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Episode 106 - How to Make Relationship Goals for the New Year

Episode 106 - How to Make Relationship Goals for the New Year Image

01/18/2019 10:21 am

Every year, millions of people make New Year's "Resolutions." Often they center around making more money, losing weight, or going on more trips. What you don't hear about that often, however, is people making "Relationship" Resolutions. Relationship goals can make an enormous difference in your life, more than most people realize. In this show, Leh and Todd apply the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting system to a relationship goal and talk about what that might look like to set you up for success.


Leh Meriwether:             Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriweather and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp radio on the New Talk 106.7. Here you learn about divorce family law, tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis, and even from time to time, tips on how to take your marriage to the next level. If you want to learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online at It's that time of the year, Todd.

Todd Orston:                   I've got to be very scared or I mean ... tax time ...

Leh Meriwether:             New year's resolutions.

Todd Orston:                   The new year, by the way happy new year.

Leh Meriwether:             Happy New Year.

Todd Orston:                   Yes, new year's resolutions, I try to break them every single year. I've gotten pretty good at that actually.

Leh Meriwether:             [crosstalk 00:01:01] at breaking your new year's resolutions?

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely, I don't think I've missed a year.

Leh Meriwether:             That's about to change.

Todd Orston:                   My wife will be very happy.

Leh Meriwether:             Good, we're gonna talk about that today.

Todd Orston:                   All right.

Leh Meriwether:             What are your new year's resolutions?

Todd Orston:                   Chocolate chip cookies.

Leh Meriwether:             Chocolate chip cookies?

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             What are you gonna, make some?

Todd Orston:                   I'm gonna eat more.

Leh Meriwether:             You're gonna eat more?

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely, absolutely. You know how good they are? I mean, and you know what, in the past I've tried to set more serious ones and I've fallen a little bit short and this is one that I am confident I'm going to succeed.

Leh Meriwether:             You're going to succeed.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, if my wife doesn't stop me.

Leh Meriwether:             So the question is this, is that with knowing that you're married to the woman you are, is that goal realistic?

Todd Orston:                   No, she will definitely stop me from eating more chocolate chip cookies, and well she should. I don't need her to wheelbarrow me from room to room so I guess I'll have to come up with something ... I'm glad we brought this up and talked about it because I can see it's probably not the best resolution for me to come up with.

Leh Meriwether:             But what we did want to talk about today is resolutions. We want to talk about how they typically fail and we want to talk about them in the context of how to do resolutions when it comes to your relationship with your significant other and whether your marriage is just drifting, nothing's really happening, but you're drifting apart, whether your marriage is in crisis, maybe on the verge of a divorce or you're already in that divorce process. There are things you can do now that can help set your life in the right course of for the future, but all too often, like you said, people, they make resolutions but they fail and in fact, it's my understanding that gyms set up their membership ... they oversell their membership every year because statistically by the end of January, over half the people aren't showing up anyways.

Todd Orston:                   The funny thing is this afternoon I'm meeting my wife at a gym, I swear to you, and I'm going to ask for the I'm not going to show up membership. I'm going to see what that rate is. I joke about it, we joke about it, we don't want people to set resolutions that fail. I joke about cookies or these types of things, but the bottom line is that we all can improve and there are always things that we recognize are things that need improvement. You were correct in what you said, a lot of times if not most of the time people make these new year's resolutions and they fail; I'm going to lose weight, I'm going to exercise more, I'm going to be a better person, they just throw them out there and there's no plan behind it and that's why it fails. It's not because you don't want to lose weight or gain weight or eat less or eat more or whatever the case may be, it's that usually you haven't put a plan together in order to be successful.

Leh Meriwether:             This show, we wanted to talk about applying the smart or smarter system to relationship goals, which is often hard to do, but we're just going to brainstorm some stuff. We're going to pick some topics or some potential goals that we know people have ... We've heard them say, we may have said them, and we're going to talk about how to make them specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time bound, exciting and relevant for smarter. Many of you may have heard of the smart system and people tend to think of that when it comes to goals like I'm going to lose weight or something, and a lot of times people don't apply that same system to relationships. We see that it's easy to lose sight of it because we get busy with life but when you pull back, if you're in a marriage and your marriage breaks down, most of the time, you're automatically losing 50% of your assets.

                                         I'm not trying to make it so vanilla, but not vanilla, what's the word? [crosstalk 00:05:28]. I mean, it's a relationship I'm not trying to take the destruction of that relationship but I'm talking about like from a financial-

Todd Orston:                   You're jumping straight into the fact that you're in the middle of a divorce and you have to deal with division of property, it is what it is.

Leh Meriwether:             So there's a financial, people will say, well I want to make more money or something like that, but they don't look at the other side, well, if I focused on my marriage now, may I make more money, but I definitely won't lose a lot of money.

Todd Orston:                   You know, I'm going to also hit it from a ... come at it from a different angle. Like I said before, everybody can improve, Lord knows I can improve. Okay, and if my wife is listening, she probably is like, I need that recorded, I'm gonna play that for Todd every day.

Leh Meriwether:             I'll help her with that. Everyone can improve and the problem is, and we've seen this, we've seen many relationships fail and they come to us and they have to get a divorce and sometimes it's inevitable. It's the right thing, they just weren't meant for each other, they have tried, they really put forth the effort.

Leh Meriwether:             They have abusive relationships.

Todd Orston:                   That's right. But there are a lot where people just forgot how to communicate, where there are breakdowns that if both parties can step back and really think about how they can improve themselves and improve how they engage with their significant other, maybe it can be avoided.

Leh Meriwether:             And I'm glad you said communication because we had a review [crosstalk 00:07:00].

Todd Orston:                   I won a prize? I feel like-

Leh Meriwether:             Yes, you did.

Todd Orston:                   All right.

Leh Meriwether:             I don't know what it is yet, but you won a prize. We got a review recently, a few weeks ago, and I want to read it because to me this was sort of when we got this review, we were amazed by it. I mean we're happy, it was part of what we planned, but I want to read it because this person made a decision, started take action on the decision and actually lead to a different conclusion than he expected. Here's the preview, thanks guys, it's funny that this is called divorce team radio, your source for divorce and family law matters, which is very accurate as they are very professional and I have truly enjoyed listening. I started listening to them because I had started the divorce process, but this podcast has saved my marriage with an episode about communication.

                                         I've gotten what I thought was my soon to be ex-wife to listen to it, it has changed everything for the better. These are two lawyers with a loving soul, they deserve your subscription and thanks again. So, woo, that's an awesome review.

Todd Orston:                   I was about to make a joke, but that was one of those that jokes aside, was very touching because we have chosen with this show to not just talk about divorce, to talk about ways to even avoid divorce and it is nice to hear that it's resonating with some people. We will continue to try sort of like this show where again, maybe it can't be fixed, what has broken maybe unfixable but maybe not, but it's gonna take work in order to fix what's broken. You can't simply say, I'm going to try and fix this and then be surprised when you fail. The analogy I would use is if you take two football teams and one prepares and practices and the other team shows up, you pretty much know who's going to win, because work has been put in, because effort has been made to be successful. If you don't do something to be successful, you're not going to be successful and this show partly is intended to give you some tools in order to be successful.

Leh Meriwether:             We're going to take some different examples of where we see in relationships, whether it's your marriage is at a point where it's you feel like it's not growing, it's stagnant, maybe you're drifting apart. We'll talk about divorce, how this might apply to a divorce situation, and when I say smarter goals, it's more of like how to get through this divorce in a way that's amicable and doesn't, especially if there's kids involved, doesn't really ... you minimize the amount it impacts the kids. Then we're going to talk about how might you have co parenting goals, maybe you are already divorced, but you had a rough year with your other parent, the other parent for your children, and you don't want this to continue for your sake and for the sake of your children.

                                         So we're just going to pick some things and we're going to apply, we're going to break down, we're going to kind of do it live and we're gonna talk about it. It's not something that you can just automatically say, “Oh, here's my layout. Your whole smarter goal.” It is something that you have to think through and so that's what we want to do. Todd and I are going to actually walk through some. We're going to pick some examples and we're going to think through them. How can you make them more specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time bound, exciting and relevant so that you don't find yourself drifting. Whether it's drifting through your divorce that causes the divorce to take years or maybe makes the divorce ugly or have another year of arguments with your co-parent that are not productive. Or maybe you just want to ... You want your marriage to go back to the way it was when you first got married. That's what we're going to get into up next.

                                         Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriweather and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp radio on the New Talk 106.7. If you want to learn more about us, you can always check us out online at Today we're talking about New Year's resolutions, why they fail, and how to set them when it comes to relationships and we're gonna brainstorm. We talked about the why, why would you want to do this, why would you want to apply it to your relationships in the last segment, but now going to get into picking some things and just applying the smarter system to it and to give you ideas on how to work towards whether it's improving your marriage, working through your divorce, or becoming a better co-parent. So let's start with getting your finances in order.

Todd Orston:                   Done. There you go.

Leh Meriwether:             That's all you need.

Todd Orston:                   What more do you need? Get your finances in order.

Leh Meriwether:             And I'm sure that's going to fail.

Todd Orston:                   End of show.

Leh Meriwether:             It's an important goal because-

Todd Orston:                   incredibly important because we see that in so many cases where a huge issue in the relationship is the finances, and it creates a lack of trust, it just creates all these problems that go beyond just the amount of money you have in the bank. Therefore, if you can get your financial life in order, and that doesn't mean it doesn't happen until all your debt is paid off or whatever, but once you can get your financial life in order, it hopefully will alleviate some of the stress in your relationship.

Leh Meriwether:             And maybe the other person's made the choice already and you're getting a divorce, you still need to get your finances in order because now all of a sudden your expenses are going to be doubling almost because you're gonna have two separate households and you've got to have your finances in order. But that goal is not specific, it definitely fails the smarter system. How would you make that goals, like how would you apply this to the ... did you get that?

Todd Orston:                   I wouldn't do it that way.

Leh Meriwether:             How would you apply the smarter system to that? I guess start off with specific, that's not specific enough and you may have to have a series of homes. Maybe the first thing is, the specific thing is I will have a monthly budget every month. So the first of every month I will write down my budget for the next month and I will review the previous budget, did I meet the last budget. So that's ... it's specific.

Todd Orston:                   And it's also achievable. I know I'm jumping around, but it's an achievable goal. There was-

Leh Meriwether:             Realistic.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, there was recently, and we had talked about this earlier, there was recently, I think he's an admiral who talked about and wrote about how or why rather it's important for people in the military just to make their bed in the morning. Something so simple can be so important and have such a lasting impact. It's because you've accomplished something and you've done it well every single day, it's how you start your day. If you sort of pull that into what we're talking about, the translation to me is start small and build upon it. Just promising yourself and acting on it, having almost like a budget meeting, having a budget prepared.

                                         It's gonna take some work, but it is definitely achievable. Just means you have to sit down and really understand what your bills look like and the payments that are going out and the income that you're getting in and boom, you have a budget and that is a great stepping stone to the bigger and more complicated things.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, so start there specific, measurable, you want to be able to measure it. Well if you do 12 budgets and just keep it every month, have a budget for the month, you know you've achieved that goal by the end of the year because you could measure it, I wrote down 12 budgets for the 12 months of the year. It's actionable because you're saying I will ... When you say actionable, I mean you want to have an action verb, I will prepare a budget and review the previous budget every month, it's actionable. Realistic, like you said, it's realistic and it's something everyone can do. It's time bound, you've set a specific deadline, so every month I'm going to do this and you can get even more specific and say I'm going to do it on the first of every month or the first weekend of every month.

                                         If you're still married, I will sit down with my husband, wife and we will work on a budget together. Michael Hyatt actually has expounded on the smart system and his course make the goal smarter. So he includes something exciting because you want to make your goal personally compelling. From that perspective, you may say, well, the reason we want to get a tight on our finances, let's say from a marriage perspective, while we want to go on a vacation and we want to go on vacation and pay cash and not have the vacation follow us home with debt.

                                         So you come up with a budget so you can set money aside so in July you can go to Europe or Australia or Hawaii or wherever it may be or Gosh, soon it's going to be the moon. You have to save up a lot of money for that, it's a million bucks. In fact, one may not be realistic for many people. But the point is that make it exciting, create something that's you know you're shooting for to make it exciting and personally compelling to you and then relevant, you need to make sure that the goal is relevant to what you're doing. A good example is ... when I say relevant, I should say, is relevant to your season of life, you may not want to have a goal, I'm going to start a new business when you're in the middle of the divorce. It may not be such a good idea.

Todd Orston:                   And it does happen sometimes.

Leh Meriwether:             It does.

Todd Orston:                   And oftentimes it does create a lot of stress. Sometimes you can't avoid it, there's an opportunity and, and one party or the other is like I'm moving forward with it. I understand it can create some problems regarding division of property and alimony and child support and other things, but I can't forgo this opportunity. I get it. But ideally, it's probably not the best time to move forward with an endeavor like that.

Leh Meriwether:             With that season of your life.

Todd Orston:                   So yeah, and look again, like you said before, just understanding your own finances, whether you're going through a case or not is important. But we see a lot of times where the finances become an issue because let's say there's distrust, one Party controls the finances. Isn't controlling meaning they're not purposefully pushing that other party out of decision making and things and budgetary conversation, but that's how the other party feels. It could be instead of or in addition to just setting a budget, have a meeting or two meetings or however many you need with your spouse, talk about those things, plan on having conversations with your significant other to talk about the money in the accounts, the retirement, the you name it, basically turnover or give to them as long as you're comfortable with it, give them access to all the accounts, show them, have a meeting, a planning meeting where you can show them, this is how you access this bank account, this is how you access this retirement account, what information do you need?

Leh Meriwether:             You make a good point because that's actually important too, because if something happens to you, you've left your spouse out in the cold. I mean they don't have any access to you in any of the accounts, they don't know where any of them are so this is a good idea, not just from a marriage standpoint but from an estate planning standpoint as well.

Todd Orston:                   Practically speaking, both of you should have all the information.

Leh Meriwether:             I think that's part of a healthy marriage.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely. Now, are there relationships where one party controls, when I say control, is responsible for the finances and the financial management of the home? Absolutely, and sometimes a lot of times the other party is like, I'm good with that. Just make sure the lights stay on, there's food on the table and we maybe can go on a trip every once in a while. That's fine, that may be good for you but a lot of times there is this built up frustration that the other party doesn't know what's going on and this is one way or we're talking about a way that you can hopefully alleviate some of that stress.

Leh Meriwether:             We'll leave it at this last point following up on what you just said, the relationship may have started with the wife saying, just use this as an example, the wife saying to the husband, “Look, I'm going to let you take care of the finances.” And it starts off that way so he starts acting on it and he keeps acting on it, but something happens to the relationship and now all of a sudden there's distrust, but for whatever reason she doesn't bring it up to him. She just feels like now he's controlling and he's just acting as he thought he always should act or they had agreed to, had no idea there was a problem.

                                         So when you decide to again, the loose goal, the big broad thing or resolution, get your finances in order, that can benefit your relationship. You open up the door so that both of you are on the same page when you're still in the marriage and then apply this smarter system to that so you actually follow through with that resolution.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, and remember we're not saying you set one goal, one goal can lead to 20 more goals. The first goal can be setting the budget, but then a secondary goal could be monthly meetings with your significant other. It could be saving, you know, I'm going to save this much money or I'm going to reduce our debt by X amount or X%.

Leh Meriwether:             By.

Todd Orston:                   And then by a date, specific. One goal, making that bed, can lead to so many more accomplishments down the road.

Leh Meriwether:             Very specific smart goals. Up next we're going to keep getting into more of these examples, breakdown something like how to be a good co parent, how can we apply the smarter goal setting system to something really broad like that? Todd and I are going to brainstorm over that next.

                                         Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriweather and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp radio on the New Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at Well, today we're getting into new year's resolutions. How do you make them stick, how do you make them last all year by applying the smarter system, but we're specifically talking about how do you apply the smarter goal setting system to relationships, because that's what we deal with. We deal with relationships, we try to ... And the first time we read a review from someone that they started listening to the show thinking they were getting a divorce and happened on our show about communication and it wound up saving their marriage. Talk about something, that's something I can be definitely be proud of about this show that was able to do that.

                                         But it gave us the idea that let's talk about relationships and how you can create smart goals in relationships that can either ensure that you don't get or help ensure you don't get a divorce, or if you did get divorced, how can you be a better co-parent, how can we work on that? That was what we left with, how to be a good co-parent.

Todd Orston:                   As we said in the last segment, finances can create a lot of stress. Parenting and more importantly, co-parenting, there a lot of opportunity for stress between parents. In a healthy relationship between a mother and a father there is a lot of stress raising kids. We love our children. I adore my kids, they create stress in the home, okay, just because we're dealing with the normal stuff, but sometimes it goes beyond that. Sometimes just the basic stresses of raising a child, everything else starts to build up and those little issues or the moderate issues of dealing with child related stuff, it just blows up into something that doesn't need to be. Why? Because he lost track of how to co-parent. Then on top of that, if you plug that in the context of a divorce or post divorce, co-parenting is a challenge. It is an exercise you need to practice regularly because it's very easy to fall back on that old behavior of frustration and anger and whatever.

Leh Meriwether:             And letting it go right in front of the kids.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely. So, co-parenting, I mean hopefully if there's any takeaway here in terms of all the topics we're talking about, the co-parenting for the sake of yourself, the sake of your children, it's important to try and apply this process, this philosophy to your co-parenting efforts.

Leh Meriwether:             The big broad resolution as I want to be a better co-parent in 2019.

Todd Orston:                   Done, there we go.

Leh Meriwether:             That's all it is.

Todd Orston:                   This is an easy show. This show could have been like three minutes long, I'll be honest with you.

Leh Meriwether:             Let's make that broad stroked very general resolution, let's make it smarter. So let's start with specific, how do I make I want to be a good co parents specific, in 2019 I want to ... I'm just thinking out loud we didn't write anything down so, just to give me an idea how you think through these things too, maybe something like I'm going to read at least one book a quarter on being a better co-parent. Maybe you start there because maybe you're not really sure how to make it more specific so you say, you know what, I'm going to read one book about co-parenting and I want to do it by, so you gotta make it measurable and actionable. Those two things are actionable and measurable.

                                         Realistic, you can definitely read a book in a month, so say I'm going to have this read by January and then February 1st, I'm going to sit down and I'm going to come up with some new goals, new spark goals after I've gotten some more information on how to do that.

Todd Orston:                   Again, it's not just one goal. Your first goal could be pick a book. Very simple, you've made the bed now. Now that you've made the bed, you can accomplish bigger and better goals. You've chosen the book. Now it needs to be red, needs to be finished and basically digested, meaning you just mentally need to digest that information by date specific. Then the next goal could be start to implement some of the things that I've learned. If for some reason you haven't learned anything from it, I mean there are some great books out there, some fantastic books on parenting, there are some not so good ones.

Leh Meriwether:             We've had two co-parenting specialists, or three actually, come on the show. Diane Dierks came on, she has a book called Co-Parenting Tool Box. You can go to her website, to get that, I know that's a good one. The other one is Co-Parenting Works by Tammy and J. Daughtry, Daltrey, God I've messed up their last name, they're going to kick my butt's.

Todd Orston:                   At least it's only on air so it's fine.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, I wish I had a better grasp on theirs. We've interviewed both of them so you can go back to past episodes of that to get that information. So if you're there, that's making it actionable and you're making it time bound, I'm going to read it by the end of January.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, and then you can start to implement what you've learned so you can create new goals, smart or smarter goals based on that and you could have multiple. I mean at that point you could have multiple that are all achievable. I'm going to stay calm when communicating with my spouse or significant other or whatever. How do you measure that? Well, you know you're gonna have communications. When you have communications, you're not going to yell, you're not going to raise your voice, you're not going to use profane language, you're going to stay calm and focus on what you need to focus on.

Leh Meriwether:             And I'm glad you said that like with the conversation with your spouse and because you were talking about the person making the goal, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this. Make sure your goal is realistic because if you make the goal, I'm going to make us have a better co-parenting relationship. You can't make the other side do anything so be realistic. You can't control the other side, you can control you, you can control how you handle that end of the relationship at a lot of times what we see is once you get a control over yourself, the other side, unless there's a personality disorder, the other side usually goes, I haven't been acting the best. Like they see that you've treated them nicely when they maybe didn't deserve it.

Todd Orston:                   And that may take time because there's a ... especially in the context of a divorce, or in a situation where if you're not married but you are at odds with the other parent. There's a trust issue and trust has to be earned so you may not be able to communicate well at first, you may read all the books you want, but until you start to implement that new behavior, staying calm, not using bad language, not allowing the other side to tweak you in such a way that you then lose your cool and everything devolves and then all bets are off, at that point you're just not communicating at all. Staying calm, set for yourself those small goals, that might open up other goals like get my former spouse or the other parent, get them to read a book, try and convince them to read a book. You may not be able to accomplish that, but you might be able to at least make the effort.

Leh Meriwether:             Or suggest it.

Todd Orston:                   Or suggest it. So you can say, “Hey, I've read this book or these books, I really want this to be better, we've got a bunch of years left in terms of co-parenting, I'd love to buy you a copy. I've already read it and almost like a book club and then I'd love to meet with you and to show-"

Leh Meriwether:             Can I buy you a copy.

Todd Orston:                   That's right, can I buy you a copy of that book? It is the proverbial olive branch, that might be your goal. Now if they say, no, don't buy me anything, you may have still accomplished your goal. If your goal was to have that conversation and to offer to buy them a copy of the book and if they are accepting to buy them that book, then you've accomplished your goal. It didn't work out, meaning it wasn't able to move them to be a better co-parent, but you at least accomplished something.

Leh Meriwether:             But you may have become a better co-parent.

Todd Orston:                   That's right, absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             Another thing might be, I'm going to figure out a better way to communicate with my co-parent because they keep accusing me of not sharing information with them. So I may say, “All right, well I'm going to research by February the end of February, February 28th, I will have researched the top five co-parenting websites out there and I will choose one and offer to the other side.” Say, “Hey look, I've reviewed these five, these two look really good. Can we set this up so we communicate through this and you keep saying that I'm not giving you information about the kids' extracurriculars when you can't make it or whatever it is. Do you mind if I put all ... we can,” What is it, there's a bunch out there.

Todd Orston:                   Do you mean like my family wizard kind of stuff?

Leh Meriwether:             My family wizard, that's a good example. I could put everything up there and that way you get notice of it and if you lose the email you can just go back to our family wizard, log in and see what the information was.

Todd Orston:                   You may even be willing to cover the cost. You might even say, look, I'll do this, I'll pay the first six months for both of us, or I'll pay the first year for both of us because if you step back, you might say, you know what? I know I'm already paying child support, I know I'm already doing X and Y and Z, but you know what, this is well worth it because if this gets us back on track and better able to communicate as co-parents, it is worth the investment.

Leh Meriwether:             Up next, we'll get into some more of these, we'll talk about maybe how to take care of yourself. Like you've just come through the divorce, how am I going to get through this so that I'm healthy for my children? We're also going to talk about the smarter goals that we have for this show. Are you ready Todd?

Todd Orston:                   I'm always ready.

Leh Meriwether:             We'll get into that up next. Todd, while we're on a break. Let's take a moment to speak just with our podcast listeners.

Todd Orston:                   Great idea Leh. First, thank you for listening. If you're a client of ours, thank you for taking the time to educate yourself. It really helps us help you.

Leh Meriwether:             I wanted to thank those that recently took a moment to review our podcast, we really appreciate it. If you feel like you're gaining of value from this show, please take a moment to post a review. The reviews, help others find the show, which allows us to help even more people.

Todd Orston:                   And if you're not sure how to post a review, our webmasters put together a simple explanation on our webpage. You can find at it. That's M as in Mary, T as in Tom, law

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriweather and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp radio on the New Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us you can always check us out online at On this show we've been talking about how to create relationship goals, relationship goals, and my goals is to not-

Todd Orston:                   Head in hand Leh, head in hand.

Leh Meriwether:             Is to not get so tongue tied, relationship goals for 2019 that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time bound, exciting and relevant. We've talked about some very practical ones like getting our finances in order and giving some examples of how you would make those smarter by saying I'm going to do a budget every month, so that was just one example and we talked about co-parenting, how to make that better. The finances applies to marriage too, it applies whether you're getting a divorce or you're married and you want to strengthen the healthiness of your relationship. But sometimes people don't make smarter goals when it comes to making themselves sort of emotionally healthy when maybe they've gone through a divorce.

                                         Maybe they're struggling in their marriage, but it's not necessarily because of the marriage. Maybe there's some depression they're dealing with and all kinds of things can cause depression so you may need to make some smarter goals when it comes to that. I think an easy one on that would be I'm going to find a counselor that I feel comfortable with and I'm going to find them by February 1st. You get more specific though, I'm going to call to see at least because we get busy where we know we work all day, you have to call during your lunch most of the time, so you say, you know what, I'm going to call two counselors. I'm going to find eight counselors and I'm going to call to a week for the month of January and I'm going to pick one that I'm going to start going to.

Todd Orston:                   At that point you've made the bed, that's the making of the bed. I'm going to call and locate two counselors.

Leh Meriwether:             A week.

Todd Orston:                   Fine, you can accomplish that until you find somebody that you like that you are comfortable with, but it is very, very achievable. Then you can have a bigger and broader goal, attend counseling once a week, twice a month, whatever the case might be, whatever you think your need is, but then hopefully you have this plan in place, you understand the value and you have created a plan that is achievable, it's up to you. It's not just the, I'm going to go to the gym, I'm going to work out.

Leh Meriwether:             I'm going to find the counselor, you haven't set yourself the specific things to do during the week and then what happens the week gets away, and you go, I'll call somebody next week.

Todd Orston:                   And it becomes ... once you start to fail, that's something that I've found, once you make a resolution like this and you start to fail, by that I mean, let's say you have not set up some method of measurement, I'm going to go to the gym more. Well, Monday you don't go Tuesday, don't go, by Wednesday it's pretty much easy not to go.

Leh Meriwether:             I'll start next week.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely, which is once again, why I think chocolate chip cookies, I would conquer that goal. It's easy to fail because you're like, well, you know what, I'm done, clearly 2019 ain't the year for me to work out, so you have to have measurable goals. Building on that, if personal fitness and joining a gym or something is your goal, that shouldn't be your goal, your first goal, make the bed, find a gym, great, that's an easy one. But then set a reasonable goal, every Wednesday morning or two times a week or three times a week, something that you think you can actually accomplish.

Leh Meriwether:             And measures.

Todd Orston:                   And measure, set that as your goal. If it's once a week, hey, working out once a week is better than working out no times a week. I was going to say nonce, so set something that you can actually accomplish. You can always change the goal.

Leh Meriwether:             Another thing that tipped me kind of going back and forth is having an accountability partner to go through it with you. So you say, well, I want to join a gym, what is that doing for you? What is it specifically you're trying to achieve? I feel like I'm a little overweight. Okay, great, that's still not specific enough. Well, I'd like to lose 30 pounds, there we go. Now we're starting to get specific, but how are we making it actionable? I'm going to get to the gym three times a week, okay.

Todd Orston:                   Didn't you involve once to a competition?

Leh Meriwether:             We did. I lost 82 pounds in five months.

Todd Orston:                   All right, using that as an example though, I mean, and it is easy or not easy but easier when you are in something like that where-

Leh Meriwether:             It's a competition.

Todd Orston:                   It's a competition and you're working with somebody, they're pushing you, you're pushing them. But the bottom line is, without even realizing it, I'm getting all choked up, without even realizing it, you set a goal and then-

Leh Meriwether:             It was specific.

Todd Orston:                   It was specific, you were able to measure it.

Leh Meriwether:             It was time bound, we had a final way in.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely, so you actually, without even realizing it, because it's before I think this concept even was born, you were able to basically implement this plan and it helped you to not just achieve but to overachieve, I mean if you lost 80 some odd pounds, that's amazing. You were able to do that, why? Because all of these things, all this prep work, all this foundation that you laid to be successful and that's what we're talking about. Lay that foundation, do what you need to do in order to make sure that if you set a goal, you're not just talking about, I'm going to eat less cookies, it needs-

Leh Meriwether:             Or I'm going to take care of myself in 2019, that's-

Todd Orston:                   Something very general, that's not going to accomplish it for you. Be specific and think beyond just setting the goal, how am I going to achieve that goal, measure it, is it something that I not just can but want to achieve?

Leh Meriwether:             I think the last thing we ... before we end the show, we need to leave this point, write it down. Because it's really easy to say, well, I'm going to do this and you can even talk about all these different components of the smarter goal system, but if you don't write it down, there's something about physically writing ... and I'm not talking about typing on a computer either, I'm talking about using your hand. My specific goal is this and I'm going to measure it this way and literally write it out and then you should probably do it once a week, am I achieving this? Sort of create either ... If you don't have an accountability partner like when Bob and I had the weight loss competition years ago, if you don't have an accountability partner, then you could have to again, sort of set something where you hold yourself accountable. Every Sunday afternoon I'm going to pull out my smart goals system and look to make sure I have achieved everything.

                                         Some people I know, they write it down and they get up every morning and they look at it every single morning. I've seen people where they type, they first hand writing, but then they type it up and tape it on the mirror in their bathroom. I've seen him do that so they're reminded every morning this is what I'm doing. You can do that with your relationships. Another example is don't say I want to make our relationship better, say, you know what, I'm going to read at least two marriage books this year. I'm going to read the first one by the end of February and I'm going to take ... I'm going to write out five things I learned from that book and I'm gonna take action on it, you get that specific.

                                         Before we ... we're almost out of time, this show just flew by. One of the things that Todd and I are working on in January is we're going to try to lay out the shows or the whole rest of the year. We've had some clients, former clients of ours and some others have emailed us topics. I've got some like we're going to talk about TPOs, what happens when you get somebody files a false TPO against you, that was a topic someone had mentioned, we're going to go back. We're going to have a show or two about mediation and we're going to get into some of the ... Hopefully we'll bring a mediator on, we'll talk about how they look at the case and their role from their perspective, but also talk about what to expect that mediation.

                                         We've talked about some practical things, but we're going to get a little broader than that. Mental health issues, that was another recommendation. Another recommendation was what your family lawyer is not, so some really good recommendations we've had from some clients and probably have a show about suicide because we see that, divorce can trigger that unfortunately.

Todd Orston:                   We want this show to be informational, we want to give listeners what it is they want to hear. We could just pick, which we've done obviously in the past, we pick these topics because we think it will resonate with people, we think that it'll be informational, it'll help people in some way, but we want to hear from you. Please reach out to us, tell us what it is you'd like to hear us talk about because we actually do listen. We actually want to take those opinions and take those requests and turn them into shows that not only that listener can gain from and benefit from, but anybody else listening might be able to benefit as well.

Leh Meriwether:             If you've got something that you would really like for us to explore or bringing an expert on, email us at [email protected], so [email protected] M as in Mary, T as in Tom, and we'll put it ... try to get it to us by the end of the month by the end of January 2019 so that we can use that and come up with some great shows this year. We're really looking forward to another exciting year and lots of more great five star reviews. We're going to start talking about some of them on the shows because we've gotten some great reviews recently and we really appreciate people taking the time to post reviews about us because it does help spread the show and spread this information to help people. Until next time, you can read more about us at

Speaker 3:                        This audio program does not establish an attorney client relationship with Meriwether & Tharp.