Are our big picture goals the same as our partner’s? We need to be able to firstly identify our ‘big’ goals and secondly articulate them to our partners. I for one have always struggled with being honest with Lisa about the goals I really have, goals that exist deep in the pit of my bowels compared to what I should want. Sometimes I have felt guilty about my goals, some ashamed, sometimes even embarrassed.

Have a think yourself – have you been able to articulate your long term goals to yourself, let alone your partner? If you listen to yourself you may be surprised at the goals you identify. And when you come together with your partner you may also be surprised because some of them may over-lap (such as property goals etc.), or some may be pointing in starkly different directions.

(It may help at this point to check out any of the previous modules in your partners Back to You program as they may spark some thoughts and be beneficial in helping you with this exercise. The one about how you want to FEEL is fantastic.)

When it comes to setting and achieving the goals I lay out for myself, the simplistic approach I use for goal-setting pays off in dividends.

The process of achieving goals starts way back during the very beginning stages of planning which goals I actually want to accomplish in the first place.

This means setting attainable goals that can be divided into small steps.

The primary reason in dividing goals into smaller chunks is that I can over-deliver. This strategy works so well as it alleviates ‘performance anxiety’ and allows you to overshoot that goal, continually succeed, and sort of build that confidence and momentum feeling that you’re winning. It is a precursor to winning on a really large scale.

Be careful: goal setting is aligned to your values and the vision you have for This One Life. It is a personal journey and a special one. However modern society implies making money is a good thing (I bet that is one of your goals “I want a crap load of money”…or some form of) and the modern ideal of a successful life attributes making money with being happy. This implies that what will make us happy is an easy thing to identify. Often, it’s not that easy.

Let’s face it, we aren’t great at recognising our own needs, let alone setting the ‘right’ goals for ourselves. Let’s not underestimate the enormity of the task. Our minds are susceptible to the influence of external voices telling us what we require to be satisfied, distracting us from the task of identifying our goals and priorities. Tune out the voices - listen to yourself here.

I spent over ten years in a square hole, when in-fact I was a round peg. And the erosion of my mind, the erosion of my self-love sent me to the bottom of the bottle over and over again. Instead of carefully tracing my priorities, I did what I thought I should be doing – goal setting was for another day, until it wasn’t, until it had to be done. And it wasn’t too late. It is never too late to re-prioritise your goals, communicate them and then break them down into small, manageable pieces.

Have you heard of SMART Goals? The acronym SMART has several slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition of goal setting:
S - specific, significant, and stretching.
M - Measurable, meaningful, motivational.
A - Agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, and action-oriented.
R – Realistic and
T – Time based.

I like to use: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based.

Let’s take ‘wealth creation’ as an example.

I have come to realise that, yes, I want wealth, but on my terms which, in itself is a kaleidoscope of colour, creativity, family, monetary investments and community.

All of which create a ‘wealthy’ life.

That is why the ‘S’ from the acronym SMART is so important: we need to get SPECIFIC!

Wealth can mean so many things to so many people – heck it means an abundance of anything: in kindness, curiosity, intelligence etc. So get specific about your goals, and then get smart about the small steps toward them. And by this I mean, make them measurable (so you know you are on the way). Make the goals divisible (so that setting easily attainable small steps provides momentum, alleviates performance anxiety and allows you to overshoot and continually succeed – a precursor to ‘winning’ on a larger scale). Make the small step realistic (as well as the larger goal; you are not going to be an AFL player at forty-five, but you may still get into an over-forties league.)

Lastly, make the small step time based in the context of when you want the larger goal to be achieved. Salary sacrificing is a good (albeit) boring example of a time based small step (it happens every pay) toward a larger retirement fund. A small step time based goal for me is to paint at-least one canvass a fortnight for the larger goal of having a large and successful exhibition.

Fill out the worksheet below (add in any extra categories that you need - don’t hold back but also don’t create an overwhelming list). The whole point of this exercise is to help you see that even though some of the dreams you may have might feel far away, there are meaningful steps you can take (today) to move towards them.

Discuss it all with your partner. I reckon she’d appreciate it. Most importantly - be honest with yourself. This is your one life.