Relationship Check In part two
[Relationship Check In part two of three]
Now you have the basic structure for the relationship check in from my last blog post I would like to share with you a few little tweaks and additions.
First time doing this…
It makes sense for you and whoever you do your check ins with (life partner, best friend, colleague, business partner, sibling etc.) to set longer term goals ahead of your first relationship check in. It is up to you to define what longer term means to you (personally I think of longer term as up to ten years, though for you this might be an entirely different timeframe). It is best to set up to three long term goals. Then in your first relationship check in you share your longer term goals with your check in partner and then you have a basis upon which to base your weekly goals. It doesn’t have to be the case that every week your weekly goals are working towards your longer term plans, however, I would suggest that at least one of your weekly goals is aligned with your longer term vision that you are creating for yourself.
It is rare for myself or Stuart to fully achieve each of the three goals we set every single week, sometimes it happens and we celebrate and other times we might achieve two and have let one slide or only be partially achieved. In the case when a goal hasn’t been achieved here is how we help each other.
Example from our relationship check – “I didn’t write the two chapters of my motherhood book this week.”
Stuart: “What stopped you?”
Katie: “I got caught up in family stuff, not being at home, being at the farm etc.”
So Stuart could have simply accepted that and I could simply recommit to that same goal for next week but instead we have a bit of a coaching conversation. Here are some examples of the questions he asked me which helped me unlock what was getting in the way.
Stuart: Ok, what do you mean by that? What do you think is behind that etc.? What blocked you? What could you put in place to make sure that….?
From him asking these questions I came to the realisation that in this last week I had lost my ‘flow’. I had been experiencing a state of flow these last few months whereby in the 15 mins every morning I take to write, I would write about two pages stream of consciousness that would fly through my fingertips without me stopping to think or edit and then bam… content for my book.
Since coming to the UK to be with family and being away from our other home, when I sit down to take those 15 minutes (if indeed I do take them) then my head seems full of other things and I get caught up or distracted by other tasks which I deem more important.
Stuart asked deeper coaching questions to get to the essence of what was really going on for me. As a result, I realised the importance of me keeping true to the structure of my morning routine. This week I had also been lapsing on my meditation practice which I usually always do before I write, and is critical for me in terms of my happiness, groundedness and my connection to flow. My dear friend Shannon, who is a writer, suggested that I give myself writing prompts as I am journaling to help me reconnect with that flow. This week I have now started my journaling with these prompts.
Having a conversation about what stopped me from achieving my goal has helped me to put in place some things that will enable me to achieve it the following week.
Sometimes that is all it takes – a bit of a coaching conversation. Another question I love is “How can I support you to achieve this goal?” You give your partner some tips on how they can help you and voila you are more supported and back on track to make stuff happen.
A couple of months ago, we introduced the concept of having joined goals e.g. Get Ayla a passport or build a new chill out area in the garden. We would set the goal together and then assign tasks to each other within that goal to make sure we made it happen.
Have them visible!
In our living room we have a whiteboard we’ve divided into: Stuart’s goals, Katie’s goals and Joined Goals. We update them every week and those times we have forgotten to write the new goals on the whiteboard… guess what? Less goals get achieved!
We also update our top three goals in a shared ‘Notes’ page for ‘Relationship Check Ins’ on our phones. Stuart takes it one step further and puts them in his online calendar.
Visibility is KEY otherwise you simply forget what you are committed to.
Check in regularly
Friday lunchtime when both kids are having a nap is when we check in. Obviously there are times when Ayla is awake and joins us for our check ins and that’s fine as she is only 6 months old and doesn’t have too much to contribute to the conversation at this point. It would, however, be impossible to do with our two year old Remmy there because the quality of attention that you give your partner here is fundamental to the process working.
OK, I realise I still have more to say on this matter so I will share two more top tips in my next and final post on this topic!