We’ve all been there with New Year resolutions and relationship goals are no different, we start with vigour then it fizzles out to nothing. In fact, it is better to go into the new goal knowing that you will fall off the wagon AND have a strategy in place for it.
The reason many relationship goals or resolutions don’t work is a lack of consistency.
A recent study, by Phillippa Lally from University College London, found that it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a habit and 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. Not the 21 days we have been led to believe for decades by Dr Maltz, who by the way was just reflecting on his own practice.
The first thing you can do when setting any goal is to adjust your expectations. It will make all the difference in how you judge yourself as you strive to achieve it.
When you do fall off the wagon it can be helpful to evaluate why by asking the following questions:-
- What has worked well?
- What didn’t work so well?
- What changes can I make that will help move me towards my goal?
As the study mentioned above shows, consistency is key. So how can you make your new habits or relationship goals consistent?
One way to do this is to attach a new habit to an existing one.
Let’s use an example from my previous blog – The 3 Goals to Set This Year.
The goal was communication and the habit was to schedule time each Sunday to plan the week ahead, including coffee and ‘us’ time.
Ok, let’s start with an existing habit. Every Sunday you have breakfast together.
Instead of rushing off into the day, extend breakfast time to include the new habit.
So your new routine becomes, every Sunday you have breakfast together and afterwards, you plan the week ahead including coffee and ‘us’ time.
As the study states you will need to repeat this new habit several times before it becomes automatic!
If you would like to read the previous blogs in this series about relationship goals then you can find them on my blog page at www.thehappinesscouch.com/blog or you can follow The Happiness Couch on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Oh and don’t forget to let me know how you get on with your relationship goals!