As the New Year gets into its swing, many people are setting goals and trying to accomplish them. Many clients have sought out couples therapy in Littleton to improve their relationship, interpersonal functioning, or something else. Even if you don’t need the help of a professional, consider these top mistakes that couples make when setting their relationship goals, as well as the tools to help make those better goals!
Mistake #1: Your goal includes someone else other than yourself.
If you have set a relationship goal such as “my parent will be….” or “my partner will change…” you’re in for a failure! One of the most important things that psychologists in Highlands Ranch know is that you can only change one person’s behavior: your own! If you want to see a change in your significant other’s behavior, you can set goals to help them, but you cannot force that change. Want to help your partner work toward a goal? Set your own goals and stick to them. Often, when one partner is more invested in change than the other, using strategies such as active listening can help.
Mistake #2: Your goal needs a magic wand.
If your goals are structured along the lines of “have a good relationship,” “stop fighting,” or “get closer to one another,” you may end up frustrated. Why? Because your goal only includes the endpoint, not the work you need to get there. You didn’t go into your relationship seeking to disconnect, argue all the time, or feel distant—the problem is, it happened. Instead of seeking a magic wand to fix everything, set goals that address the work that needs to be done. Change your goals to “attend couples therapy in Littleton every week,” “find a babysitter and commit to date night every Friday,” or “practice taking space when feeling angry” and you’ll see better results!
Mistake #3: Your goal is impossible.
This is a tough one, and it varies from couple to couple. Is your goal truly realistic? Some examples of unrealistic goals include “we will never fight again,” or “I will always keep my cool.” Remember, you and your partner are human! Instead, set reasonable goals, such as “when fights occur, we will take 10 minutes to calm down and reconnect” or “when I lose my cool, I will apologize before we go to bed.” A perfect goal is often “failed” very quickly, but a realistic one can help you keep growing and improving together. The SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) can help you to make a realistic goal!
For more help setting goals, making change, and connecting to those you love most, set up an appointment with a skilled couples therapist in Littleton. Dr. Lazarus has helped plenty of couples to see eye to eye, solve conflict productively, and grow closer in their marriages.