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Everyone knows change takes effort. If change were easy we’d all be mighty perfect. Setting goals, even if it means improving ourselves, typically involves stepping way outside of our comfort zones. It’s a lot easier to hide where it’s cosy. The brain certainly enjoys helping us stay in the “comfort of our discomfort”.
Achieving goals is a pretty great thing. It helps grow you as a person and instil your sense of purpose. If you set some mutual goals with your partner you can grow a deeper connection through shared effort.
Read on for what I think is a mighty fine way of approaching your dreams and desires either as an individual or couple in 2017...
Here are a few benefits for teaming up with your partner or friend on this:
Are there things you two share in private that you wouldn’t want discussed with the general public? That’s a boundary. Is there are a limit to the way you’ll allow yourself to be spoken to before you feel you’re being disrespected? That’s a boundary, too. Do you need to talk about working toward new approaches to Social Media and screen usage again? They’re perfectly healthy ones that relationships need.
Goal setting isn’t just about that grand new healthy clean eating plan or learning to thumb wrestle, but a great time to address, reinforce, or even just have a chance to finally discuss setting some of these healthy boundaries.
Now on for some practical advice.
FOUR BRILLIANT BULLSEYE TACTICS:
Before you can think about setting goals for the two of you, you need to know how to set a good goal in the first place. You can refer back to some well known principles in my previous article HERE. If you need help on Willpower, that's HERE
Let’s focus on where most people fall short on their plans for positive change:
Most resolutions, for example, are about health and weight loss after the festive season. The goal of “I will eat healthier food” isn’t actually an actionable goal. You have to work towards it in increments and allow your brain to visualise it.
That’s why you need specific strategies that will step you toward your ultimate goal. Want to be healthier? Make it your goal to eat X less fast food meals a week. Make it a goal to go to the gym X times a week.” See yourself parading around with more energy and zest. Make your goal more targeted to something that will get you where you want to go, rather than shooting for the stars. It can’t see vague, up-in-the-air ideas!
Make specific, actionable, continuous and positively written goals that you can easily keep track of. The key here is pasting up your goals everywhere as a reminder, allowing your brain to view constructive images of your outcomes with clarity. Motivation fires up.
- REPETITION AND CONSISTENCY -
IS THE KEY HERE.
,Goal Setting with your partner
Respectful discussions: Have an open talk about what you’re both trying to achieve, individually and as a couple. Celebrate your different goals, but be on the same page about what you want, to avoid negativity and resentment. Honesty is paramount. If you agree to something you feel goes against your best interests or values, it’s going to come crashing down in flames later.
Don’t shoot down ideas in the planning stage without hearing them out, either. No rolling of the eyes, huffing and grunting during brain storming and bucket list creation time! Let everyone say their piece and explain their desires. If something doesn’t mutually work for both of you, talk it through or maybe place them low on the agenda for now.
Neon lights: If you and your partner keep your goals highlighted around your pad where the other will notice, it will help motivate you to hit your targets. Once you’ve both agreed on your goals and set something actionable, there’s one other really, really important thing couples need to do:
Support each other: Celebrate achievements! If you’ve both set out to achieve some cool stuff, be they individual or mutual, you need to acknowledge and praise successes. There’s nothing worse than striving for something that’s a great personal challenge to yourself, only for your partner to be completely apathetic. Mutual encouragement, support, and celebration is key to both of you reaching targets and growing stronger together.
Healthy Boundaries in a Relationship
Goals and resolutions don’t have to be huge. They don’t have to be about moving to the Maldives, becoming famous ellusionists or learning couples ice sculpture. Whilst some of those are worthy, they can be about the little things in life that we might need to work on to make ourselves stay true to our values, or better partners.
Goals and resolutions can work towards either partner’s boundaries being respected and upheld. For example, you might discuss your sex life and arguments with your mates. You’re all friends, you share stories, you know the deal. But, understandably, your partner really might not want Davo or Christine to know about what you get up to. Setting a goal of “I won’t discuss our private life with my next door neighbour unless it’s agreed first” is a really easy way to respect your partner’s boundaries.
These types of boundary-respecting goals might seem like small feats, but together they’ll help reinforce your relationship and leave you all the stronger for it.
So, to recap!
Joanne Wilson is a Sunshine Coast professional Counsellor and Psychotherapist with a keen interest in relationships and pre-marriage therapy. She is often found contributing through guest speaking invitations and has also produced her own books, Pearls of Wisdom from the Thriving Thirties, The Relationship Rejuvenator E-Book and presented a series of relationship seminars.
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