Five Tips for Goal Setting in the New Year

This was originally posted in June, but with the new year just around the corner, I thought it might be time to update this post for the new year!

Goal Setting for Marriage

When it comes to the future there are only three kind of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wonder what happened.” – John Richardson, Jr.

Goal Setting for the New Year

In the past, I have been a goal setter. I have also been a fly by the seat of my pants type guy. But, I usually find myself returning to some sort of written out… something. Even if it is a simple ‘to do list’ for the day. Writing goals down helps me get things done.

I believe it’s important for marriages to have a vision.  Where they want to go, and what they want to achieve through years. Goals are a great way to start building vision – and have things to achieve together in the new year.

Imprint Goals on Your Brain by Writing Them Down

A couple years back, one of my favorite pastor-writer-bloggers, Mark Batterson, wrote a bit on goal setting.

He talked about the RAS – the Reticular Activating System… the part of the brain that determines what you notice and what you don’t. When you set goals, you set your brain in motion to notice those things that will help you bring your goal to fruition.

Writing imprints your brain

If we don’t have any goals (and don’t write them down) they are not as likely to come about – because our RAS hasn’t been activated to focus on what is needed to complete the goal.

5 Tips for Goal Setting with Your Spouse

1. Spend Time Praying About Your Goals, individually and together…Everything is better with prayer. What does God have for you in the coming year? Where can you work on becoming a better person – so you can be a better spouse? Be open to what He has for you and your marriage.

2. Check out others who have ‘goal lists’ for inspiration. John Goddard, Ted Leonsis Bucket List , Dan Meyer to name a few.

2. Write out your goals separately. Then get together with your spouse and see if any of the goals are similar, and combine them to make ‘Husband and Wife Goals’.

3. Sometimes it helps to Break Your Goals Into Categories – When you write your goals down in ‘categories’  it helps you focus on one specific area at a time.  Some might include: Personal, Financial, Spiritual, Giving, Influence, Lifestyle, Travel, Physical, Fitness, Things to Learn, Positions to try (!!), Sites to see, etc… – these are all examples of categories that might be on your list – maybe you have a category of your own.

4. From Cultivate Greatness blog:  Goals should Challenge You.   Write them in bite size chunks (if the goals are too big – they become vague and you won’t be able to take action on them). Write down goals you can control or Take Action on – “I will Love my wife by cleaning the house 3 times a week” not just “I will love my wife”).

5. Celebrate Achieved Goals! Celebration is a big part of goal setting. When you celebrate a goal reached, it tends to motivate you to want to achieve more!


6. Chris Brogan suggests taking 3 words and making them your “Goals” for the year. He explains it like this:

…think of how you want to be successful in 2009. Then, try to think in even broader terms. Extrapolate on the broader terms, and find one word to hang the idea on.

Meaning, don’t think as much “I want to lose 50 pounds and get back into my high school pants.” Try thinking “Fitness means I’ll be able to cover more ground.” From there, you can say “ground” might be your word. And then, when you look at that as a word, you see how it can open you up to even more meanings. “Ground” can remind you to get fit so you can cover more ground. It can mean to be “grounded,” like someone who feels calm and at rest.

Look for three words that will help you frame your challenges and opportunities…

It’s an interesting concept…and could be applied not only to your marriage – but your family – and work as well!

Think about this: Writing goals gives us a target to aim for. The end of the year is a good time to…like the White House says: “reflect, rejoice, and renew” . Reflect on this year, Rejoice together , and Renew your commitment by setting some goals together!

My Questions to you: Do you set goals with your Spouse?? Do you eat black eyed peas on New Years? (Ugh. The thought of black eyed peas makes me throw up in my mouth a little.)

photo by Scott wills, and hurleygurley

About Stu Gray

Stu is Husband to Lisa and a Dad to the coolest kiddo around. He’s a book lover, writer, Batman Fan, and a speaker into microphones and rooms full of people.
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