Ideas For New Year's Resolutions Ideas For Couples To Make As A Team

Love, Family

 We all want to experience growth and progress, and as the new year approaches, many of us feel the desire to make new beginnings. But how many of us have made New Year’s resolutions and broken them within a week?

The problem is that most of us are just really bad about making good goals. One of the most common mistakes people make is making goals that are too big or too vague. Goals like,  “This year I’m going to lose weight!”, or, “I will be nicer to my mother-in-law”, sound great, but are often impossible to accomplish.

Unrealistic goals set us up for failure and discouragment, which is why I’m a huge fan of taking baby steps. A smarter way to make goals is to start small. In other words, we need to make goals that are achievable, so that we can accomplish them and experience growth and victory.

Little victories boost our confidence and give us the power to make more goals. Success breeds success! By the way, Weight Watchers and kindergarten teachers have this down—they give stars and stickers for almost everything, and then everyone in the class acknowledges and celebrates each person's victories.

Making smart goals is hard enough on our own, but how about when we are in committed relationships and we want to make goals together? Making goals with another person can be quite different than making them for ourselves, and there are a few things that we tend to do that can get in the way of effective goal-making as couples. Here are the two most common ones to look out for:

  1. We say we want to make goals together as a couple, but often we really mean that we want our partners’ support in accomplishing our personal goals.

An example of this might be if one person wants to begin a diet and cajoles their partner into joining them, and then blames them for not sticking with it and thwarting their success.

       2. We think we’re making goals but we’re actually just making complaints.

An example of this would be when we say, “I wish my partner wasn’t so critical”, (that’s a complaint) vs. "I would really appreciate it if you could compliment me on my cooking once a week so I know you appreciate it.” (that’s a goal).

What are the antidotes to these mistakes?

  1. Frame our goals in a positive way: Instead of making a goal that focuses on what we want to avoid, craft our goals to focus on what we want to happen.
  2. Be action-oriented: Describe what we will be doing when we reach our goal. For example, instead of a vague goal such as “We need to communicate better”, we could say, “We will turn off the TV and look at each other when we talk.” See the difference?
  3. Break our goals down into bite-sized pieces: “This week I will”…rather than, “I will never do this again!” Have a beginning and an end to each goal, and make them for short periods of time. That way we can evaluate whether we’re making progress or not, or if we need to tweak the goal to make it more effective.

Here's an example of a clear, bite-size goal a couple could make together:

"We noticed that we often go to bed without really connecting to each other and wanted to change that. So, we made a goal to spend at least five minutes connecting with each other daily. We will do this by putting our phones away after 9:30 p.m. each night, and we’ll go to bed at the same time. We will do this for 2 weeks and then re-evaluate."

Now this is a goal a couple can measure, evaluate and accomplish!

Making effective goals as couples requires personal reflection, honest communication and investment.

As this year comes to a close, spend some time talking together about what you'd like to work on, change or improve in your relationship, and then make a goal together to address it. Make sure to state the goal in a positive way, make it action-oriented, bite-sized and have a time limit.

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Whether you make goals about finances, the kids, or communication challenges, it's one of the most concrete and practical ways to intentionally invest in your relationship, and a fabulous way to team up around issues that matter to you both. Here's to growth and victory in 2020!