Lose weight. Save money. Write a book. Read more. When you think about goal-setting, you most likely think about targets like these. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence attesting to the success of setting goals.
If goal-setting is so powerful in other areas of your life, what would happen if you applied the same principles to your relationships? Can goal-setting improve your romantic relationship? What about friendships? Could goal-setting change the dynamics in your family relationships for the better? Research indicates that using goal-setting in relationships can be just as powerful as it is in other areas.
As you evaluate your relationships, maybe you need to repair a damaged friendship. You may need to remove a relationship from your life or want to cultivate a new set of friends. No matter what the state of your current relationships, using goal-setting can help you move forward.
How can you use goal-setting effectively in your relationships?
Determine the relationship for which you want to create goals.
Evaluate what you want the relationship to look like.
Discuss the relationship and your goals for it with the other person in the relationship, if appropriate. Having shared goals lets everyone in the relationship know what direction the relationship is headed, and helps to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in the relationship.
Use the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting process
Ensure the goal is Specific. (The goal: improve communication in the evening.)
Make the goal Measurable. (The goal: Improve communication 3 nights a week with each person having at least 3 mins to explain something they experienced that day.)
Craft a goal that is Attainable. (The goal: Improve communication 3 nights a week.)
Write a Realistic goal. (It may not be realistic to have heart-to-heart conversations every night. By setting a target of 3 nights, the goal is more realistic.)
Add a deadline to your goal. (The goal: improve communication 3 nights a week by the end of 3 months.)
Build an accountability system. Be accountable to one another and encourage each other to work towards your shared goal. Do regular evaluations to determine the progress that is being made towards the goal.
Celebrate your accomplishments. As you make even the smallest steps towards your goal, make a point of recognizing and celebrating them. This will encourage everyone in your relationship to keep pressing towards the target goal.
Nurturing your relationships can repair a damaged relationship, smoothly remove a toxic relationship or solidify an already successful relationship.
Using the SMART goal setting program keeps the attention on your relationship and the progress being made. It may feel weird at first, but anything worth improving is worth trying a new approach to. In addition, successfully reaching your goal can reinforce positive behaviors in the relationship and increase the success in other parts of your life.
All relationships take work. Whether your relationship is brand new, has lasted for decades or has become toxic, using goal-setting can make a difference. To advance in both maturity and preparation for the future, don’t let your relationships coast by, make your relationship a priority by setting effective goals for the future.
You’ll reap the reward of having strong relationships and will have proven to yourself the effectiveness of goal-setting. Are you ready to use goal-setting in your relationships? Which relationship are you beginning with?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.