How to set new year goals with your significant other

I’ve always loved the end of the year because it gives me time to really reflect and refresh for a new year! What did I accomplish? What went well? Why did it go well? What areas could I have done better? What will I change in order to see that improvement? I ask these questions and more going into goal setting and vision planning for a new year.

How to set New Year Goals with your significant other by Strong Sweet Caroline

One thing that has been different this year is I am not alone. I have taken a different approach to goal setting–it includes my boyfriend, significant other, David.

We each have our own unique goals. We also have goals together as a couple. I wanted to ensure we set aside proper time to discuss, dissect and start planning for them! Otherwise, if we undercommunicate, they might get left out to dry on the side of the “could have done” road.

David is extremely ADD, so when going about this, I knew I would have to be prepared and make it quick and succinct. It is not that he does not like goal setting, because he thrives from doing it. It is more of him being unable to focus for long periods of time.

Here is the method I went about to set new year goals with my significant other. Hope they can help you too!

How to set New Year Goals with your significant other by Strong Sweet Caroline

Step 1: Break the ice

So, before you start with all these goals and plans, have you even asked the questions to your partner? Do they have goals? And are they willing to set them with you?

Since the inception of David and I’s relationship, we both have expressed different goals in life. Different preferences, visions for our upcoming years and ways we wanted to succeed. We had some of them broken down into goals. Others not quite. Breaking the ice to open the conversation is the start to these conversations.

Some questions I find helpful when starting the talks are:

  • I’ve been thinking about my goals for the new year and I was wondering if you’d like to talk through them with me? I’d love to hear yours too!
  • Going into the new year, I know I want to do _____, ______, and ______. What are some ideas for you?
  • What are some things you want to work in this next year? How can I help you with them?
How to set New Year Goals with your significant other by Strong Sweet Caroline

Step 2: Review past year

Before you do any vision planning for the new year ahead, be sure to analyze and give time to reflect on the past year! I used an idea shared by Nate Green for Personal Retrospective for us to go through our individual goals a few goals as a couple and plan into 2019.

Here are the areas to focus in the review:

  • What made us proud or was a success?
  • What were areas for improvement or growth opportunities?

Then, I broke it down into broad categories. We talked about our individual year goals together.

Proud or Success Moments

Quality time spent with loved ones.

  • Went to Miami, FL to celebrate David’s birthday, train at a new gym and see his childhood friend Mark and wife Joanna
  • Celebrated our one-year anniversary at Fogo de Chao
  • Attended the Arnold Classic and got to meet some idols (mine was Amanda Kuclo, his was Lee Priest)
  • Went white water rafting for the first time with David’s childhood friend Kevin and girlfriend Cat
  • Celebrated by birthday with a photoshoot and home cooked lamb dinner with David
  • Traveled to Ohio for my sister Kelly’s college graduation
  • Attended my first Atlanta United soccer game
  • Dressed in costume for first DragonCon, although we ran out of paint and David had to spend more than planned for his
  • Celebrated the love of George and Kathleen at their wedding
  • Took David to a shooting range for the first time, now he just needs his own handgun since we already have our permits
  • Went ice skating with Tara
How to set New Year Goals with your significant other by Strong Sweet Caroline

Supporting others successes.

  • Attended the Lee Haney for David’s clients, Tony and Natan
  • Attended two dress up events as Tara’s guest
  • Celebrated Heather’s 30th birthday

Personal growth and career growth.

  • Started to be coached by John Meadows for bodybuilding goals
  • Starred in my first video shoot for a gym!
  • Owned my own meal prep company and at one point had 15 clients while making profit
  • Participated in first video shoot with Workout Anytime!
  • Completed my first fitness model photoshoot with Rainbow Photography
  • Continued freelancing all year for one large client, keeping me active and writing regularly
  • Spoke at AFA Leaders Conference for college students about productivity and well being
  • Attended A Tribe Called Bliss to hear Lori Harder speak and to meet some like-minded ladies

Femininity and Spirituality.

  • Balanced my hormones and PCOS naturally
  • Became more in tune with my sexuality through photography, reading and jade egg practice
  • Increased yoga to once per week
  • Stuck to meditating DAILY
  • Improved bible study (almost have been 1 YEAR of daily bible verse via YouVersion Bible App) and watch Life.Church online weekly
  • Started earning about crystal healing and using them in meditation practice

Areas of Improvement & Growth Opportunities

Sticking through the tough stuff.

  • Having trust in my personal relationship and talking about areas I’m insecure, why and working with David to overcome it
  • Skin issues and gut health take time. One meal will not improve my skin overnight, just like one cookie will not cause trauma. Consistency to heal from within. Read a bit about this journey.
  • Preventative care for injuries is a must. Stretching, chiropractic work and deep tissue work will need increased, as well as Epsom salt baths and muscle relaxing creams.

Making the most of time, knowing my value and being present and organized.

  • I have learned my value in my skills and work. I worked part time at a bakery that was not compensating what I should have earned for my skills.
  • I worked at a real estate management firm that had negative energy and was taking away from my time and happiness.
  • If I become disorganized, I do not use my time wisely and am unable to be fully present in the moment with friends, mentors and loved ones.

Write down business goals and be detailed.

  • My meal prep business failed because I did not fully write out my budgets, goals and required profits.
  • I missed income opportunities because of ill-planning.
How to set New Year Goals with your significant other by Strong Sweet Caroline

Step 3: Ask the bigger questions for yourself and as a couple

Now that David knew where I stood on my 2018 plans and goals, what would 2019 look like? We had to discuss these together. And I did so with a quick worksheet, provided by Adam Carroll, and I expanded further.

Here are the questions we wrote down our individual answers:

  • What do you want your life to be like 5 years from now?
  • What’s the one most important thing to get done in 2019?
  • What one thing have you not done that your really want to do?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • What do you absolutely love in life and how can you expand on it?
  • What are you doing to pursue your dreams right now?
  • What are you pretending not to know?

Here are two more questions we came up with individual answers but focused on our relationship:

  • What are the two big focus areas for 2019?
  • What feelings do you want to emit in 2019?

Our focus areas for 2019 are going to be Bodybuilding and Travel. Our feelings we want more of in our relationship for 2019 are fun, positive energy and passion!

How to set New Year Goals with your significant other by Strong Sweet Caroline

Step 4: Put them into action

With our individual goals and team/partner goals, we need to implement them for the new year! That includes writing them down. David is not so much the organized, writing-brained part of our relationship. I took it upon myself to write them out and put onto one page we can print and hang up in our living area to see daily.

Between you and your partner, come to an agreement on who will write out the goals and “manage” the documents. Then, together, you must put them into action!

Break them down, monthly and possibly weekly and daily if you need. I find I’m most productive mapping out weekly goals and putting them into my schedule.

We are finalizing our couple vision board to add in the 5-year goals and ideas, as well as keep us visually motivated, every single day. When you put your plan into action, you will most likely succeed!

This is the first time David and I put down goals together. Now, we must stick to them and see that we succeed! How can this process help you and your loved one be aligned into a new year? Share comments below or reach out with any questions at strongsweetcaroline@gmail.com.

What makes you extraordinary?

I had the privilege to speak at the AFA Leaders Conference for the second time! This session, based off of Franklin Covey’s 5 Choices for Extraordinary Productivity was titled, Balancing Your Priorities.

From the start of the trip, it was bound to be something special. David accompanied me and we would be flying out the night before my presentation. I accidentally put E85 gas in my car, thinking it was FlexFuel when in reality, it was only Eco system. Therefore, David and I pushed our boundaries to get to the airport on time for our flight. We made it with a half hour of chill time before boarding! The uneventful flight was nice, and caught a Lyft ride to the Sheraton Crown Plaza. It was midnight central time when we checked in and as you can imagine, I was ready for bed. Unfortunately, sleep did not come easily. I’m always nervous before a speaking event. I had prepared as much as I could and know now I could have tweaked and polished some things. Nonetheless, it was what I hoped for, planned for and more!

The organization and people are extraordinary. And they inspire me to do the same. Throughout the presentation, I caught myself reflecting a lot on my own productivity or lack of. My own goals and ones that I was performing or underperforming. I also thought about my current primary roles that I can enhance and improve.

I’m not simply a presenter, speaker or facilitator. I am a strong woman, caretaker, lover, writer, athlete, influencer, adventurer, cook and more! All of these roles can be used to describe me. This is part of what I helped these college freshmen evaluate for themselves.

Strong Sweet Caroline - Extraordinary

I gave them a new perspective. They can become extraordinary. We all can! It’s just a matter of the amount of time, dedication and effort put into your craft. A real life example I used was Steve Jobs. He was wildly successful because he dedicated his life to his passion and interest and did not let anyone stop him. To be extraordinary, we first identify our beliefs and values. The passions and interests stem from there. We cannot divert from our deepest beliefs and values. If that happens, and it happens to all of us at some point, we hit a plateau, a “mid-life crisis” if you will.

The extraordinary lead from unwavering beliefs and values. 

Caroline Weihl

It was beautiful seeing and working with these bright students. They were receptive to learning how to be extraordinary. They were even more intrigued by my transformation within my career, my passions in health and bodybuilding, and David and I’s relationship.

This event revitalized me to continue extending my reach to share my gifts and become a master of my trade. I will help women find feminine strength through health and healing. I also aspire to share relationship advice. David and I are not perfect. But we have invested in one another to sculpt our relationship for the future.

After the event, David and I got some Kansas City barbecue and spent the evening in Power and Light District with some old friends. It was well worth the little sleep. It also shed light for David from the presentation and friends to an underlying health issue we were not aware of before.

After we got back, we focused on realignment and our routines. David’s now healing what a doctor discovered is an esophagus ulcer. And I’m working on healing my energy from within. In order to reach our extraordinary goals and extraordinary life, we must take new actions and set those new habits daily. 

What makes you extraordinary? Believe it, act it, become it! 

Reflection: A Tribe Called Bliss

Close your eyes. Prepare to set your intentions. Breathe in through your nose the desires you have for the day. Breathe out the preconceived notions and expectations. It’s time to create your tribe.

I have followed Lori Harder for the past four years. Between living in Nebraska, Ohio and Georgia, she has been a part of my transformation and journey. She does not know it, but she has had a direct impact on my development as a woman. Through her podcast called Earn Your Happy, and Instagram, I’ve felt like I’m right alongside her, in her growth, her challenges and her successes.

We have a lot in common. We both grew up the Midwest, her a Michigan gal, me from Ohio. We were raised in a conservative rural communities, hers a bit moreso. We have competed in bodybuilding competitions. We both have larger-than-life goals! These commonalities helped me connect and want to learn with and from her. I also had set in my mind that one day, I would meet her and work with her.

About one month ago, the opportunity arose! Lori has been promoting her new book, A Tribe Called Bliss, which I heard a bit about on another podcast, and discovered she was doing a book tour around the country. Atlanta had made the list! I asked David if it was OK and fit our budget and he knew I’d been talking about her forever and said “Go for it!”. So then and there, I reserved my ticket.

I experienced a crazy day before the event. A lot of stress at work, followed by trying to get to a gym to train and go straight to the event. I got in a half hour chest and shoulder workout with an insane pump and started towards the venue near Midtown.

I wasn’t sure its location and on the way, my GPS navigation tried to turn me on a closed road and I was almost T-boned when en route. But I made it, early, in once piece, wearing a new sweater dress and boots to stay warm in this brisk fall weather on Thursday night.

I approached the small venue and opened the door to a vibrant energy. Women [and men] gathered around the chairs set before Lori’s presentation began. I had never been to a “book tour” so it was neat to be a part of one I could deeply connect with. And, most importantly, start to connect with the women there to build a tribe.

Lori came on stage in a full length, long sleeve dress, looking stunning. The thing that caught my eye most: her iconic braid and a stunning quartz ring on her right middle finger. I’ve been researching more about crystals and seeing hers, that is a symbol for clarity and a few other things, was just another indicator I was in the right place.

She began with meditation. This is how I knew I was in the right room! We each set our intention for the evening. Mine?

Embrace likemindedness and new relationships.

Lori shared with us her two intentions: make it fun and share her tools to deeper connection. Immediately after, we spent the next four minutes to meet four new people! Nothing says networking like working a room of excited women.

As Lori continued the event, she shared the 7 Sacred Commitments to having real, authentic relationships. A lot of it I have already known and no, I won’t spoil it for anyone wanting to read the book! But, nonetheless, she had quite a few mindblowing quotes.

When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.

Wayne Dyer

After her speech, photo opportunity and autographs were a must. A few ladies like Ashley and Stormy I am definitely going to keep in touch with! Some others, I did not get to meet very long but this is the chance to use social media for GOOD and send a quick follow up DM on IG or Facebook.

Sometimes, things happen if they are not meant to be on our path.

Lori Harder

Finding a tribe to flourish with has been difficult. But, I believe my tribe will continue to strengthen and evolve. I know it’s just a matter of time and energy. Give and you will receive.

Lori Harder a Tribe Called Bliss

My current tribe is spread across the country. They are still amazing, wonderful women! And I’ve made it a goal to not lose touch with those in my court. Now, I set course to create another tribe, but locally. I guess that is the give and take of moving around for different jobs and life opportunities.

If it scares me, I need to do it. Grow through it!

Lori Harder
Lori Harder a Tribe Called Bliss

This reflection is not just about the amazing event, but to turning a page into my authentic self. I really resonated with Lori’s philosophy about our true self.

Lori Harder personal definition of authenticity: Give yourself the freedom and grace to show up completely different than you did yesterday.

Going into the end of the year and 2019, you can bet I’m making my tribe a priority. Want to join me in reading the book? Send me an email at strongsweetcaroline@gmail.com and I’d LOVE to start up a little book club.

The best leaders are tailored communicators

You’re walking into a networking event. People have cocktails, evening attire, big smiles and excited eyes. It’s a time for mingling, gathering and learning. You know that in this situation, your best foot forward is usually to initiate conversation, listen intentionally and walk away with a new business card in your wallet or a contact in your smart phone.

The next day, you connect with that person over lunch. You get to know him or her a bit better. As you are having conversation, you learn that they REALLY like to send messages over Instagram. Frankly, that is their most responsive form of communication. You want to continue building a friendship with him or her so you shoot them a DM later that afternoon.

As the week progresses, you make a phone call to try and see what they have planned this weekend. No response.

A few days go by, you send a text message. You get a short response a few hours later. The following day, you send a meme over IG and they respond immediately.

What have you learned?

You need to meet on their side. Tailor your communication methods.

This is the case for business relationships and personal connections. Crystal Clear Communication (CCC), a term I’m taking from Melissa Ambrosini, means that in any relationship, you are straight forward, clear and succinct. No stone unturned. No vague replies. When you do this, you can meet on someone’s side.

I had a recent conversation with a friend on the phone. Usually, she is slow to respond via text messages. But, if I send a quick text to see if she is free for a call, she will usually be prompt to answer and we schedule an hour long phone call almost every time! I might not prefer a call, but that’s what SHE prefers.

In life, there is compromise. We sometimes must compromise our preferences to be better at serving others. The best situations are those when we can communicate evenly and collaborate. We can then know what works best for one another, set a plan and stick to it to succeed.

The best leaders are strong communicators. Take time to learn about someone’s preferred communication methods. Be observant! As you lead by example, hopefully, they will do the same for you! That’s ultimately what helps us collaborate, develop strong relationships and businesses.

What examples do you have of tailored communication? How do you introduce those to the people in your life or new networks?

Join the conversation here at strongsweetcaroline.com and thanks for reading or watching!

How do you protect your time?

Do you ever feel like time FLIES BY or TAKES FOREVER?

Perhaps you are doing something you LOVE! For me, that is baking or making healthy desserts. I can be in the kitchen making a few recipes and before I know it, I have been there for 2 hours. Oops!

Like this lemon poppyseed recipe I created took WAYYYY too long but it was fun 🙂 And it will be in my new dessert e-cookbook launching this next week!

Protect Your Time by Strong Sweet Caroline - Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

On the other end of the spectrum, I might be stuck working on a freelance article that I’m struggling to get the right feel and language. And that severe writers block is beating me… time is dragging and I need to pick it up. This essence of time is important for everyone and is my topic today. Watch this video or read below about protecting your time.

Time is a commodity. I think it is the MOST important commodity in a person’s life. Why? Many reasons. But if you think about time, we never really know how much time we have on this planet.

We can track and target time. But, it is often immeasurable.

We each can use time however we like. But, if we do not allot it appropriately, what happens? We lose it, people steal it, it gets wasted. Not just like having too much alcohol to drink and time slips by wasted…. like you can never ever get it back and have regret wasted!

Let’s prevent that. Over the past few years, this has been a priority for me. My time is valuable. And I recognize that in the lives of others I surround myself with. Whether it is for business, personal life or any goal, you need to protect your time.

I think there are three vital factors to protecting your time.

Three steps to protect your time

1 – Schedule in your priority time

We all have different priorities in life. I might like to bake and cook for 4 hours per week. Someone else might want to research engines and cars. You may also have a goal to start a new hobby, take a college class or start up a new business. Schedule windows in your day, week and month and prioritize those things. I’ve found that I am more likely to accomplish a large goal if I actually put it on my calendar and protect that time.

Think about the top one or two priorities that already, no matter what, you make sure to accomplish it. For me, one of those is going to the gym to train. I still compete in bodybuilding and it is a large part of my life. I protect that time and schedule it in after my day job to go push myself and enjoy it. Once it is scheduled, that block of time is set and nothing else can touch it.

Protect Your Time by Strong Sweet Caroline

 

2 – Identify distractions and disruptions

People, habits, natural tendencies, social media, and electronics are just a few examples of distractions. Have you ever spent 10-20 minutes just scrolling on Instagram or Pinterest? What could you be doing if you protected that valuable time?

In my life, I had a Pinterest obsession at one point… particularly looking at recipes. Ooops! What did that help me accomplish? Typically nothing. Maybe a few new pins of recipes for later but not really helpful now. It’s similar to going to the grocery store without a shopping list. Unless you schedule it in as a priority, DON’T DO IT!

3 – Share your priorities

Do the people closest to you know your priorities? Maybe you want to start a side business or create a new hobby. Start scheduling it in, get the distractions out of the way and share with others what you are working at! They can help you stay focused and keep priorities in check. This is a sacred moment for you. EMBRACE IT!

These are the three that have worked for me. Scheduling in your priorities, identifying distractions and sharing the priorities are key to success! What’s been valuable for you?

Interested to learn more? Comment below! I’m starting a new e-newsletter and creating a free guide for time management and would LOVE for you to join!

6 young adult realizations you need to know

Wow, where does time go? I’m 26 now? Nope, not old. Only getting more youthful. The only aging I want is wisdom and experience. I’ve gone from the past few years after college graduation and thinking I know EXACTLY what I need to do, when I need to do it and why I need to do it. Last year, I made some big changes. I chose to leave the agriculture industry, move from Ohio to Atlanta, and pursue something complete new.

This year alone, I have learned a ton. Life, love, business. Friendships have come and gone; so has my sanity at times. Sleep lost, gains made. Anxiety took hold and then I found peace of mind.

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know

My birthday wish was simple: spend time simple time with my boyfriend and that he cook us dinner. I had a lifestyle photoshoot, ate some delicious burritos (pictured above), went grocery shopping, did some reading and writing, made a protein carrot cake dessert and enjoyed a patio dining experience with Greek lamb, rice and veggies.

It tasted just as good as it looked! I was feeling a little tired and decided instead of trying out a brand new carrot cake recipe, I’d use resources at hand. Thankfully I bought Bake to Be Fit Healthy Brownie Cookbook a while back and tried her recipe. Placed in the fridge and it tasted divine!

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

After a filling dinner and some wine, I completed my reflection. It’s been hard to fall asleep lately. Many thoughts run through my head as I wind down. This year, I had some large takeaways. These six realizations are important, no matter your age. But as a young adult, I think they are vital to understand and incorporate into your life.

 

Strong Sweet Caroline’s 6 young adult realizations you need to know

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • You can only control your response. The first reaction is what matters most for you and others involved. Control how you react. Keep emotions in check and then ACT. Too many times this year, I hesitated. I let the cause affect my outcome. It affected me severely with anxiety, depression and hopeless thoughts. Business was lost from it. Friendships were hurt. No more of that. Keep in mind, it is not all about you when you respond. It can affect so many others, whether you realize it at the time or not. This method of self control will help you personally and professionally. It comes with heightened maturity. And it will bring more peace of mind. Make a choice and stick to it.

    6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Be a woman and man up. David has taught me more than anyone to not be timid in my thoughts and actions. “MAN UP” as some might say. If you think about the business world, it is dog eat dog. And the more hungry the dog, the faster they are to fill their food bowl. At the end of the day, I am the only one responsible for my results. And if I do not stand up for myself, why would anyone else, even if they do love me? Whether man or woman, it is up to you to do your due diligence for yourself. Have courage and believe that every step and action you take is leading to your results.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • Even when you feel like you are working, work harder. The grind as an entrepreneur is severely underrated. I definitely have not worked as hard as I could be. Part of that is because my focus has not been there. I was not accountable to myself and my dreams. It’s not about the number of hours, but the amount of concentrated WORK put into whatever I’m trying to accomplish. It will not be easy. And life balance is hard to come by. But it can be created. Stay organized and diligent. Sometimes, you end up taking a step backward to take two forward. As long as those steps you are putting your greatest efforts in place, it will yield results.

    6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Priorities will shift. For me this past year, it went like this: first it was personal freedom – second was financial stability – third was business/career success – and most recently it’s been relationships. I’ve realized that in life, you have career, relationships and self care. At one time, you can pretty much only master two of those. This year, I had a big shift between career and relationships. I quit a career for a relationship. I then started up a career again to focus on the relationship. The cycle continues as I look to better balance. My health has stayed steady most of the year. The priorities change with seasons of life. Don’t get too caught up in one over another or they all could suffer.

6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline

  • Never stop learning. This has always been important for me and was reiterated this year. Not having a mentor after leaving Syngenta has been tough. I’m working through it each day. Podcasts, reading books, scanning online articles and exerting myself daily. I’m also trying to build new friendships. It’s a never-ending system. I realized I am not involved in the community yet. And I won’t be exposed to the amazing people in Atlanta until I step foot into it! I can learn on my own, but I love learning with and through others. As long as you never stop learning, you can stay young in heart and mind.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
  • Be grateful for everything. Every hard point, every positive experience, be humble and grateful. God has given me so much to love and be blessed. I should never take it for granted. Sure, it can always be better. But I will continue to be grateful for the simple, little things too.6 Young Adult Realizations You Need to Know by Strong Sweet Caroline
At the end of the day, if we can lay down our heads and know we are doing our best, that’s all that matters. And learn from the rest. Take these six and implement them. May they help you be strong and live a sweet life!