There is something about new beginnings and starting over that can excite us but can sometimes be intimidating and give us a small case of anxiety. January 1st is the day that, for many of us, marks a day of promises to ourselves, and sometimes to others. We are past that date and I am sure many of us have either stopped, tweaked it, or are being extra meticulous about getting “it” done. We often promise to be healthier, drink more water, be a more present parent, workout more, work less, spend less time on social media, spend more time with loved ones, spend less money, save more with a purpose, and the list goes on and on.  While all of these promises are made with the purest and motivated intentions, along the way, we find ourselves forgetting them and setting them aside. It is not done intentionally, it just happens. But why? Why do we find ourselves not being able to stay committed to a goal, especially when we are passionate about it and crave to be successful on it? I think a lot of it has to do with making grandiose promises to ourselves and not breaking it down to it being more about self-care and making it more personalized and applicable to our lives. How can we do that?  One that we sometimes often overlook is setting goals together as a couple. What are your couple goals? How do you set those?

  1. Plan on Purpose and with a Purpose: There is something to be said about paper. When we can physically see it and hold it or tape it to our mirror, we feel a little bit more inclined to do it. So instead of having it in your phone, take a moment to get comfy and sit down with your partner and plan out what caring for the relationship means to the relationship and what that would look like. Ask each other “If you woke up tomorrow and your life was the way you wanted it to be for our relationship, what would be different and give you clues that things had changed?” When we stop and reflect what the purpose is of our purpose, we can start to get to the root of things.

  2. Take a personal assessment of your relationship and ask each other where you are in life. The best way to improve on the relationship, be it physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, or relationally, you must start at being more self-aware and honest with yourself and each other about the state of the relationship and what is going on in your life. It is so easy for us to not be as transparent and vulnerable as we should be with our partner.

  3. Check your heart and evaluate what are the most important things in your life. One of the most important things I stress to my couples is for them to sit down and make a list of their values, passions, and strengths. Do not make it long! Making it long can be overwhelming. I say no less than 3 and no more than 5 of each. By looking at those, we can get closer to the core of our heart and what is most important to us.

  4. Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Goals and Actions. Start by writing down what you would like to see happen every single month. From there, you can write down what would need to happen every week in order for you to reach your monthly goal. Once that has happened, you can then write down daily actions that will lead you to success! By breaking it down like this, you will not feel so overwhelmed and think that your desired goal is unachievable or too hard. Now, this is to provide structure, not rigidity, and not to make you feel like if you do not follow it perfectly, you will fail, because you will not. You only plan to fail if you fail to plan. It is just an outline and structure to keep you motivated and focused.

  5. Write down non-negotiables for your relationship. For example- a non-negotiable could be that every 4th of July, you will head out to the beach as a couple and do a getaway. It is a time that has been set aside every single year, you both look forward to it, and nothing can interfere with it! Others can be how you navigate through the relationship together and how you plan to function based off your values and principles as a couple. Whatever they may be, remember to stick to them and revisit them as you go through various life milestones because they might change slightly. Or they might not at all.

What are some tools that you can use to keep you on track you might ask? Below is a list that I have found to be successful with not only clients, but in my own personal life.

  1. Keep the lines of communication open at all times. If something needs to be talked about, voice it! Talk about it! If that moment is not a great time, voice that you want to revisit a goal or create one, but understand the timing to do so is not convenient and schedule a time to talk about it.

  2. Make time once a week or every so often to go over your goals as a couple. It is a check-in to see if for the week, or past month, was the team contributing to the overall goal together? What worked? What did not work? What needs to be given grace and more time to grow?

  3. Pick designated times to discuss all of these important things and do not do them when you are putting the kids down for the evening, right after your partner comes home from work, or just at times when it would make it difficult to be able to process your goals and discuss them as a couple more in depth.

  4. Remember that you picked your partner because you truly believe you are a team that complements each other well and it is imperative to keep that “together” team mentality. The relationship is one that you build on together, but the only way it will stand the test of time is if you keep bringing the relationship back to this: “Are we fulfilling the daily steps it takes to get to our overall relationship goal?” This aids in improving the relationship more and more each day.

  5. Check in with and on your partner. Share the relationship together and do not put all the responsibly of it on just one person.