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.

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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! 

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!

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!

Why you should give yourself a cheat meal

It’s been months of sweating, grinding, working and slaving away. The gym has become your fortress. The kitchen is the place for meal prepping. And all you really want is a big slice of pizza.

Why you should have a cheat meal - by Strong Sweet Caroline

That’s a normal face David makes. And if I had to pick, I’d pick him over the pizza as the prettier of the two 😀

No more chicken and rice or beef and potatoes. Rice cakes can stay in the cupboard for an evening. Let’s plan to indulge a bit and bump up the calories.

If you have a personal trainer or coach, your meal plan is probably pretty rigid. Sometimes, that is the best way to start a routine! I actually enjoy structure because it holds me accountable and takes the thinking out of eating and cooking. I do more of that for my own clients and boyfriend than for myself. 🙂

With added stress during the week, mentally and physically, how do you determine if you NEED a cheat meal? A downright dirty, greasy, salivating entree?

  • Listen to your BODY. I cannot preach enough that the sooner you can learn your body, how it feels on a daily basis, what effects it positively and negatively, and what it needs, the sooner you will be able to optimize your health. I know certain locations on my body that become tight from daily stress, specific foods that will cause me to bloat and ones that won’t. The more keen you are on learning your body, the happier you will be.
  • Coach told you so. Competing in bodybuilding competitions has given me a new appreciation for feedback. When someone else is accountable to witness and inspect your progress, they often notice things you would never see with your own eyes. We interpret our bodies different than others. Sometimes we judge ourselves too hard. Other times, we don’t see the real picture enough. With build up of cortisol, it can impact the body tremendously. Incorporating a cheat meal can actually help your body’s chemical balance, when done appropriately and within means of your long-term health. Binge eating on the weekend is not appropriate, as I’ve said before. Just need to be careful. We get one body. Let’s care for it.
  • Reason to get out and do something new. I admit, I like to stay at home, spend time alone and work. But, sometimes to get re-energized and motivated, you need to get out of your element, find a new environment and enjoy life in a new form. David and I decided to explore around the Little 5 Points area and to our delight, we tried Savage Pizza. Oddly enough, neither of us had eaten there before. WE WERE MISSING SOMETHING INCREDIBLE! Not only was the food delicious, but the superhero themed restaurant did not disappoint with its eclectic surrounding.

We decided to go all out with some breadsticks, Greek salad and a large Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza with extra chicken of course!

Who wouldn’t see gains from that? The bathroom was pretty neat by the way. Covers of superheros!

Before full out food coma set in, we walked around the town, enjoyed some live music and night life.

Why you should have a cheat meal - by Strong Sweet Caroline

What is your favorite cheat meal? How do you strategically incorporate it into your lifestyle? It works well either right after a heavy workout or the day before a heavy workout. Then, it’s on to meal prepping for the new week!

I am launching a new Meal Prep 30 Challenge! Want to join? Sign up through this link by June 29th and more information will follow. You don’t want to miss out on some great prizes and even better learning opportunities!

Meal Prep 30 Challenge with Strong Sweet Caroline

FOMO or FOBP? Your call.

Last weekend, David and I traveled to North Georgia and the border of Tennessee. We had a friends trip to go white water rafting for the first time! We were so excited to go! Since I was young, I wanted to try it at least once. It would be an adventure to say the least! I’m willing to try anything [within reason] once.

We left Atlanta to drive north. After the two-hour car ride, we dropped cell service here and there and it reminded me of several trips I’ve made before. I have driven through Southeastern Ohio, North Central Nebraska or northern Missouri and been lost and separated from cell service. Those times, I was often alone.

That’s challenging. But when you have someone with you to go through the navigation together, it makes it easier and more fun. You can share road trip stories, belt out sing along sessions to your favorite 90s songs and enjoy mid-drive snacks or prepped meals. We found a playlist on Spotify that was more of “driving music” and allowed us to have a deeper conversation about relationships, friendships, love and life.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

Driving on the curvy roads prepared us more for the white water rapids we would face the next day. We did not have any friends go white-water rafting recently. But, it was even more important to me to be present for this experience.

There are so many distractions in life. A lot of our friends had either events or bodybuilding competitions the weekend while we were gone. Both David and I are in an off season from competing and having some FOMO.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out” is a large problem for our age group today. I believe it to be the biggest downfall with social media. It can easily cause envy, jealousy, desire and craving for attention, instantaneous reaction and response. More critically, it takes away from being present.

I have suffered it. I think I leads to a new category: FOBP. This I call “Fear of Being Present”. For some, they do not necessarily fear missing out. Instead, they have a fear of being present. They do not want to face a situation, want to live in a “fantasy world” in their phones and “escape reality”.

I’ve noticed the more my social media platforms grow, the more I get sucked in to this tunnel. It has taken some self analysis and witnessing it in others. I now acknowledge it head on; I am addressing my weakness with FOMO and FOBP.

Therefore, for the day trip, I disconnected from my cell phone. It was self-induced once we reached the cabin. Cell service was spotty, I wanted to enjoy the moments and cook our last meal for the evening and make the most of our time in nature of the Georgia mountain ranges. So that is what I did. Others may have checked their phones on occasion that evening. The next day, we all left our phones in the car until after the rafting trip.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP

This forced us to be present. FOBP was pushed aside. This was about enjoying the experience. We could share it later. Storytelling is the oldest form of communication. I do not have video footage or photos of the greenery, the steep and staggering geography along the riverbeds, the sparkling blue waters in the calm parts of the waters. These are all in my mind. But that is what makes it more fun to reminisce and think back to the experience!

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

Our guide JP was an eclectic, knowledgeable rafter. He has been working there for five years and his knowledge shown through as we successfully made our way down the river to his commands.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

“Two forward!” “At ease!” “Left side, three forward!” “Everyone down!!!”

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

I almost fell out of the boat two times. But, those twists and turns on the quick white waters gave me the adrenaline I’ve been missing! It was a bonding experience to work as a team, rowing on command and taking control (as much as we could) of the raft along the natural and man-made Ochoee River.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice. White Water Rafting

Four hours later, we returned, everyone intact and with slight sunburns. We also found out there were cameras around the river capturing moments from the trip.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice.

We dried off, ate and made our way back to Atlanta. I pulled out my phone and was reluctant to review all the notifications. It was nice not having the noise and clutter.

Detachment from our devices is hard. Let’s be real: we live on them. And it sucks sometimes. That’s why taking a little separation can be good. It does not necessarily have to be for half a day. It could just be one hour each day you dedicate to not checking your phone, setting it on “Do Not Disturb” and focusing on work, family or friends. Let’s shift away from the “Fear of Being Present” and move into being present, not missing out on the moments and memories that life is really about… the ones not seen in a screen.

What will you choose? I think I will dive more into this topic, because it is not just relevant for me, but for many others in my life.

Strong Sweet Caroline - FOMO or FOBP? Your choice.