and divide it into four parts (the quadrants). Each square is a different but equally important aspect of our lives – Career/Professional, Personal/Spiritual, Family/Travel, Finance/Investments (it might be slightly different for you).
There’s always a tendency to focus on the problematic or time consuming areas (like careers or debt), which is obviously important, but the irony is that often when we focus some time on the other areas of our life, we can more easily achieve the goals we set for ourselves in the problematic areas. And of course, this is the best way to make sure we’re still both focusing on being happy and healthy…and not just wealthy! 😉
Set Short-Term, Mid-Term, and Long-Term Goals
Once we’ve set up our quadrants, we go through each one and set short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. We try to set crazy, audacious, and exciting goals. Like, both being retired by 40, being fluent in at least 4 languages, visiting every continent, having our mortgage paid off in under 10 years, etc. Make sure you set goals in every single quadrant. This is how you ensure that you’re not neglecting an important aspect of your life like your health, family time, or your job.
Come Up with Actionable Steps for Each Goal
This is definitely a critical component of goal setting if you actually want to make it work. It’s fun and exciting to build a list of your dreams, but you then have to put a plan together to get yourself there. You have to set very clear milestones so that you know exactly what you need to be doing. The milestones will make your life easier and definitely help with the longer-term goals (for example, we really want to pay off our whole mortgage…but it’s huge! So our first goal is just to get it under a specific amount this year, then we’ll move on from there). We try to set milestones for the month and the year.
You’ve already set aside the time to discuss these goals, so don’t short-change yourself by not putting a plan together. Then, when you wake up the next morning you know exactly what you need to be doing.
Hold Each Other Accountable
This part takes some finessing, but it is so, so, so rewarding once you’ve figured out how to do it successfully. The key is to support each other and help your spouse accomplish what they want to do – not pressure them or turn any of this into something negative. You’ll ultimately only be as happy as your spouse is, so use this as an opportunity to boost both of your moods (and ultimately lifestyles). Reward yourselves when you accomplish something and try to brainstorm together when you’re finding it hard to meet a certain milestone. Achieving your goals should be fun, so if it isn’t, then it’s worth taking a look at to try and find a new approach.
Goal Set as Often as Possible
Even when we’re trying hard to do this, it ends up only happening every few months. But right after it happens we experience a burst of productivity and satisfaction, so we’re constantly trying to do it more often. It’s really, really important to write your goals down and try to set specific time aside for this, but when that is seeming impossible, it’s ok to make do with something simpler. When we’ve got a long car ride ahead of us or even when we’re making dinner, we will try to go over our goals and brainstorm new ideas.
Here’s what I really want you to know – after my husband and I sit down and do this exercise, we are so much closer, so much happier, and so much more excited for the next day. And we end up OVERACHIEVING on all of the goals we set. I hope you give this a try and would love to hear if it worked for you!
For more ideas and tips on making your dreams come true (especially entrepreneurial ones!), check out my Pinterest board on Working from Home tips:
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