For this week, choose a relationship in your life that you’d like to do some work on. Pick one that you confident about, in terms of your willingness and ability to make some changes in how you approach it.
Consider what sorts of changes you’d like to make in this relationship. Here are a few examples of simple goals:
- to enhance your communication
- to do some repair after a conflict or argument
- to be more spontaneous
- to convey gratitude
- to get better at expressing and articulating your feelings
- to learn something new about this person
- to have that conversation that you’ve been avoiding because the “timing just isn’t right”
- insert your own ideas here
Consider what incremental steps to your relationship goal might look like. These steps, in the process of changing how we relate to each other, should be small, manageable and yet a little bit challenging and uncomfortable for us. The more we push ourselves to the fringes of our comfort zone, in terms of how we communicate and relate to one another, the more we grow and learn about ourselves. But there’s no need to push too far, or to think we have to make great leaps all at once. Incremental, steady and thoughtful steps are most effective in building towards long-term progress in our relationships.
Determine what you can do to further yourself towards the goal on a daily basis. Think of something that may take 5 minutes or less for you to complete or engage in.
Make a plan to commit to your daily objectives for the next week. And if you miss a day, don’t rent too much headspace about it. Instead, gently redirect yourself back to the goal at hand.
If our goal is to convey gratitude, maybe we could express our gratitude in a note, card or voice message once a day. If our goal is to be more spontaneous, maybe we could make this person a dinner that neither of us has ever eaten, or we could watch a movie that’s outside of our interest area. Novelty and spontaneity in relationships helps to “mix things up” and allows us to get “new” reactions and perspectives from our partners and friends, which gives us a chance to learn new things about them.