January is the ideal time to commit to change but too often people make resolutions with very little consideration on HOW they can achieve the relationship success they seek. How many times have I heard people say, “this is the year I’m going to; put more effort into my dating life or, focus on our relationship” without any clear plan on how they might actually achieve these goals. The reason we all have a tendency to overlook the planning stage is because most of us don’t know what we need to do. When we don’t have a clear vision we will more than likely fall off the bandwagon in quick time. Research suggests most people go back to their pre-resolution ways by the end of January. If that ‘failure’ is not enough to leave you feeling fed up and jaded with your relationships, things are further compounded when you tell yourself - “shur I’m a disaster in relationships anyway” or, “I give up, relationships shouldn’t be this much work” but that is flawed thinking too.
So, I’m here not only to scare the bejaysus out of you but to reassure you there is another way. Follow the three following steps to create a plan to help you achieve your relationship goals and the relationship success you truly desire. Although these steps focus on relationship specific goals, the same steps can be applied to achieving any other goals you have set yourself in 2018.
1. Get Goal Specific.
If you are single and want to meet someone, it all begins with you. Reflect on your dating life to date and consider what you would like to change. For example, would you like to; discover more opportunities to meet more people to date, meet more people who are willing to commit, stop attracting the same kinds of partners, change your attitude or thinking to dating/relationships or, become more open to let love in?
If you are in a relationship and want to improve it, discover what specifically needs to change. Do you need to; create your own separateness within the relationship, increase your tolerance levels, change your attitude or thinking about your partner/relationships or, do you need to create space and decide if you have outgrown your relationship/partner?
2. Become Action Orientated
Now you know what you want to change, what action needs to happen for you to achieve your relationship goal? Make a list, brainstorm, draw, paint, get out in nature and reflect, meditate, meet some pals, consider your options - do whatever you need to do to come up with a plan to achieve the goal you have set.
For example, someone who has set a goal of wanting to meet more people to date needs to meet more people. In a bid to meet more people, you may commit to joining a new group/activity. It is so important that you only join groups/activities you genuinely have some interest or love in. Although your objective is to meet more people, don’t go if you expect to meet someone to date. I know that sounds a bit of a contradiction but hear me out. You must bring with you the energy of openness and curiosity. It is understandable if you would really like to meet someone you may show up with an exasperated energy but this will only repel a potential partner. Only doing things with the sole purpose of meeting a partner is the wrong energy to bring. If this is you, revisit your original goal and consider whether it needs changing. Perhaps it is your attitude and mind set regarding dating and relationships that needs to change.
Set Bite-Size Weekly Goals
Now you know what you want to change and the action steps required to achieve the change, your final step is committing to the change. One way to ensure you will stick to the change is if you have created manageable daily and weekly goals that feed into your overall long-term goal. Some people use a diary or their phone to enter their daily and weekly goals as this helps with accountability. Take each day as an accomplishment and offer yourself healthy rewards. You are committing to your self-development and growth, something to be really proud of and you might actually surprise yourself and really enjoy the process. Let 2018 be your year, may you experience good health, relationship success and happiness the whole year through.
If there is anyone who feels they need support on any of the three steps identified above, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Anne Lavin is a psychology lecturer and dating and relationship coach who empowers singles and couples to achieve relationship success by working with them 121 or in small group workshops. Her next workshop is on the topic of relationship goal setting, please email Annie for further details.