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Best relationship resolutions for singles
As we approach another New Year it is time for that time honored tradition of setting our resolutions. Every year many folks do just that and every year many of them forget about or abandon theirs before Valentine's Day has arrived. It's as though we feel some obligation to observe the ritual, but we either don't take it seriously, don't give it enough thought, run out of resolve, or just don't know how to set and keep realistic and achievable goals.
Many people think about what they would like to change about themselves or their life. Often their desires involve personal, lifestyle and/or relationship goals. What is often overlooked is that these are all connected and that in order to be successful in one of these, you may need to address one of the others. Therefore, any goals you set need to be seen through a lens large enough to give you a good snapshot of your overall self and life. From there, you can break the goal down into specific areas and look at how they impact one another and how each can be used to support and enhance the others. These smaller steps are called objectives--and each goal should be broken down this way with concrete and actionable steps, timelines, and any needed resources, and then written down and put into your schedule.
The following are my pick of the best relationship goals for singles. For each, I will discuss its importance to the others and explain how each is a steppingstone towards a healthy, mutually satisfying and long term relationship.
* Work on yourself first
Essentially this means you need to be OK with you before you can expect to find and sustain a healthy intimate relationship. Examples of what you could address under this area are health concerns (weight, diet, medical issue (s), mental health issues). If you have been struggling with any of these, chances are it has contributed to low self-esteem, mood disorders, poor coping mechanisms, conflicts with others and/or an unhappy dating and relationship life. Therefore, your resolutions will need to focus solely on this issue until you begin to have a healthy grasp on it, and are adequately addressing it so that it will not continue to be a relationship killer.
Make sure you don't try to change too many things at once (examples are weight and depression). Instead, set a goal for one of these, list shorter objectives or steppingstones for it- and make sure you write down when you will do what and have outlined in your actionable steps. Then you will move to the next issue when the first is being addressed and you are ready to start another.
It might be that you will spend a large part of the coming year getting a handle on these personal goals and making significant changes. If so, you will not be wasting your time, instead you will be laying an important foundation for future happiness and success.
* Get your financial affairs in order
Like it or not, your credit score and overall financial health will matter to any perspective partners. It's common now for people to Google their dates or romantic interests to learn more about this aspect of their lives. You financial health will impact your ability to date in general and could become an issue if you can't afford to do things your date wants to do, are always strapped for cash and/or have to live so frugally that you don't have the extra income to spend on leisure time pursuits and interests. Money matters because it directly impacts your lifestyle, future choices about where you will live, having children, etc--and any potential partner will have concerns about a future with someone who has debts or other money problems that would become theirs as well should they move to a committed relationship.
* Know what you want and can't live with in a partner/relationship
This is a key piece of relationship readiness. Too often people make choices based on unconscious needs, desires and what they learned growing up or from a past relationship. If someone has a history of dysfunctional relationships they are at risk of repeating them. If they have come out of a very bad relationship, they may be attracted to people who appear to be the opposite of what their ex was, which can set them up for something worse. What you want is to moved towards a relationship because it is what you know is good for you, one that will be mutually satisfying and healthy. You want a thinking relationship that you have chosen, not one that attracts you as a way to run from something you are trying to leave behind.
* Deal with any past relationship issues that could get in your way
This goal connects with the one before it. If you are rebounding, avoiding painful work related to resolving a past traumatic relationship, uncomfortable being single and in search of any relationship to fill the gap left by someone else--stop, take inventory and work to put your past ghosts in the past so you are free to love again for the right reasons.
* Work on raising your EQ (emotional intelligence)
This is an area I could (and probably will) write a book about. EQ is all about that intuitive and emotional side that picks up on information from others, correctly assesses what they are communicating and helps us calibrate our responses in order to bring about healthy and positive interactions. "Clueless" people have low EQ. They may be intellectually superior, but this does not mean that they have good EQ. These are very distinct--and one without the other often leads to poor relationship and career outcomes for many people. Read up on this important piece to successful relating, quiz yourself to see how well you score--then consider setting a goal to raise your EQ in 2014.
* Try something new- at least once a month
It was Einstein who said that " Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." If you have been going about seeking relationships in a way that has not brought about success, stop and try something new. This does not mean that you have to change everything all at once. In fact, I would never recommend this. Just explore what else is out there, think outside the box, be willing to take a risk or two--and try something new and outside your usual comfort zone. Do this at least once a month. Some ideas--sign up on a new dating site, try a new app, join a new group or try one of their events as a guest, consider volunteering, or take up a new sport you have always wanted to try, to name a few possibilities.
* Don't put off that passion or goal until you find the one, start NOW
Too often singles put their life on hold until they find the one to make those future plans with. This can leave you renting when you have always wanted to own, not moving to that new city, going back to school, changing careers or pursuing a life changing passion--all because you fear that as soon as you take steps towards one of these the one you have waited for will come along. Not so. In fact, it is more probable he or she will come along because you are living a full and satisfying life, which is a big turn on for any potential partner.
Hopefully this list will offer you a great starting point on designing you 2014 goals. Doing this right could be life changing- and help you attract the life and relationship you want. Don't wait--you still have four days till New Years, which is enough time to get poised for a great new year.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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