More on goals…
Why goals are a good thing for relationships
Having and achieving goals is good for your relationship. As you may already recognise from other areas of your life, you feel better when you’re on top of your goals.
It’s hard to underestimate the positive power of a partner supporting you in your individual goals. Whatever those goals may be, having the support of a loved one can feel like your dreams are being honoured. But it doesn’t just feel good – studies have shown that having support from a partner can make you more likely to achieve those dreams.
How to choose goals
Supporting each other’s goals is one of the best ways to strengthen your relationship, so a great start is to choose goals that honour your partner. What’s even better is to choose shared goals. When you choose and work towards goals together, you’re even more likely to feel happy with your relationship.
Being happy with your relationship is one of the most effective ways to improve your general wellbeing. Several studies have shown that setting and achieving relationship goals is directly linked to your relationship quality.
You will benefit most from setting positive goals that aim to increase the happiness in your relationship. These could relate to better communication, spending more quality time together, or anything else that feels right to you.
When you set intentions to be happy together, you’re demonstrating to yourselves and each other that your relationship matters to you. As well as the positive effects of achieving these goals, the simple act of setting them can start to improve things.
How to set goals
No two relationships are the same, so we don’t try to measure them all in the same way. Having goals that are personalised to your relationship will be a more relevant and valuable way of measuring your progress than trying to meet someone else’s idea of what makes a good relationship. Figure out together what your idea of a good relationship is, and work towards that.
Think about what you and your partner have in common – what do you like, and what is important to you? As a couple, what would you both like to be better at? Thinking about these things can help you to find shared goals.
When your vision of a happy relationship is similar to your partner’s, your relationship is more likely to succeed.
How do you know when you’re happy with your relationship? This might seem like a strange question, but it’s worth thinking about what happiness really means to you. You know whether or not you’re happy, but how do you know? What are the things you see, hear, or feel that tell you things are going well in your relationship?
What are your ingredients for a happy relationship? Communicating well? Spending time together? Having enough free time to do the things you enjoy doing?
Think about which factors are important to you, but also what those factors mean to you – if good communication is important, what does it mean for communication to be good? Lots of chatting over dinner? Feeling like you’re being heard? Being able to talk about your feelings?
The better you understand what matters to you, the easier it will be to measure it, monitor it, and work towards it.
Some ideas to think about when deciding on your goals:
- Increased emotional intimacy
- More quality time together
- Quantity and quality of sexual activity
- Feeling mentally and emotionally stimulated
- Safety and comfort
- Financial stability
- Positive parenting
Some goals can only be sought and achieved through shared participation. You can’t have a good relationship on your own.
This isn’t about tit for tat, or trying to balance some kind of emotional chequebook; it’s about having shared goals.
Note that not all relationship goals are necessarily shared goals. ‘Keep laughing together’ is a shared goal, but ‘Be nicer to my partner’ is an individual goal.