Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
What are the common mistakes in achieving relationship goals? Most people are good at setting relationship goals, but not so good at achieving them.
When you make resolutions and goals to be more attentive, patient, kind, loving, supportive and truthful, you probably make them with the best of intentions. Yet most resolutions fall by the wayside within a few weeks. Here are five common mistakes that block you from achieving your relationship goals.
1. You underestimate how hard it is to achieve your goal
It takes a significant amount of work to achieve 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.
Solution: Predict that difficulties will arise so that you’re mentally prepared to meet challenges when they arise. They inevitably will.
2. You didn’t “own” your goal
You will be much more successful in achieving relationship goals if you create your own goals for changing yourself. It’s a losing strategy to hope that your partner will change. If you’re thinking “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.
Solution: You need to set your own goals, and be committed to achieving them because you see their value. Practice being self-motivated enough to keep going when the going gets tough.
3. Your goal wasn’t clear or measurable
What’s helpful in achieving relationship goals is to make clear and measurable goals. Take this example: “I will be more attentive to my partner”. This is far too general a goal. Relationship goals need to be SMART goals. This means they need to be:
- 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 – I will schedule 10 minutes on Monday to Friday evenings after work & track it in my calendar.
- Achievable/attractive – Can I actually do this? Why does it appeal to me?
- Realistic – Is it practical to do this given my circumstances?
- Time-framed – I will start next Monday & review it next Saturday morning.
Solution: Make SMART goals. Monitor your progress on a regular basis. Keep track to see that you’ve had a daily chat. Recording 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 monitoring yourself and also regularly checking in with your partner to see how you’re progressing.
4. You didn’t realise 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. You are closer than you were to achieving your relationship goals.
Solution: Be aware that you’re probably not going to see instant results. So your sense of achievement about your goal may be modest. Real change and progress occur in small, incremental ways and often far more slowly than we hope. Celebrate your small wins. Achieving true intimacy is a daily practice. The key is to remember that fact, so that you keep plugging on. Persistence pays.
5. You tried to do it alone
Enlisting support in achieving relationship goals is highly recommended. Most people benefit from at least one other person to cheer us on when things get tough. In addition, publicly acknowledging your goal to someone helps make you accountable to achieve it.
Solution: 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 in achieving your relationship goals, you may need an experienced relationship counsellor & coach. Call 0421 961 687 or email us to schedule an appointment. International callers phone +61 421 961 687.
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 15 minute phone consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you.