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I was so excited to set New Year’s resolutions this year.
I mean, my resolutions aren’t things I plan to do every day or anything, just goals I want to meet by the time 2018 rolls around. Two of them are just mine (losing 15 pounds and publishing a book), but the third is one my husband and I are working toward together, and that is to save up a down payment for a house.
It’s been so exciting. I mean, it’s only February, but we’re relatively on track with our plan to save money each month.
And even more exciting than us progressing toward that goal is the time we’ve been able to spend thinking and planning together. We spend a lot of time thinking about what we’d like in a house, what kind of neighborhood we’d like to live in, how many rooms we want to have, how we think A would like having his house, whether we want a dog someday, how we’d like to garden, and so on and so forth.
Having a goal in common has been amazing for our marriage. There’s something about rallying each other to meet our big goal and getting to celebrate each accomplishment together that has made us excited about each other and about the future again. It reminds me of when we were planning our wedding, and I’ve loved every second of it.
How To Set Goals as a Couple
Make a list of what you want.
If you want to set goals together, you need to figure out what it is each of you wants. So start by writing out a list!
Each of you should write out a list of everything you want to do, whether that’s buying a house or a new car (or a new gun, if your husband is anything like mine :)), or planning a family vacation. Include both long-term and short-term things you’d like, even if they’re things that seem unlikely, like, say, an in-ground swimming pool.
I mean, why not? It’s your list 🙂
Choose one or two goals to focus on.
Once your lists are done, spend some time reviewing them together. You might be surprised by the similarities/differences – maybe there are some things you didn’t know your husband wanted to do someday, and vice versa.
It can be kind of a fun activity to do together, especially if you spend a little time daydreaming about the unlikely goals.
But eventually, you’ll have to narrow down what you’d like to do so you can focus on what’s most important to you.
Start by discussing your priorities. What are the things on your lists that are most important to you? What things did you agree/disagree on?
For example, let’s say you both want to buy a house. That’s a great long-term goal to focus on! You might choose that as your primary long term goal.
Is paying down debt more important to you right now? Focus on that instead, then focus on saving for a house later.
It’s important to narrow down your goals because the more focused you are on a single goal, the more likely it is you’ll actually reach it without getting discouraged. If you bite off more than you can chew, you risk losing steam because you’re not making the progress you’re hoping for.
Start small, and remember that progress is progress.
Step them out.
To meet your goals, you’ll want to make them specific and measureable, with a specific timeline.
Let’s say you want to save for a house. Obviously, it’s not something you can do in one fell swoop, so figure out what baby steps you’re going to take to get there, as well as when you want to get there.
In this example, you might decide that you want to be able to buy a house in two years, and you want to have $10,000 saved up as a down payment. That means you’d need to save about $420 a month in those two years to do so. If you’re going to do that, you need to either reduce your expenses or increase your income by $420 a month.
Could you start by eating out less often, or cancelling your cable bill in favor of Netflix or Hulu? Maybe you could switch from going to the gym to working out at home? Or maybe you’d be more interested in taking on a part-time or work-from-home job? Maybe your husband could pick up a few overtime shifts or give something like Uber a shot?
Whatever sacrifices you’re willing to make to reach your goals, figure out a game plan to make that happen.
As a final note, don’t be too afraid of failure. Again, progress is progress! I mean, if you try to save for that house and wind up with only $5,000 in 2 years, well, that’s still $5,000 more than you had before, right? Just do what you can, start where you are, and figure out how to be better from here on out 🙂
What goals do you and your husband have?