Having the “Where Are We Going” conversation can be really, awkward- even for those of us who are engaged to be married. My fiancé and I talk a lot about plans and hopes for the future, but sometimes when I want to dive deep and really get into the conversation his eyes glaze over and he asks with those sad eyes “Can’t we just enjoy dinner? I’ve had a long day…” and I sigh only to realize my Type A works better as a single person.
While most of us love to dream about our five year plan, it can be overwhelming to sit down and scheme, especially if you’re part of a twosome. Talking about where you’re going personally and as a couple can be troublesome- having very different timelines for marriage, kids and big financial goals can be awkward conversations!
Additionally, if you’ve found that every single year as a couple you chime “THIS YEAR, WE ARE GOING TO GET IN SHAPE” or other ambigious goals, you may feel like you’ve landed yourself into a personal or couple’s rut.
How to talk about goals without it being awkward and shake out of a rut? Craft time.
This frugal date idea cost less than $5 and was worth its weight in gold for conversation starters. You can pick up scrapbooking paper at The Dollar Spot in Target (it’s usually a bit thicker than computer paper and is square with a nice pattern or color) or in the craft section. Add in whatever glue, magazines or computer printouts you have on hand and get to it.
I loved doing this project since we have about a gazillion magazine subscriptions and it was time to weed through them. In the past though, when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, computer printouts were just as awesome.
Two years ago- I made a 2012/2013 goal board that really scared me at the time. It basically put my biggest, secret goals on paper… I wanted to find a man worthy of marriage, get some speaking gigs, get a passport/travel more …and it included pictures of some of the business women I admired most. It was so personal, I couldn’t even post pictures of it on my blog. (Here’s an older version of my goal board though!)
It included specifics like pictures of an engagement ring, MacBook Pro, income goals and a passport- I kept it on my wall so roomies could see it, but usually, if I had guests over, I took it down! Needless to say- whether or not you ascribe to the “woowoo” out there or just in the power of intentional living and working your arse off, the board came to life.
Once “me” became “we,” I hadn’t made a goal board in well over a year…the previous goal board had been so powerful and life changed so much, I didn’t bother- until now. Fiancé and I put on a movie, cracked open the magazines and got to clipping. We talked a lot about things we didn’t know we wanted or had assumed the other knew about us- income goals, five year plans, fitness aspirations (and frustrations) and monthly breakdowns of actions steps to make the “big” things into manageable little things.
– Use images that conjure up an emotional response to help you visualize your goal, but pair it with written notes on the back or underneath if the image isn’t specific enough. An image of a person running my make you see yourself running- great! But make sure you put action steps with it or specifics “run every other day,” or “finish a 5k.”
– When crafting with a partner, encourage them to really dream and coach without pushing. If they come up with something wild (as we did) like “Visit Bora Bora” ask questions that will help you determine where this idea came from (peer pressure? just because it looks good in the magazine?) and whether it fits in your big dream plan, and how, when and why.
– Don’t feel pressure to make it pretty or cover everything all at once. This year Fiancé is focusing on fitness, finance and believe it or not- fashion! He wants to look good and feel good this year- but not blow the budget.
I on the other hand, I really want to focus on building my reputation (both as a blogger and my career in social media with speaking gigs, features and build a blog that’s buzz and award worthy! eek…admitting that online=scary!), planning our wedding & our MARRIAGE (so keeping the romance alive is a must despite planning stress) and really pushing my fitness limits this year.
– Be sure to ask lots of questions! Crafting takes some of the edge off the discussion, but don’t forget to talk! It’s easy to get caught up in the cut and pasting, but do some “show and tell” yourself. Why is it important to you? How will you need help to achieve your goal? Do their goals line up with or compliment yours, and if not, how will you maneuver conflicting goals? How can you support each other with these goals (rescheduling chores, not buying junk food, selecting rewards for milestones) and make sure you stay on target? Are your goals for this year or part of a five year plan?
When we look at our goals, it triggers imagery for our “big picture” goals, as well as tangible little, daily goals that can be measured within our calendar year. But beyond that, it was an awesome date night! It helped us talk about our vision for the future without it feeling like a total chore or that one was nagging the other for timeframes. (You know…like “When are you going to ask for that raise?” or “When are you going to be ready to have kids?”…yikes!)
You can decide if this particular frugal date night is right for you, but if anything, it might be a good date night with yourself too! 🙂