When you think of setting a goal or making new year’s resolutions, you may repeatedly fall into the same pattern of not achieving them. The goal gets written down or thought about, but you may not make any movement towards the goal. It seems to always happen that we become motivated and excited in January to work towards our goals, then we run out of steam, and by the end of the year, our resolutions are lost in the past. This could be because our goals can be too vague, too big, or unrealistic. Research shows that the more specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based are more likely to be achieved.
So how can we make a SMART goal?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-based
Okay – so let’s make a SMART goal.
- Rule number one is to be specific. Often, our goals can be too broad. An example of that is saying, “I want to be more active.” This is a great idea, but without the specifics, we may lose motivation or lose sight of what we mean. Being specific could look like “I will walk three days a week.” This is specific!
- Our next rule is to be measurable. If we say we want to walk more, what does that mean? If we can’t measure it, then we may not be as likely to do it. If we set a goal to “walk three days a week for 30 minutes”, then we have a specific goal we can measure and know if we get it or not.
- Rule three is for our goal to be attainable! If we want to achieve a goal, then it needs to be realistic for us! Setting a goal to become a bodybuilder in a month if you are starting from a sedentary lifestyle is likely not achievable. Walking one to three times a week is likely more realistic and attainable!
- Rule four is for our goal to be relevant to our values, virtues, and idea we have for our life. Does being more active and walking more align with the vision you want for your life? What does your goal mean to you? What would meeting this goal do for your life and contribute to the person you want to be? It is important to reflect on questions like this and make sure your goal is relevant to who you are to boost your motivation better. Why are you making this goal in the first place and is it worth it? If you have a hard time answering that question, then staying focused on your goal and maintaining motivation may be difficult.
- The final rule is for your goal to be time-based. If we set a vague timeline of “I will exercise”, it does not give a timeframe in which you want to meet this goal. Alternatively, “I will walk once a week” gives you a timeline of a week to achieve this goal. If we do not set a deadline, then we will likely not meet our goal. It may even be helpful to set multiple deadlines or break up goals into short-term and long-term goals.
Using SMART Goals as a Couple
How can we as a couple use SMART goals to work towards a common goal? For example, if the overarching goal is to spend more quality time together, how do we do that? Let’s use SMART goals to break it down!
Let’s be specific. An example could be: “Going on more date nights and communicating more.”
Let’s measure it: “We will go on one date night a week, and we will communicate with each other more by checking in with each other in the morning and at night about our day.”
Is it attainable? Notice we are not saying to go on daily dates for hours or talk for hours a day, be manageable in setting goals that work with your schedules.
Is it relevant? What are your values and visions as a couple? Does your goal fit in with that? What is your ‘why’?
Make it time-based: “For the next month, we will go on weekly dates and check in with each other daily.”
Now it’s your turn!
What is a goal you want to make as a couple for the New Year? Brainstorm together and hold each other accountable for the goal you decide on. And don’t forget to make your goal SMART!
Making a Vision Statement for the New Year: What do you want your relationship to look like in 2022 and beyond?
Many couples have an idea of their vision for their relationship, but it may be unspoken. We all have expectations and ideas for our relationships as well as future visions for what we want our relationship to look like. Explore the vision you both have for your relationship. When you clarify your positive values, you affirm each other.
On separate pieces of paper, you and your partner will reflect and write responses to the following prompts. Once you are done, share your responses with each other.
- Reflect on your individual life purposes and goals
- Reflect on your personal faith journeys and histories and how they relate to relationship vision and goals
- Search the internet for information on writing vision statements
- Reflect as a couple on the questions: Why do we exist as a couple? Do we have a ministry as a couple apart from our individual ministries?
- Create a common vision statement for yourselves as a couple
- Consider yourselves 5, 10, and 20 years in the future. What does your relationship look like?
- What things will it take to get to your vision of your future together?
Once you both have brainstormed and shared responses, work together to write out a vision statement for your relationship! Have fun with this and be creative! You could type up and print your vision statement to place it somewhere in your home as a reminder. You could turn it into artwork or save it on your phone. The options are endless! The best thing about creating a vision statement together is that you are in this together! You are not alone in holding yourself accountable. If you ever feel off track, you and your partner can look at your vision statement together to remind yourself of your values and ministry as a couple!
Creating a vision statement together can help couples develop a sense of common purpose and meaning. What do you want that purpose and meaning to be in your relationship and your life together?