Welcome to the new year, everyone! I apologize for the gap between my last post and this one, but I had a really good reason, promise! You see, I have an announcement that is related to this post, but I needed to tell some people before I posted it here. I promised that we would talk in this post about how to actually put your Relationship Christmas Gift into practice, and we will, but first, my announcement…
I’m pregnant! That’s right, I was one of the many (MANY) who announced their pregnancies to family over the Christmas holidays, and now are (finally!) free to share with everyone else.
Naturally, this has influenced my New Year’s Resolutions for the year. My resolutions for this year are as follows:
1. To maintain a romantic partnership with my husband in addition to our new role as parents
2. To continue posting to this blog regularly
3. To resist the temptation to turn this into a parenting blog (It is shocking how many marriage blogs subtly shift into parenting blogs when their authors have kids!)
Resolution #1 is also my Relationship Christmas Gift for this year, but how will I manage it with all of the changes happening this year? After all, we are also moving, and I am starting a new job. Well, let’s move on to our main topic for today: how to implement our Relationship Christmas Gifts in a way that ensures they will be long lasting changes, not just good intentions that we forget after a month or two.
Strategies for Maintaining Your Commitment
1. Focus on the Manageable and Essential
Pick Relationship Christmas Gifts that are manageable and that you are passionate about making happen. We talked about this before Christmas
, so we won’t go over it in detail now, but just remember, if it is too big or it doesn’t matter to you, you won’t stick to it.
2. Break Goals into Small, Specific Subgoals
You are more likely to stick with a goal if it is specific rather than vague, and doesn’t feel too overwhelming. For example, my goal of staying romantically connected with my husband could be divided into a subgoal of having a weekly date night (even if that just means doing something low key at home after the baby is born) and a subgoal of kissing him each morning before he leaves for work and greeting him each evening when he gets home.
3. Tie the Goal to Something You Already Do
This is one of the most effective strategies I know of for developing a new habit. Choose something that you already do regularly, and take a specific action toward your goal immediately before that action. For example, if you are trying to express gratitude to your husband at least once a day, and you are the one who turns out the bedroom light each night, you could thank him for something each day immediately before you turn off the light. Eating, brushing your teeth, turning on the TV, or anything else you do regularly can work for this. The reason this works is that the action you already do helps to remind you of the new habit you are developing.
4. Get a Partner and Report on a Regular Schedule
An accountability partner can be really helpful toward keeping your goal. They can be doing the same goal as you, or just be willing to support (and gently chastise) you if you start to fall away from your goal. The two times in my life when I have been able to exercise with regularity (which is often a goal of mine) were the two periods when I had committed exercise partners who helped me exercise even when I didn’t feel like it. Make sure your partner is someone who is reliable and who you can trust to be truthful in a helpful way.
Hope these strategies are helpful for you! If you have other strategies, feel free to post them in the comments. Next week we will go back to our regularly scheduled programming about how to reduce the stress in your marriage. See you Monday!