Self-care is one of the most critical tools at your disposal to maintain healthy relationships. Here are a few of Dr. John Gottman’s tips for goal-setting as you work to create a healthier lifestyle, both for yourself as well as for your relationship.
Make your goals specific and measurable
Rather than telling your partner that you would like to talk more, suggest that you go on a date every other Saturday. Even if you just get delivery and have dinner at home, find some time for just the two of you.
Think about the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of making healthy changes
Dinner at home, just the two of you, is a “pro” because of the ability to feel closer to each other and relax. Maybe a “con” would be those delivery expenses or, if you’re a parent, finding a babysitter. Does the “pro” outweigh the “con”?
Break big goals into little ones
Go slow. Don’t expect your relationship to change overnight. Start with putting an emphasis on dating again or practice recognizing bids. These smaller tasks will help you accomplish your larger goals.
Ask for support
If you want to take care of yourself, remember the people closest to you are the ones you can count on. Call them if you want a boost of encouragement.
Anticipate obstacles and have a backup plan
Imagine the difficulties you may face in accomplishing your goal. For example, if going on a run every morning is unrealistic, try to come up with a solution that you feel confident will work. Could you work out a carpool with other parents so you have more time to yourself? Could you run in the evenings?
Don’t forget to reward yourself for short-term and long-term successes.
Play around with these ideas and enjoy taking time for yourself. Remember, these are tools that are meant to be practiced far beyond the next couple of days. If you get into a healthy, stable regimen of self-care, you and your relationship will be re-energized and strengthened.