January 4, 2008

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Goal Setting

Filed under: Organize — sandilarson @ 11:21 am

My husband and I just returned from our semi-annual goal setting trip.  It seems a little unusual for a couple to plan two get-aways each year just for the purpose of goal setting, but I can’t recommend it enough.  You can search the Internet for quotes on goal setting or the importance of goals and you’ll find ton’s of information on their importance.   We discovered after only two years of marriage, that if we didn’t spend several hours of uninterrupted time discussing our personal and financial ideas together we spent too much time throughout the year working at cross purposes.  We also found that if we didn’t get away, all the normal daily minutiae would get in the way of our thought and discussion process. 

Over the years, we have been partners in  every aspect of our marriage.  We discuss health (including weight loss and exercise) goals, and establish a plan that we can work on in tandem.  We discuss our financial position and set a spending plan that allows each of us to purchase items we want while still living within our means.  Our session includes discussions and plans for everything from yard work to intimate time.  We also set a time and location for our next get-away which is approximately 6 months out.

We’ve had some of our sessions at beautiful vacation destinations, so that part of our trip expenses can be deducted from our taxes.    Usually, however, we just go to a reasonably priced hotel or motel at the coast some other location a few hours from our home.  This insures that we get away from distractions that might prevent us from our work sessions, but gives us a different and hopefully inspiring locale.  There is nothing like looking at the power of the ocean, the majesty of a mountain range, or the quiet peace of a lake or desert to help you relax and get  inspired.

If you are going to plan a goal session I’d like to recommend that you first have a budget book.  It is so easy to make your own using a notebook, or lined paper.  You can find several very reasonably priced books here:  http://www.bobbibopstuff.com/index.php?zenid=e05c5f9cc0523d55af88f153f1bc8c2f&main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=bill+paying  All of these books are designed to be started at any time of year.  You should also have a calendar, a couple notebooks or journals, and a very good understanding of your net income, and all the bills you have.  If you have a laptop computer, you’ll find it useful to take s well, but it is not necessary.  Also take a calculator, and any other things you might need related to the subjects you’ll be discussing.  We have taken a tape measure when we are planning to discuss weight loss so we can set realistic goals based on real information. 

Finally, make a list of which subjects or areas you will be discussing on this trip.  Most goal setting sessions can take a few hours per day, and finances tend to take longer.  If this is your first goal session and you choose to discuss finances, it may take two or three days just for the financial planning.  Use your next trip for other goal setting.

The most important step in goal setting is to agree ahead of time that you cannot argue.  If the discussion gets heated while you discuss your expectations, make sure you don’t bring in mistakes that your spouse has made in the past.  What is done cannot be changed.  Goal setting is about going forward, and if you try to go back you will stall the entire process. 

I’ll be talking more about goals and plans along with all the other stuff I’ve promised.  If there are subjects you also want help with, or have questions, please feel free to post comments or questions. 

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