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What To Do When Your Relationship Goals Get Off Track?

About 7 months ago, Chris and I discovered that a few of our key relationship and lifestyle goals had gotten off track.

And because our goals are driven by intentional relationship strategic planning (yes, just like strategic planning for a business, but for the ‘business of the family’), we knew that our values and priorities had popped out of alignment!

Exactly 2 years ago, we decided to buy a house. Chris and I had been traveling around the country, living, working and playing- full-time in our Airstream camper for 3.5 years prior to this home purchase. At the time, we thought we wanted to build a community in one location. So we thought, “what the heck”, and we bought a home in Asheville, NC.

Chris and I had an unbelievable amount of fun and joy renovating the house, which felt like a wonderful adventure. We planned. We creatively bounced ideas back and forth until fantastic solutions were landed upon. We worked with our hands to create the perfect Zen space for our little family – This was all a ton of fun!

Then… when the renovation fun ended, we soon found ourselves feeling like prisoners to the house and yard (maybe you can relate). And for Chris and I, this was a serious strike against the values that we intentionally set for our family, businesses and life together, each December.

So many people believe that things like the ‘house or yard’ and other obligations are “just a part of life”. But do they have to be? Or do they have to be in traditional ways?

We all have the ability to set up OUR life / love / business or career in ways that totally support the values, goals, adventure, love, community, care, giving, and business in any ways that truly honors each of us.

For some, taking care of things like a home and yard, are totally aligned and great fun- and that’s amazing and you should definitely continue if this brings you great joy. AND, if there are any areas of your life that are lending themselves to feeling overwhelmed, stressed and agitated, and especially out of alignment or inauthentic to your spirit--- then it is time for CHANGE!

ANYTHING can be tweaked, shifted or even completely over-hauled!

One value in particular had been gravely impacted for Chris and I- and that value was ADVENTURE. For us, adventure is all about playing together, connecting, exploring and being creative – all things the spirit requires for optimal emotional and physical health!

Adventure could mean: playing outside, biking, hiking, paddle boarding, going for long walks, laying in a park, jumping on a trampoline, roller-skating, (ok, that’s mostly a solo adventure!), hula-hooping (um, yeah, that’s mostly me too- but VERY entertaining when Chris does try hula-hooping!), tree climbing and so on.

What is so great about having clearly identified values (and a family vision and goals) is that it enables us to make swift calculated changes to realign life when necessary. It allows us to flow easily into needed conversation without any conflict at all.

So, when you and your partner or family are struggling to get on the same page and your relationship goals get off track, there are several things you can do.

Here are THREE GREAT actions you and your partner can do to get on the same page and stay there!

3 dogs illustrating 3 key actions
3 NEW habits to get you & your sweetie moving in a powerful direction!

1) Schedule weekly or bi-monthly meetings!

This may not seem sexy or even enjoyable… at FIRST!

BUT, every single client / couple I have worked with in the last 20 years who decided to implement regular meetings together is SO GLAD THEY DID!

It is really amazing.

You can come with an agenda. Talk about dreams and goals and progress. Some couples have even painted a wall with chalk board paint in order to PLAY with their goals. For example, making a fun chart to color segment every time they meet a financial savings or ‘get out of debt’ goal.

Sometimes there needs to be challenging conversations as well. But, in this format, both partners come to the table prepared and in a frame of mind to problem solve.

When Chris and I had a meeting to decide to surrender trying to make babies, after 4 miscarriages, it was intense and sad. But, having already had the habit of having meetings made this conversation much easier, less sad and stress-free.

WE LOVE our meetings, and you will too!

2) Create a single guiding value to make ALL decisions

When I am coaching couples, I encourage them to begin with a single family, business or career value to share and make decisions with.

If there are more than one at the beginning, it will likely be cumbersome to utilize the values efficiently and effectively.

You can select any value that helps to guide your family to the goals you wish to achieve TOGETHER.

Example 1) You might choose, empowered stewardship- because you have goals of stewarding one another, your children, finances and the planet in higher levels and more loving ways.

Example 2) You could choose vulnerability, because you want to be more open, connected and share more frequently on a heart level with one another. Chris and I used vulnerability as our guiding value for 2 years about 7 years ago. It was a COMPLETE transformation. We committed to raw, unbridled, fearless vulnerability- and WHOA- did it knock the socks off our marriage.

Try sitting down together, make a list of possible values and go through the process of elimination until you land on the value that honors you relationship and family BEST for a 12 month period- then you can re-evaluate and either re-commit to this value or choose another one. It really is a lovely gift to your relationship.

If you feel you could not do this task without an argument breaking out, or you try this and you are having trouble landing on a single value or conflict is impeding your decision…

PLEASE reach out- I am here to serve couples! PLEASE don’t just struggle on your own.

3) Do you own healing and growth work!

This is where the rubber meets the road my friends. And where you will get the most bang for your buck as a couple who wants to have aligned goals and a joyful relationship.

TRULY GREAT relationships occur because 2 beautiful humans have committed to their individual path of healing and growth.

It is rarely the actual relationship that causes relationship problems. Instead it is what we bring to relationships that creates issues.

Where there are 2 emotionally healthy people, there is a beautifully joyful and sustainable relationship.

A totally kick ass relationship requires individual commitment to letting go of blame of any kind, and embracing radical self responsibility and personal healing and growth. This is where things get juicy! Because of this truth, 80% of the couples work I do with people is actually individual, and 20% is together. It is an unusual format- but it is WILDLY successful.

You can begin anytime with your own healing and growth journey. Read books, go to conferences, listen to TED talks, hire a coach, spend time in nature, practice surrender meditations. Anything you need to engage in your own healing. Feel free to email me for a great book list- I am so happy to share!

Or check out the Strategic Planning for Couples That Rock- it is a group course that will help guide you and your partner to a more fruitful relationship.

Reading can facilitate healing and growth
Learn, apply, heal, grow... repeat!

Introspection and personal healing is the road-less traveled, for sure. Especially as it pertains to trading BLAME for RADICAL SELF RESPONSIBILITY. But, it is a far more joyful and empowering road too!

Thanks for tuning in friends!


Shawn Haywood
Dr. Shawn Haywood

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