Do you have goals for 2018? Of course you do! There’s something inherent about January that makes us all think about what we want to achieve throughout the next 12 months.
As well as health and fitness goals there’s probably some personal ones in there too, right? Maybe one or two about your career and maybe a few around relationships? When you hear the word relationship it’s natural to automatically think about romantic attachments. But what about your friendships? Or your family? Do you have any goals around those relationships?
If you do, then it’s important you think not only of the what but also on the how. 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. Research suggests most people go back to their pre-resolution ways by the end of January. That fact is not enough to leave you feeling fed up and jaded with your relationships. Never mind when you tell yourself: “Shur I’m a disaster in relationships anyway.” Or: “I give up, relationships shouldn’t be this much work.” It’s time to stop, as this is flawed thinking.
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 and create a plan to help you achieve your relationship goals. Think also about 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.
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 towards dating or become more open to letting 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? Or do you need to create space and decide if you have outgrown your relationship?
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, 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 wants to meet people to date needs to meet more people right? So in a bid to meet more people you may commit to taking up a new activity. At this point it’s so important you only join groups you genuinely have an interest 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 that if you really want 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 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 stick to the change is to create manageable daily and weekly goals, all feeding into your overall long-term goal. Some people use a diary or their phone to enter their daily and weekly goals as it 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. You might actually surprise yourself and really enjoy the process.
Annie Lavin is a dating and relationship coach and psychology lecturer based in Dublin. She empowers singles and couples to achieve relationship success. For more information visit relationshipcoach.ie