#RelationshipGoals: A strategy to strengthen yours

As we come to the end of wk 2 of 2018, how are you doing with your New Year’s Goals & Resolutions?  Are you keeping up with them all?

The challenge I used to find was that despite starting off with the best of intentions of things I would do differently “this year”… once the realities of “life” kicked in (often as early as week 2!), I would find that some would start to drop by the wayside.  If I was lucky, I’d make it through to the end of Jan!

I have since learned that that approach is not helpful…

Better to take a more measured approach to goals and resolutions.

Yes, I still draw up my list of things I want to do differently in the New Year. But I have learned to then stop and spend time thinking firstly about:

  1. WHY I want to achieve them (if it’s not going to make a real difference to you, then you are unlikely to have the follow through to make it happen)
  2. HOW I might actually do that (it may be that you need to change habits or patterns, buy a book, sign up for a class, etc.)
  3. WHAT I need to do on a daily basis (what habit do you need to develop to make it happen) AND ALSO WHAT are you going to do to get back on track when you realise you’ve missed a day, or two, or three!?
  4. WHEN are you actually going to do it – it really is best if you can find something you can work on for even a few minutes – ideally at the same time – every day.
  5. WHO might be able to keep you accountable? I’ve always found it best when I tell a loved one what I’m doing and ask them to check back with me regularly on it. If nothing else, it’s a reminder to get on with it when you know they’re about to ask you the next time they see you!

But while that was all good practice and helpful, I found I would still struggle sometimes to keep up with my long list of goal and resolutions.  For me, the revelation came once I realised that…

… many of them could be achieved by really spending some time to think clearly about the HOW, WHAT & WHEN sections (of course having clarified the WHY) and then being really deliberate about developing new mini-habits to make them a reality.

Like for example one of the goals I have set for myself this year is to read 12 books – one a month.

Having just launched a new business, our boys now in their teen years, and as Andrea and I prepare to celebrate 25 years of marriage this year, I have a long list of both personal and business goals that I would dearly love to achieve to end 2018 feeling great.  So, my WHY for reading the books is clear.

Now I know that to some avid readers, 12 books is a “walk in the park”. But to anyone else like me though, that’s a seriously tall order. To make it happen, I decided I’m going to have to do something differently. I realised that one of the “suckers of my time” is social media. Now I know it’s all (well mostly anyway!) good stuff on there, but I have to admit that it’s not great in helping me achieve my objectives. For me, going on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or even WhatsApp can be like entering a Time Warp.  I go on to answer one message or pop-up… and before I know it half an hour, or worse still, a whole hour has passed!  Yes, I’ve responded to lots of messages and emails etc., but have I done what’s really important to me in achieving my goals… no.  So, I have decided my HOW would be by establishing a habit of NOT going on social media before midday.  Kind of funny to have a NOT-habit I know, but I have decided instead to use my time in the mornings for reading (my WHAT).  So, in those “spare” 5-10 minutes that I might have used to go onto social media – you know on the underground, waiting for a meeting to start, at bedtime, even on the toilet! – rather than taking out my phone, I’ll take out a book.  So that’s my WHEN clarified too.  I’ve asked Andrea to keep me accountable on this one.

One thing I would dearly like to do this year to help on the relationship front is to develop a habit of cooking – at least once a week.

Again, to the cooks out there, no biggie. But for me and others who don’t seem to have the cooking gene(!) it’s just something I have struggled to develop all my life.  For me, the path of least resistance often sees me just making a sandwich, opening a pack or tin of soup, or having something like crackers and cheese!  Cooking just seems like so much effort.  Now, thankfully, I’m blessed to be married to a totally excellent cook – and that’s not just me saying so, either! – so it’s been easy to leave her to flourish in her talent. 🙂  But I see that she could use some help from time to time, so I asked her at the beginning of the year how I could help her in this space and we agreed that by preparing one evening meal a week would be a great start.  I managed it in week one, but it’s already Saturday and I haven’t done so this week yet… so guess who’s doing dinner tonight!  I’ve put this out there now… so I’ll ask you guys to keep me accountable on this one, please. Whenever you feel like it, feel free to drop me a note asking me how I’m getting on with this one.  Be gentle on me, please…

All the best with it… and here’s looking forward to seeing how we all did in another 50 weeks’ time!

A road with 2018 in yellow painting.

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