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3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & Businessman…and Why I’m Starting Over

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

An update...one year later
NOTE: I originally wrote this post in 2016 after my first experience with The 90-Day Year. Since then, I’ve completed the program two more times and have more than tripled the results discussed below. It works!

Stressed. Overwhelmed. Disconnected.

3 Key Changes I Made to Be a Better Husband, Dad & Businessman…and Why I’m Starting Over.001Those are a few of the feelings that described me towards the end of last year.

For a guy who prides himself as “having it all together” and helping others to be more effective leaders, this was really troubling.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything fully, and I felt like I could never catch up with my engineering work, Engaged Marriage, my fitness and (worst of all) my home life.

Can you relate to feeling SO busy that you struggle to enjoy the people and projects that you care the most about?

It was pretty terrible, and I knew that something had to change.

Looking Back (Not Fun)

I took off a few days around Christmas with the hopes that I’d be able to clear my head.

No dice.

As I reflected back on 2015, there were definitely lots of successes and things to be proud about.

But I knew I fell short in many ways, too.  Not just in business but in my connection to Bethany and our three kids.

Plus, the extra 20 pounds around my waist was feeling especially heavy.

I pulled out my trusty Moleskine journal and took a look at the Big Plans I had for 2015, and the SMART goals I had set early in the year.

I had about a 20% success rate, and I realized that even the best of intentions don’t mean much when you fail to follow-through.

#FAIL

The Turning Point

I remember it clearly…while mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed while waiting for a haircut, an ad caught my eye.

It said something along the lines of “You’re Wasting 80% of Your Potential” – and based on my annual review, that raised an eyebrow.

When I clicked over, I realized I had heard this guy on a podcast with Amy Porterfield recently.  He was all about high performance and breaking free of overwhelm by using smart systems.

My kind of guy.

His name is Todd Herman, and he’s become a mentor to me in 2016 (even though we’ve never met or even personally conversed).

My Mentor Todd HermanYou can learn more about him as part of his free training series, but here’s a quick summary:

Todd’s spent almost 20 years serving as one of the world’s most sought after peak performance coaches… working in the trenches to help over 10,000 Olympic athletes, 9 Fortune 100 Companies, billionaires, and even royal families achieve the epitome of success in their fields.

Todd is also a devoted husband and Dad to two little girls – again, my kind of guy!

I started following Todd and not just learning but APPLYING his advice, and it was a real game changer for me.

There’s a lot I could share, but these three simple things made the biggest difference for me…and our family.

These 3 Things Changed My Life Big Time

1. I Broke Free of “Old-School” Goal Setting

I’m a big fan of goal setting, and I’ve done it all of my adult life (and even as a kid).  But I found that as life got busier and more complicated, my success rate in actually meeting my goals was pretty dismal.

I got away from thinking in terms of “right now” or “this year” and I quit allowing my brain to be fooled into thinking that setting a goal was an achievement in itself.  Instead, I adopted Todd’s achievement system, switched to 90-day goal horizons with 2-week “sprints” and my success soared.

RESULT: I created, launched and delivered our new flagship program at Engaged Marriage in less than two months (total). And it happened while working full-time, expanding the EM team and spending more quality time with my family.

It’s called Total Marriage Makeover and it’s by far the best thing we’ve ever done to help busy couples enjoy the marriage of their dreams.

2. I Quit “Context Switching” ALL the Time

I didn’t have a name for it until Todd gave me one, but Context Switching was an absolute productivity killer for me, and I bet it is for you, too.

Our culture’s love affair with multi-tasking is a complete farce, and I guarantee you will benefit from changing how you work.  I thought I was a productive guy, but giving my to-do list a makeover and knocking out big items using Todd’s “block and tackle” approach was a game changer.

RESULT: Once I switched HOW I work, I found I needed to work less to get more done.  That’s a sweet change, and in my case it allowed me to spend more quality time with Bethany and our kids.

An important distinction – it’s not just about quantity of time either.  Because I felt accomplished in my work, I was far less distracted and could really, truly focus on my family.

3. I Started Focusing on Performance…Not Potential

This is really the overarching change that’s occurred in my approach to business and life.  It’s a mindset issue, but actually putting it into action is much less abstract.

It takes some effort to break old habits, but I found that Todd’s approach was practical and systematic.  So even when I wasn’t sure about the outcome, I learned to trust the steps and the payoff was immense.

RESULT: I’m achieving success like never before.  I literally did more in our business in the first quarter of 2016 than we accomplished in all of 2015 (or any other year).

Then I kept applying what I learned each 90 days, and it’s truly been an amazing year as we’ve launched a membership community, several new programs and created a very successful digital marketing consulting company…all without feeling crazy overwhelmed despite our full schedules…because we just follow the system.

And again, this goes way beyond entrepreneurship.

Family, faith life and friendships have been enhanced so much.

So, life’s easy now, right?

Of course not.  The reality I’ve learned is that each 90 days requires a reset and a fresh plan, but it’s fun and exciting now.

I’m ready to plan for an even better 2017, and I’d LOVE to have you join me.

Check Out Todd’s Free Training While It’s Available

Todd just released a powerful, free training series that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Click here to watch Todd’s first training video

Todd Herman 90-Day Year

And be sure to download this FREE Blueprint that shows you the success system that I’ve been following:

Free Success System Download

I believe this free training is available until June 12th.

After that, Todd will open up the FULL 90-Day Year program.  This is the same program I followed to get such great results, and it only opens for enrollment every six months.

Join the 90-Day Year & Get My $850+ Bonus Package for FREE!

The 90-Day Year will be open for enrollment between June 12th and 16th, 2017.  If you miss that one-week window, you’ll have to wait until 2018 to join…please don’t  do that!

To encourage you to take action and to ensure you get the best results possible, I’ve put together a 90-Day Year Bonus package to supplement Todd’s training.

And you can get it for no additional cost!  Just click the link below to get all of the details:

Click here to check out my FREE $850+ 90-Day Year Bonus Package

I’m excited to hear about your results with the 90-Day Year so you can enjoy a better, more engaged life!

What’s Love Got To Do With It: 4 Reasons Why You Need To Have The Money Talk

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-4-reasons-why-you-need-to-have-the-money-talkMoney…finances…not something that most couples really want to talk about.

Some avoid it until there’s a problem. Others never talk about it.

Why is that?

Well, because money talk isn’t romantic.

It isn’t sexy. It isn’t glamorous and it surely isn’t fun…well unless you won the lottery maybe.

If you’re like most couples, you cruise along, blissfully focusing more on the “important” things – communication, quality time, building a life.

As intoxicating as all that is, the fact is, the life you want costs money.

You’ve probably talked about where to live, whether to have kids, how you’ll parent your kids, career plans and so on.

But have you talked about how to pay for all those dreams?

As unromantic as it sounds, including money in the discussion can be one of the best ways to armor up your marriage for those times when things get tough.

So what does your love have to do with money? Everything.

The Balance of 50/50

There’s a notion that relationships should always be equal…50/50. Each person wants to feel as if they are contributing and that their partner is doing the same.

But what does equal – 50/50 – mean in your relationship in terms of financial issues?

Partners rarely bring exactly the same financial resources to the relationship.

What is “equal” when one makes more than the other or contributes non-monetarily is very subjective. How does 50/50 work then?

Your idea of 50/50 may be completely different from what your spouse sees as equal. Having this discussion early on can head off a lot of future skirmishes.

Yours, Mine and Ours

When you’re talking about managing money in a relationship, you’re talking about trust…financial intimacy.

It’s more than discussing how much is in the checking account this week. It’s an ongoing conversation about wants and needs and how to fund those things.

Simple right? Well, no.

What complicates it is that each of you has your own wants and needs and dreams that you have to weave into the fabric of your relationship.

Money carries all kinds of meaning for people – security, safety, independence, freedom or control for example.

You need understand what money means to each of you and prepare for how the finances will be handled. You want to make sure that you are compatible in the way you view spending and saving.

There is no right or wrong answer. The only answer is the one that works for the two of you.

What’s The Plan?

Part of a stable, loving marriage is planning your future together. That life costs money.

Your money and how you manage it will play a huge role in how your future plans unfold.

Discuss the plan early in the relationship. It’s never too soon to plan.

You want to plan for the good and the unexpected.

You’ll learn an awful lot about how the two of you communicate and negotiate money matters.

When you’re part of the plan, you’re invested in the plan.

Discuss the plan often. Over time, priorities change as the relationship grows. Kids come along. You buy that dream house. One of you loses your job.

You may need to make some adjustments for those unexpected things that come along. If you’ve laid a good foundation, you’re more likely to weather the storm when the unexpected happens.

Keep It Simple

Money problems can make or break even the strongest loves. Money issues are consistently one of the top reasons cited for marital discord and for divorce.

Money is something you and your spouse use every day.

It shapes the life you live. It makes sense to talk about it. Left to linger, money issues will continue to pop up and become the source of many an argument. Over time, they can destroy an otherwise happy marriage.

How you approach the topic isn’t as important as your attitude going in.

Remember, your spouse is your partner, not the enemy. Give each other permission to bring up money questions or concerns.

Trust that you have each other’s back. When you know you’re a team, defenses come down and you’re more likely to get to the heart of the matter.

Want a simple step-by-step plan to gain financial security for your family?

Visit https://www.engagedmarriage.com/money-plan/ to learn more about an exciting program designed to bring you greater financial security and more time to spend with your family.

how-to-get-control-of-your-money-and-create-the-future-you-desiretogether-1

Money and how you manage it will shape the life you build together. Make sure you’re tending your marital money relationship with tender loving care.

Money, Money, Money: How to Structure Your Finances as a Couple

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Statistically speaking, the most common subject that couples fight about is money.

So, have you and your partner been arguing and can’t seem to agree on what to do with your finances?

Know that you are far from alone.

There are plenty of reasons that a couple will fight about money. Perhaps you both come from very different financial backgrounds that each affect your outlook on spending and saving.

Maybe you have very different ideas about how to save for the future.

Maybe you even agree about spending and saving but one of you is good about tracking while the other is terrible at tracking.

Whatever the reason for the disagreement, know that it is not nearly as important as how you decide to deal with it.

Here are several popular options that have helped reduce the money-related bickering for other couples.

Explore Your Options – Joint or Separate Accounts

We’ve discussed the topic of whether to use joint or separate bank accounts extensively here at Engaged Marriage.

While many couples would benefit from sharing a main account, there are circumstances where separate checking, savings or credit accounts might make sense for you.

If you do already have joint accounts, you can consider consolidating those accounts and paying them off if you do decide to separate your finances. The experts at CreditSoup recommend using a balance transfer to do this – preferably into an account with benefits like zero interest, etc.

If you’re separating your money, it’s worth consolidating your joint accounts into two new accounts, one for each of you to manage.

This way the balance still remains a joint responsibility and won’t fall solely to one of you to manage.

Hybrid Financial Management

This is a popular option for couples who like the idea of sharing expenses even though they know that their approach to financial management is wildly different.

Hybrid Financial Management is where a couple opens up a joint account while still maintaining their individual accounts.

Both partners agree to automatically transfer a portion of their income into the joint account and that the account will only be used to cover the cost of joint expenses.

Rent or mortgages, family phone plans, etc. – all of these can be managed from the joint account. You can also pay bills for any other joint credit cards, loans, etc. from here.

Figuring out how much each of you should contribute to the joint account can be tricky.

Typically this is done in one of two ways:

1. You each put an equal portion of every paycheck into the account. If your incomes are the same (or close) this is the easiest option.

2. You figure out how much the account needs to have in it to cover your joint expenses, divide that number in half and then each of you is responsible for contributing your half to the account. This is better for partners whose incomes aren’t equal.

Once you’ve both contributed your decided amount to the joint account whatever you have leftover is yours to spend without your partner giving you grief or judging your spending.

Having The Talk

One of the best ways to avoid conflict, of course, is to talk about your individual approaches to money as early on as possible. For many of us talking about money is exceedingly uncomfortable.

We’ve been taught most of our lives, after all, that talking about money is a huge no-no. Still, if you’re planning to merge your futures together, talking about money sooner rather than later is a must.

If nothing else, you should sit down to talk about money when things are calm and not during a fight (the subject of the fight is irrelevant here).

Having a calm discussion about how best to manage your financial life together can help alleviate any fears, address any concerns, and make sound financial plans before problems occur.

Remember: just because couples completely joined their finances in the past that doesn’t mean you have to do that now. Figure out an arrangement that works for both of you and stick to it.

Common Budgeting Mistakes Newlyweds Make

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

They say love is blind, but it shouldn’t block you from being aware of practical aspects of your marriage – particularly, your finances.

Money is one of the biggest reasons for divorce today and in many cases, it could have been avoided.

To ensure that you start your marriage off in good financial health (or at least on the same page), avoid these common budgeting mistakes at all costs.

Not Creating a Budget

The worst thing you could do for your finances as a couple is to avoid creating a budget.

Since the two of you will be paying bills jointly, it is ideal that you are both aware of the income coming into the house and the money that’s going out. This will help you to avoid overspending or falling into debt.

If you do not have a budget that both parties are aware of, this could lead to poor money management down the road.

Online resources like BankingSense.com make it easy for couples to learn about the basics of budgeting and tips for sticking to it.

Keeping Money Secrets

As husband and wife, keeping secrets is obviously not the best practice for your marriage, but keeping secrets about money can make matters even worse.

Whether you have old debt from before the relationship, or you have new debt that needs to be taken care of it is important to share this information with your partner so that it can be added to the budget.

Sneaking to pay it with money that is accounted for can lead to you falling behind on other bills.

Trying to Tackle Debt Separately

No matter how much debt you’re bringing to the table it is important that this information is shared so it can be budgeted into your account.

Together, you should sit down and review the amount of debt you have. Determine which debts you will pay off first based on the severity of each debt.

Paying off collections or past due accounts first to improve your credit and work your way towards fulfilling your current accounts is the best way to clear things up quickly.

Not Having an Emergency Savings

You never know when something could go wrong.

An unexpected bill like a car repair, home repair, or extremely high utility bill could ruin your budget if you don’t have a financial backup plan to cover the expense.

An emergency savings fund will ensure that you can cover those unexpected expenses without needing to use credit, take out a loan, or go into debt.

According to Forbes, having a minimum of three to six months of income in a savings account is ideal for covering unexpected emergencies.

Maintaining a budget is not only beneficial to your finances, but will improve the quality of your marriage.

A couple who carefully manages their finances and is open and honest with one another has fewer fights, conflicts, and unexpected expenses that put a strain on their relationship. If you’ve never created a budget, remember to use reputable sources to learn budgeting basics to get started.

Tips for Buying Bedroom Furniture as a Newlywed Couple

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

There is nothing more exciting than trying to piece together your new home that you are going to share with the love of your life.

Whether you have never really had the chance or the reason to invest in quality furniture sets, you now have a reason since you are married.

After all, it is not just you, as a single person, needing something to fall asleep on at night.

The bedroom furniture sets the tone for the entire room and it should be made of quality materials in order to ensure that it is going to last for a long time to come.

So, how can you make this big financial and style decision with someone else?

Research the Quality

Sure, while the look of the bedroom furniture is going to be first to come to mind over the quality of the pieces, it is important to first make sure that you are focusing on the quality.

After all, it can look like the best bedroom set you have ever dreamed of owning, but if it is going to start falling apart in a year or two, that is not really going to do you much good.

Search for a quality brand, such as Stanley bedroom furniture in order to know that you are spending your money wisely.

Remember, some of the bedroom furniture sets out there can get a little pricey. This is truly an investment, so even if you are now working with two incomes, you still have to keep this in mind.

Do the Furniture Shopping Together

No matter what, you will want to shop together when it comes to finding expensive furniture to place in the home that you now share together.

Even if the other person says that they don’t mind, that they trust your instincts, or that they just want you to do the decision making, it is still crucial that you are shopping together.

This way, you will reduce the chances of you accidentally picking bedroom furniture that he or she is not comfortable with.

Also, since you are combining your finances now, you will be using some of his or her money. You don’t want to spend more than they were thinking in their head that you would spend, as this could cause a fight.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Get in the Way

While you have to make sure that you are buying bedroom furniture that you are really going to like, you do not want to make that mistake of allowing your emotions to take control of the situation.

Remember that some stores will use sales signs in order to spark a sense of urgency, when there may not be that much of a price difference when there is not a big red sale sign in front of the furniture.

If you are getting overly excited about a bedroom set, but your spouse is not sure about it, leave the store. Go grab some lunch and think about it.

You might find that after leaving the store and concentrating on something else for a little bit that you are no longer as overly interested in that particular bedroom suit. Then again, if you are still smitten with it, you might find that your spouse will begin to come around to the idea of it since it truly seems like a great deal to you.

As you can see, buying a new bedroom set of furniture may be a lot more complex than you could have ever imagined. Therefore, you are going to want to make sure that you are taking your time when you are ready to start shopping.

This is a big purchase and a commitment that you are making for many years. It is not something to buy on impulse if you want to stay in line with your budget and stay on the good side of your new spouse.