Are your relationship goals aligned for 2024? Join licensed therapist Katie Rössler in this episode as she delves into the power of shared relationship goals.
Learn practical strategies to transform individual aspirations into 'we' goals, enhancing your relationship. Discover the art of effective communication, resolving disagreements, and gaining insights into arguing more effectively.
Prioritize your relationship, find balance, and strengthen your bond with practical advice and support from Katie's goal-setting workbook. Tune in to equip yourself with the knowledge to enhance your relationship in 2024 and beyond!
Learn More About The Stress Less Space
Get a free Uncover Your Blocks Strategy Session with Katie
Follow The Balance Code Podcast on Instagram
Follow Katie Rössler on Instagram
Check out the podcast website
Welcome to the Balance Code podcast, a place where you have permission to step outside the hamster wheel of day-to-day life and learn tools to create more balance. My name is Katie Russell. I'm a licensed therapist and burnout and hidden grief specialist. I support ambitious, goal-driven people who are ready to get off the one-way train, to burnout and start to enjoy life to the fullest. Oh and, by the way, I'm an American living in Germany who's still learning the language, mom of three and an entrepreneur. Learning my Balance Code is what keeps me able to work in incredible ways without burning out. Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. Today, we're going to be talking about how to set goals for 2024, and specifically, we're going to be looking at in your relationship. So, whether you've been partnered up for a matter of months or a year or two, or you guys have been together for a while, we're going to be looking at how to set goals together that feel good rather than cause a feeling of gosh I haven't given up so much for this or lead to arguing. Now, one of the tools that I love to give all of my clients and I have available for you is a workbook about setting goals as a couple, and I guide you through some of the things we're going to talk about today very easily in this workbook, where you can just fill it out and it's kind of fun. You can set up your own date night together and you go okay, let's really look at 2023. And what did we like and what do we not like about the things that happened in our relationship? And often there's a lot of external things that have been happening to us that impacted the relationship, but it's how we treated each other, it's how we acted, that really caused the issue. So this is a space where you can look and assess that right, and then it leads you on okay, what do you do next? And then, after that discussion, what do you do next? And then, how do you start to set the goals? So if you'd like to get a copy of my goal-setting workbook for couples, look below for the link and you'll be able to get access to it for free. Now let's talk about goal-setting for couples and I want to talk about why it tends to lead to fighting, why it's important to do and how you can start to take some steps for 2024. So, first of all, why is it hard to set goals as a couple. Well, think about it. You came into the relationship as individual people. You came into it with the mindset of, like, I have my dreams and my goals and my wishes for what my relationship will look like If you have a family, what my family will look like, where I think I'll live or how I think I will be, what I will show or how I will show up in my relationship as right, like I'm going to be this, really loving and kind or whatever, really patient and peaceful. And then, like you get into the relationship and you're like, oh, wow, I am triggered and upset half the time by the things that you do and it just gets me all worked up. So it's difficult to set goals as a couple because it's really hard to go from like an I, I, I mindset, me, me, me to a we mindset. The challenge of it is, most of the time we were not trained or conditioned to think that way. It was always about what are your goals? What are you going to do next? Where are you going to be in five years? What are you, you, you? And now you're in a relationship and you're like oh, we have to figure out how those you goals, individual goals now come together and sometimes they don't Right. Sometimes, when you come with your partner and you go, here's what I want for my life, and they're like, well, here's what I want, I don't know how we're going to blend those together, it can feel scary. It can feel like, well, how do we have this relationship then? That this is what we want and it doesn't align. The fear around what if our goals don't align leads to a lot of couples not wanting to set goals together and it's like, well, let's just stay in our own lanes and not merge together. But the more you do, that a greater divide grows. And then there's expectations that you both have that you're not communicating, that you're not talking about, and instead you're feeling bitter and frustrated and resenting the other. And there's no discussions being had or you're having arguments. You're not even really clear what it is you're arguing about, because you've not had the discussion about what the background is. So that's one of the big issues is that fear. There's the struggle of where do we even start? Do I start with what my personal goals are, or do I ask them to share? And then what if our goals don't align or there's compromises that have to be made. How do we do that? What if I'm really firm that this is a goal for our relationship? I have, and it has to happen. But they're not on the same page and they don't agree. So we won't even start setting goals because we don't even know where to begin. It's like having I always joke that's like a little kid looking at their room and their parent being like clean your room after they've had like a big play date with all their friends and they're like I don't know what to do. So they just start playing with something they avoid, they escape. We would get on our phones, right, we would go and do something else, check an email. So let me go do this other thing that feels important in this moment. But if I sat down with that kid and I said, whoa man, this is a big mess. Okay, let's just put the books back on the bookshelf and we do that. Okay, let's pick up your clothes, let's see what's clean, what's dirty and let's put them where they belong. Okay, now let's pick up all these toys and put them in that box. Like if I break it up into little steps, it's so much easier, but it's not an intuitive thing to do that for a lot of us when it comes to setting goals together. So what's important for a couple is to not allow the fear of I don't know where to start, I'm afraid to hear what you have to say, or I know what you're going to say and it doesn't jive with me. So let's just avoid it. Like these fears and these worries and this overwhelm lead us not to set goals together and it just again creates that divine. Another thing that I notice is that one in the relationship tends to be a little more adaptable or kind of. Maybe they feel like they're always rolling over and giving in and compromising, and so it's like why even begin is just their goals anyways, but that's not what either of you want to have in your relationship. So it's worth having the conversation, it's worth saying, hey, I'd like to be heard too, I'd like to stand up and share what my goals are too, and then we see how we can come together. The importance of goal setting for couples is the same thing as a company having a mission statement why are we doing what we're doing? Why does this matter? Right, like, just because we're in a relationship doesn't mean anything. That's not a oh okay. Well, it has to be this way and this is how it has to look and it'll be forever, or like there's a lot of assumptions. There's a lot of assumptions that happen when we're together. So being able to go kind of you can even create a relationship mission statement if you want to. What are the things that matter to us? Why did we get together in the first place? And for some of you you're laughing because maybe it was like a one night stand or something and you're like, oh, this works out, like it's something silly that brought you together. But if you can go back to what kept us together in the beginning, that those first few months, that first year or two and really assess what were the values that were important to us, we played together a lot, we went on adventures, we had fun, we could always talk to each other Right, those are those core values that brought you together and strengthened the foundation of your relationship, and once you bring those back to light and you look at them again, you're able to go okay, these are the things that are important to us. There have been any shifts in that. Well, we'd love to go on adventures, but we're in a season of our life where that's harder to do. Maybe you've got kids, maybe work responsibilities, maybe you're taking care of a sick family member or somebody who's aging and you're like we can't do the adventures like we used to. Then the goal would be bring about adventures in your life that makes sense to where you are right now. Right, and you'd have to get creative. When we're stressed, when we're overwhelmed, when we're just over it and frustrated, we're not creative anymore. Right, like our ability to think beyond anything that's happening in our little box is like nope. And as soon as we start to read books about ideas, listen to podcasts, watch videos, you know, and get some new creative juice going into our mental stream of thought, like oh wait, actually we could do this and this would be adventurous. And maybe taking a cooking class would feel a bit like an adventure and we do it from. Like you know, we'll do a Greek class for this and we'll do Italian cooking here, and then we'll do like then, all of a sudden, that adventurous spirit comes back. Or let's try a new hobby together that is still in our area where we live. That can feel adventurous, but because it's not the adventure we had when we were younger and together we're like no, nothing can hit that spot like it used to, but that's just not true. So it's important for couples to start to create goals together and to look at creative ways to make them happen, because it also brings you together, it strengthens the bond and the foundation of your relationship. Often, when we have a foundation that's been chipped away at and maybe it was built on rocky ground to begin with, we have to start over and I like to say to the couples who work with me we're clearing it all out, we're tearing it all down. We're going to pull the pieces we like. We like that beam, we like that wall, we like that roof shingle and we're going to rebuild. This is you 2.0, a couple 2.0 or 3.0 or 4.0, wherever you're at in your relationship, but we're going to pull from what worked in the old. We're going to change the habits, look at some new goals, really create a. We set it on a strong foundation, build tools to have that strong foundation and then build that relationship house there. Because if we keep trying to build on something that isn't stable from to begin with, there has so many like, the pipes are leaking and you know, think of every house renovation project. Right Like, all the stuff goes wrong. Okay, well, that's not going to work. So when we set goals as a couple, we do need to assess what we already have and that allows us to go. What do I like and what do I not like? Maybe it's time to have conversations with your partner that you've been afraid to have. Let's be real to have better balance in your life, to find your balance code. The key relationships in your life need to be in a healthier state. Right Like they need to have their own balance. If you're avoiding them, if you're afraid to have the conversation, if you're afraid of the argument, they're not balanced. I often have couples share with me oh, we don't really even argue, like we rarely argue and I look at them and I go is for you, is that a good thing or a bad thing? They usually go. I mean I guess it's good. I mean we hear our friends are arguing all the time and just like really glad, we're not like that. And I said which one of you is imploding them? Which one of you is holding this in? And they'll look at me with big eyes and I'm like no, because when we did have disagreements and there's frustration if it's not being released in some way, and it doesn't have to be yelling. Arguing isn't yelling people If we're not releasing it in some way and really communicating our disagreement, what we don't like, and then finding some healthy outlets to release it. Someone's imploding, Somebody is holding it in or exploding somewhere outside of the relationship. They're getting mad at somebody else, they're blowing up at their friend. They're, you know, like somebody cuts them off in traffic and they're like honking at them and blowing up at them and then coming out. We naturally need a release. I like to think of it like a soda bottle right, like we shake it, we shake it. We shake it, we shake it. If you open that full on, it's blasting everywhere like everyone's covered in soda. But if you learn to open it slowly, slowly, slowly in your arguments, learning effective strategies to release the things you disagree on, then all of a sudden there's not as much buildup. So if one of the goals is for us to start communicating more honestly about the things we disagree about and able to argue in effective ways, pool yes Instead of we don't want to argue anymore. When I have couples say come to me and be like one of my goals is we just want to argue less, like, okay, tell me why. And usually it's because how they're arguing. Because, if you think about it, there are certain personality types that are going to butt heads regularly. Right? A thinker and a feeler are going to butt heads, an extrovert and an introvert trying to plan what they're going to do over the weekend or a night of a busy day at work. They're going to butt heads. This is normal. So is it argue less or is it argue more effectively? So it's shorter and there are no hurt feelings. And then you move on and compromise and you find that next thing If we're not goal setting and talking about the difficult things and what we don't like and what we'd like to see change, we're not going to get to the thing we want to see change. We're not going to be sitting there and praying or designed to manifest something and then just sitting on your butt and not doing anything. Like if you don't get up and start to make the shifts, it's not going to happen. So be mindful that if you have fears around creating goals, what are those fears about with your partner? Are they pretty domineering and pushy about things? Okay, well, that's a conversation to have. Hey, I'm going to set a timer for two minutes and you're just going to listen. Here's a notepad and pen. Don't plan what you're going to say next. I just want you to hear me and I want you to write down the key points of what I said. Like go back to being in a lecture hall, right, or with your teacher in school, and like write down what I'm sharing so that you can stay focused and hear me, because one of my fears is that you don't hear. Respect me and I know you don't want me to feel this way. So write down what I'm sharing and then please reflect back to me what you hear and I'll let you know if you got it or not. You know, I'll let you know if that was right or not, if there's something that I realize I want to shift, so then we can have an effective conversation about our goal setting. Now, if you're listening to that and you're like great Katie, I don't think like that in the moment, it's okay. Most of us don't. I don't, even in the moment of an argument, think that way. But it's good to start to practice in your mind different ways to approach difficult conversations. I do find in most relationships, one person is a little more dominant than the other, but in different areas. Right, there are arguments about this. You know, my partner might be more dominant about it than I am because I'm just not as passionate and not as worried about it. Or I have an emotional response from my childhood, from my family, that makes me kind of victim, roll it right Like, oh, I can't, oh, I don't know, I don't know how to. And then they sort of take a step up versus there's other topics where I will dominate Sorry, love, I will, because I'm so passionate and angry about it. And then he's sort of like what, what just happened? So it's good for us to recognize when those roles happen and what's going on so that we can go okay, all we want to do is create goals. All we want to do is look at 2024 with fresh eyes and to say these are the things that are not working. From the old. We've been in a bad habit of this for five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years or, if you're new in the relationship, the last five months. We've been doing it this way and it's just not working. What are the shifts we're willing to make? How are you going to remember those shifts and what are the ways we're going to check in with each other and make sure that we both see the progress we want to see with all of this. So your first step, before you even sit down with your partner, to set those goals and I really encourage you to get my couples goals that I work, because it just guides you through everything like literally, like step by step by step, and that you can find that again in the show notes. But if you don't have time to do that, I want you to first reflect on 2023 in your relationship. And what are the things? If you could go back and watch that movie and go, oh, I wish I would have changed this. I want you to look at it from an honest perspective. No one's going to know, it's just between you and yourself. What would you have done differently? What are the times and things that you would have maybe shifted how you responded, been more present, more thoughtful, more caring, maybe stood out for yourself a little bit more? What are the times that you would have spoken out about the things that hurt, versus just hold them in, or exploded a little bit less? And then I want you to think about the things you wish your partner did differently. One of the other tools that I like to give individuals who have expectations of particular people that maybe aren't realistic is to write down what those expectations are and then, in a column next to it, write down who that person is. Well, their major thing are very analytical, very sciencey, okay, and you want them to be empathic and super feely and hold you when you're crying, but that's not their temperament. How can we start to align expectations with who they truly are? So I have people go through this and, as you look at me, I'm in 2023, I wish my partner had done this more. I've been this way and then you go. Were they being true to their temperament throughout all of that? And is there a skill set that can be learned that, even though it may not feel natural or normal, a skill set that can be learned that can help them be more supportive, more, whatever it might be Right? And if so, how can I talk to them about that as we sit down and create our goals? Okay, so we've looked at why couples are usually afraid of or avoiding setting goals, then why it's important to have those goals in the first place, because, like what's the purpose? You know what's our mission statement? Like why is the company doing what it's doing? Why is this relationship doing what it's doing? What's our values, what's important to us? And then, going into what's our first steps, I want you to look at what you would have done differently in your relationship and then I want you to think about what you wish your partner done differently. And the beautiful thing is, as you start to do that, you create some we ideas. Man, we just need to work on our communication in general. We need to work on making us a priority. It's not about him or her or they, it's we are a priority. And how can we make the relationship as exciting as it was when we were 15 and we had a crush on some person and we were like, oh my gosh, I just can't wait to see them. I'm so excited. I've butterflies in my stomach Like how do we create that again in our relationship? Because it can happen, guys, some of you are like, well, that's unrealistic, that whatever, katie, nope. And I'm like, no, it can happen and it's pretty powerful and amazing when it does so, when you can get back into that space and you can really feel and sense what you want the relationship to look like. Then change can start to happen. Then things can start to shift. So go grab that workbook and sit down with your partner and fill it out together and have fun doing it and allow the text of the workbook to lead you through the discussions. Don't jump ahead, because at the end, you create a mission statement by the way. Don't jump ahead. Start with how it has you flow. There's a reason to my method, because I've worked with couples for 15 years and I know our brains want to go over to here and it's like no, don't go in with your own strategy. Allow the workbook to guide you and you're going to find that it's so much simpler to have the discussion around goals and it leads to some really funny and good discussions. The people who have done this workbook and I haven't brought it out for the last three years, but back in 2019, when I had this, and in 2020, people were like we were like laughing together over some of this stuff that usually would have made us fight and like yes, yes, because there is a method to the madness of this workbook. There's a reason. I guide you in this way so we can set goals as a couple and not always end with bad feelings and hurt. We can set goals as a couple and feel empowered and follow through with them and follow through with them. We can set goals as a couple and feel even more united than divided. So I really want to empower you to let go of the old. These things don't work for us. My partner is an onboard with things like this, and just try to approach it from a brand new standpoint of this. 2024 is almost here, or, if you're listening to it, it is here. It's time to start to shift our relationship and no one expects you to know how to do that. No one expects you to just know how to figure it out for yourself, except for you or your partner, if that's their mentality right. I have a lot of people go like well, if we can't figure it out for ourselves, then what's the point? I'm sorry. How much reading throughout your whole life have you done on having a successful relationship? How much listening? How much studying? Have you learned different theories of why things happen? Have you studied personality? Have you studied cultural differences? Have you looked at all of these things? And most people look at me like no, okay, well, that's like me giving you an Excel spreadsheet for the very first time and me going figure it out. I expect all of the beautiful graphs. I expect that when I change the number here it changes the whole values on the other side of the your Excel spreadsheet. My husband's listening and laughing because this is like his world, right, like it's like me just giving you something that's complex and going figure it out, have fun. And then you do it and you're like oh, I keep doing the same mess up, I keep having the same mistakes, I keep getting it wrong and thinking that's just how it is. But when you bring in help, a workbook, a coach, a guide, a therapist, whatever to go, hey guys, there's a much easier way to do this. Let me show you and you're like what, mind blown. Then, all of a sudden, things change and they shift quicker. Because there are people out there who've studied this and that's part of the important thing in their life and their purpose is to help relationships or to help individuals. So it isn't a weakness to need them. It's the same as going to read the book about it from the expert, listen to the podcast from the expert. You're just going to go work with them and streamline the process and be like, okay, what do I need to do? How can we get from point A to point Z with the least hurt feelings, the fastest route and feeling more connected than ever at the end? So if one of you is like we should be able to figure this out for ourselves, we'll just sit down and create goals on our own and it'll go well. It might. Why not use a tool or a resource that's going to just make it easy, clear this is what we do, and then you go enjoy the rest of your day or your night together, your week, right, and you're flirtatious and you're fun, because you just laughed about things and you feel empowered and you took time to prioritize each other by sitting down to create the goals. Okay, I've preached enough about this. I could go on and on, but I really encourage you to take some time as you enter into 2024 or at the beginning of 2024, to write down those we goals and again, grab the workbook below, so that makes it so much easier for you. Oh, sending you good wishes and here's to finding our balance code. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If so, take a moment to leave a rating and a review. Interested in learning more about my work and the resources I have to support you in this season of your life. Check out the links in the show notes to connect and learn more. And, as always, here's to finding our balance code.