What gets in the way of achieving relationship goals? Most people are good at setting relationship goals, but not so good at achieving them. Here are five common mistakes in relationship goals that many people make.
Resolutions and goals to be more attentive, patient, kind, loving, supportive and truthful are made with the best of intentions. Most of them fall by the wayside within a few weeks. These are the reasons:
1. You underestimate how hard it is to achieve the goal.
It takes a significant amount of work to attain most worthwhile relationship goals. If you’re not aware that being more attentive, kind and loving takes time, effort and persistence, especially when competing demands, stress and tiredness are present, it’s easy to give up. Predict that difficulties will arise so that you’re mentally prepared to meet challenges when they inevitably arise.
2. You didn’t “own” your goal.
You will be much more successful if you create your own goals for changing yourself instead of hoping your partner will change. If you’re saying something like “I’m just doing this because my partner wants me to” your relationship goals are destined to fail. If you’re putting in place a new strategy to please someone else, and not because you believe it’s needed, you’ll be incapable of staying on track when you encounter obstacles. You need to set your own goals, be committed to achieving them because you see their value, and be self-motivated enough to keep going when the going gets tough.
3. Your goal wasn’t clear, or measurable.
As an example, “I will be more attentive to my partner” is far too general a goal. Relationship goals need to be SMART goals. This means specific (“I will schedule a 10 minute chat with my partner every weekday for the next week to catch up with how their day has been”), measurable (10 minutes on Monday to Friday), achievable/attractive (can you actually do this & does it appeal to you?), realistic and time-framed (starting next Monday), so you can monitor your progress on a regular basis. Keeping track to see that you’ve had a daily chat (record this in written or electronic form) reinforces your strategy and helps you stay on course.
It’s not possible to keep focused on challenging goals without regularly checking in, on a daily and weekly basis, to see how you’re progressing.
4. You didn’t realize the rewards would be modest.
If your one of your relationship goals was to chat for 10 minutes daily on Mondays to Fridays and you’ve managed to do it for 3 out of 5 days for 3 weeks in a row, congratulations! Celebrate what you have achieved. That’s 9 “check-ins” more than before. Be aware though that you’re probably not going to see instant results and your sense of achievement about your goal may be modest. Change and progress occur in small, incremental ways and often far more slowly than we hope. Intimacy is a daily practice. The key is to remember that fact, so that you keep plugging on.
5. You tried to do it alone.
Enlisting support for achieving your goals is highly recommended. Most people benefit from at least one person to cheer us on when things get tough. In addition, publicly acknowledging your goal to someone helps make you accountable to achieve it. Ask a friend, a supportive family member, a close co-worker or a counsellor to be your support person in your clearly-stated relationship goal. Even though it takes courage, as well as humility, to publicly admit that you want to change something about yourself, your support partner will help you stay focused on reaching your goal and keep you accountable.
To get expert support to achieve your relationship goals, you may need an experienced relationship counsellor & coach. Call 0421 961 687 or email us to schedule an appointment. International callers should call +61 2 8005 1742.
You deserve the best trained relationship coaches if you’re planning to invest time and money in your relationship. If you’re not ready to book an appointment, call us on 0421 961 687 to book a FREE 10 minute phone consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you.