In order to keep your relationships from becoming stagnant or boring, it’s important to set goals for things you’d like to accomplish as a couple to keep things fresh and help you continue to grow and evolve. These don’t have to be anything major — even the little things make a difference. As you make a life with your partners, friends, and family members, here are some achievements to strive for.
Check your internal narrative. The words we speak to others matter, but what we tell ourselves about others is even more important. It makes a deep impact on your interaction with them. If you keep telling yourself how controlling, self-centered, or apathetic they are towards you, the higher the chances of you finding evidence of their behavior since you’ve conditioned your psyche to do just that. What you can do is recognize having this judgmental thought pattern so you can stop yourself from creating such a narrative. Only then can you go on with replacing it with a positive thought or phrase.
Make an effort to connect. Creating a connection with others in your daily life is easier than you think. You can do this whenever, wherever. Take a few moments to know the name of that sweet lady at Whole Foods who always get out of her way to help you find what you’re looking for and thank her for her kindness. Or, take time from your busy day at the office to ask how your co-worker’s 3rd grader is holding up after transferring to a new school. Every time you share small, positive moments with other people, by merely smiling, or nodding, acknowledging that you see them and that they exist, you’ll create a wave of positive emotions for all of you.
Don’t let arguments get ugly. They need to know that you’re both on the same page even when you’re disagreeing. Putting an arm around them or holding their hand will make the both of you feel more connected and less irate while you’re arguing. If this isn’t your cup of tea, find something else to reinforce your bond, like interrupting each other in the middle of a disagreement to kiss or hug each other. While this won’t always be possible or appropriate, try to remind your partner that even when you disagree about something, you still care about them.
PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING. Communication is the key to a successful relationship. But things can get complicated as people have various ways of communicating. While calm and gentle words work for you, others express themselves and their frustrations better by screaming at the top of their lungs, simply because they want to be heard. On the flipside, giving the person the cold shoulder or not talking to them for days is their way of communicating anger, disgust, and resentment. This is where active listening comes in. Listen intently so you’ll understand where the other person is coming from. Allowing them to express their frustrations, fears, and dismay without the fear of being judged.
SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. No matter how hectic things get in your life, make it a point to spend quality time with your family and friends. Remember that relationships are lifelong investments that need to be nurtured and maintained. Plan out weekly or monthly get-togethers so you can catch up and see how everyone’s doing. Nothing beats meeting in person. But even zoom times or regular phone calls will do wonders for your relationships. People just want to know that they are thought of, loved, and valued. And these can accomplish that when face-to-face interaction is simply not possible.
Don’t be too proud to apologize. One of the hardest things to say for many of us is that we are sorry. A lot of us walk around pretending everything is cool, just so fights and arguments won’t break out. All the while the other person doesn’t even know that you’re mad at them and for what reason. Then sometimes you know you have hurt or offended a friend or co-worker, but are just too proud or uncomfortable to apologize properly. We need to learn to apologize and this does not have to be lengthy or complicated. All the person needs to know is that you are sincere and accept responsibility for your actions. And more importantly, you are willing to make up for it if necessary.
Be willing to forgive. If apologizing is a big deal for many, for others it’s forgiving. Now there can be several reasons for this, depending on the gravity of the offense which sometimes makes it impossible to forgive. For others, they find it difficult to forgive when the person who did them wrong’ didn’t ask for forgiveness in the first place. A lot of people still don’t realize this. But when you forgive, you’re doing this for yourself, not for the person who wronged you. A deep hurt or grudge is simply too heavy a burden to carry on your back. Forgiveness means freeing your heart, mind, and soul from the clutches of pain and anger. And in the process making more room for growth, love, and positivity.
Prioritize intimacy. Keep the love burning, no matter what. The stress and nuances of everyday life can easily take their toll on any relationship. You should avoid this at all costs. Keep a healthy and satisfying relationship with a constant physical connection. And we’re not merely talking about sex, it’s about kissing, caressing, and hugging your partner every chance you get. Never failing to make them feel loved and wanted, no matter how hectic things get.
Never stop dating. It’s easy for priorities to change especially when you’ve been with someone for years. This will keep your commitment strong. After all, it is your commitment towards each other that made this bond possible in the first place. Your Friday date nights celebrate this beautiful commitment. If your partnership or marriage is no longer as exciting as it was in the beginning, date nights can work magic in restoring that old spark.
Be kind. In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind. Regardless of the types of relationships you have, acts of kindness never lose the potential to make this world a better place. Acts of kindness always boost feelings of happiness, confidence, optimism, and being in control. This also encourages others to repeat good deeds or pay things forward for the wonderful things they have experienced from others.
What to keep in mind when setting goals in your relationships
It’s possible to take things too far. While having goals for your relationship is generally a good thing, it’s important to make sure you’re not taking this to a toxic place. “Relationships goals that can be toxic are goals that are often rigid or based upon an agenda,” relationship expert and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. “When couples and/or individuals have relationship goals without grounding them in reality, they’ll often create problems that can ruin their relationship.”
Trying to achieve these goals shouldn’t take over your life. You shouldn’t be spending all your time or neglecting other areas of your life in order to meet these arbitrary milestones you’ve set. As you know, making another person (or a single relationship) the center of your universe is never a good thing and can seriously backfire. “The number one most toxic relationship goal is make the other person the center of your life,” says Mitzi Bockmann, certified life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their goals in love and life. “So make an effort to maintain your life outside of your relationship. Do things with friends, spend time with co-workers, and spend some of your free time alone. Don’t let yourself disappear inside someone else and someone else’s life.”
Remember that there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. No matter how many of your goals you check off over time, that doesn’t mean your relationship is any better or worse than anyone else’s. However, it’s important to focus on all the good things about your relationship and build healthy habits in order to have long-term relationship success. “We emphasize the importance of couples focusing on what they put into the relationship rather than what they get out of it,” says well-being consultant Suzie Pileggi Pawelski.
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