Is your partner or spouse ready to participate in goal setting? For this exercise to work both people must examine their life. If your partner doesn’t have clarity about what they really want, it won’t work. You may have to positively coach them on goal-setting so you can create your vision together. Give them a blank copy of the “Life Plan and Goals For The Next Year Worksheet” and ask them to complete it to get ready for setting goals together. When both of you have written precise personal goals, you are ready for mutual goal-setting.
If your partner is not ready, here are two questions you can ask them to start them thinking in the right direction. “If you could start over again, what would you take in school? If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” Take a few minutes now and write down some other questions you might like to ask your partner.
Mutual goal setting most commonly fails due to a lack of willingness to imagine both of you can meet your most important life goals. These discussions must take place within the context of total commitment to active listening and the belief that both parties can get what they want. Both people need to honestly identify what is most important to achieve in their life and bring their goals to the discussion table. The mutual task then becomes one of putting both of your goals together. Both parties need to keep in mind that there is a solution where everyone’s values and goals can be met as long as there is cooperation and imagination.
Imagine a scenario where one partner wants to live in the downtown quarter of a very large city. The other partner wants to live outdoors and be involved in camping and backpacking. Don’t think a solution is possible? A solution might lie in one person running an outdoors store in a big city where they are around people who like the outdoors, and working with the equipment they love. Or perhaps they run weekend groups for urbanites venturing into the wild.
The key to mutual goal-setting lies in listening to the must haves of your partner and seeing them as components of a joint puzzle. How can you put the pieces together to create a picture you both want? By listening, understanding their motivation, and learning what’s important to them, you will be able to find a plan for both of you.
Don’t give up or stop the process until there is a plan in place that addresses the values of both parties. Think outside the box. If you are stuck, ask questions. Is there another way we can accomplish these goals? Keep writing, cutting and pasting goals and timelines, until you get a finished product you are both comfortable and happy with. If you get stuck, switch roles. Try to explain out loud, your partner’s core values and goals. Defend them harder than you would your own. You’ll be able to make valuable and realistic plans together if you move beyond a token understanding of what’s important to
This is a tough assignment but the results are very powerful. The benefits include having two people aligned, supporting each other on their way to achieving their individual and joint goals without presenting barriers for each other.
Answer this question, if you were living the life of your dreams with the person of your dreams and they were living the life of their dreams with the person of their dreams, would there be any room at all for drugs or alcohol to enter this picture?