Happy New Year!
Everyone is looking forward to 2021 – mainly because we tend to think that all of our problems will disappear once the clock strikes twelve on December 31. But we know that’s not the case. It takes more than luck to change our futures. It’s mostly about goal setting and checking in on those goals from time to time.
My husband and I go every October to take a short vacation, but also talk about our goals and how we are doing on our goals from last year. It’s usually a pretty fun conversation, but it’s gotten better as the years have gone by simply because we are talking about things that are important. We all know how time flies whether you are having fun or not, and it’s pretty easy to get to the end of a year and realize that we haven’t focused on the important things at all.
I wanted to share the categories that we talk about each year in hopes that these would be things you could add to your goals lists for 2021. These are better than resolutions, I promise!
Below are the categories that we talk about every year with their related sub-categories. All of these are important, so I am listing these in no particular order.
1. Marriage – if you are married (or have a partner)
a. Date Nights – If you don’t have them, try them. I am more of a homebody, so I prefer the take-out food and movie night to getting dressed up and going out. Thanks COVID.
b. Plans for Fun – This seems like the same thing as date nights, but it’s not. You can do these activities on your date nights if you want though. These are things that you are interested in doing but haven’t done before, or maybe it’s already a hobby that you share with your spouse. Examples might include sky diving, go-cart racing, or golf (mini or otherwise). A date night should be a time to talk and enjoy yummy food or a movie, but this is more a chance to laugh REAL hard at yourselves and each other.
c. Conversations – We try to have important conversations as often as we need them. They might be financial, or about our young adult children, or a decision we need to make soon, or about job changes. Point is, it’s easy to live life and not remember to get our important person to weigh in on what’s going on in our lives. This keeps us growing together instead of apart.
d. Counseling – If you feel like you’d like to go to counseling, then go. It’s not just for couples going through serious problems, it’s for anyone who wants to learn how to communicate better. We’ve gone to counseling a couple of times in our marriage – it’s always valuable and you kinda know when you can stop going. It’s not a life sentence by any means.
a. List each family member and go through areas of their lives that need attention. With our college-age kids, we talked about their education and their chosen majors, whether we thought they needed to take a more active role in any area of their education etc. I would also recommend looking at the physical and mental health of each family member. When your kids live away from you, it’s difficult to gauge, but to have those things on your mind is a positive thing.
b. Family Trips or Christmas Plans – We plan our trips for the year, and usually plan what we will do for Christmas or other holidays. If there’s a big birthday coming up, it’s good to start thinking about those things early so that those events doesn’t come as a surprise.
a. We identify specific friends that we want to be intentional with. We love having lots of people that we spend time with, but when it comes down to it, there are just a handful of friends that we really do spend most of our time with. They are our “bubble” friends. They know all the things – they are in the circle of trust. We typically write their names down and then identify how often we’d like to see them. I am not the best when it comes to reaching out to friends, but this tends to keep me on track.
4. Health and Wellness
a. We identify things we want to do to make our in-home gym better, and also things we want to do outside of that as far as exercise.
b. There were things we know about that we need to do medically (it’s easier to choose insurance plans that way too), so we plan when those things would happen and plan the recovery time in our calendars.
a. Implement a plan to pay any debt
b. Plan for savings and investments (we use Acorns in addition to our 401K)
Use my link to start saving and get $5 https://acorns.com/invite/UN5DCR
c. Save for trips we’ve planned and for a getaway next October
a. Specifics of any job or Self-Employment currently
b. Plans for future
These items are not the end-all be-all by any means, but they can help you get your thoughts organized enough to start a plan and revise it as needed. I try to look over our plans every quarter to make sure we are on the right track or make changes if needed.
Try it out this year and see if it helps you! Let me know if you use this guide – I’d love to hear about your planning sessions. Happy 2021, friends. Be safe and be kind.