What You’ll Learn Today:

  • If you’ve never tried to make relationship goals before, you’ll learn why you should
  • If you’ve made them before but they didn’t work, today you’ll learn why 
  • The six biggest mistakes people make when they set relationship goals, and how to avoid them! 
  • You’ll finally be able to make relationship goals that stick for the long-term!

Top Take-A-Ways:

Psychologists Gary Latham and Edwin Locke are known as the “fathers of goal-setting theory.” They did some groundbreaking work in the late 1960s and showed that creating a goal is one of the best and easiest ways to enhance performance and increase motivation and productivity. 

Goal setting is critical because it helps your brain focus and eliminates so much of the chatter in your head. Instead of a moving target, you have a clear path to the actions needed to create happiness and peace in whatever you’re trying to do or change (like your relationship).

There are six main mistakes I see people making when they’re setting relationship goals. Avoid these pitfalls, and you’ll see success. 

Mistake #1: Making Relationship Goals Together
Do NOT create relationship goals as a couple. Last I checked, you should be two separate people. Each of you has his or her own responsibility in the relationship. One of the main problems couples have is trying to control or keeping score with one another. Having your own goals and working on how you can improve the relationship keeps the focus on what you’re doing instead of on what your partner is (or is not) doing. 

Mistake #2: Not Committing First
The commitment needs to come first. When you have one foot in and one foot out, you’re not going to achieve your goals. 

Once again, if you’re looking to your partner to commit, so that you’ll commit – you’re in trouble. This is all about you putting in your 100%, and not focusing on what your partner is or isn’t saying or putting in. If you want to see commitment, act that way first. 

This is the quote to repeat to yourself any time your motivation feels wobbly:

“Until one is committed there is a hesitancy;

The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” – W. N. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Mistake #3: The Goal is Dependent on Your Partner
The goal can’t hinge on another person acting a certain way. It has to be something that is completely within your power to control. I know it’s hard not to focus on what our partners are doing or to not want them to act differently. However, you’ve got to remember that you cannot control what someone else does. You can only control you and what you do. 

Mistake #4: The Goal is Stated in the Negative
You need to state each goal for your relationship in positive language and not negative. In other words, you have to say what you do want, not what you don’t want. 

Mistake #5: You Don’t Get Clear on the “Why”
People think their thoughts drive them but that’s not it. It’s your feelings that drive you. 

You’ve got to get clear on why you want to achieve a certain relationship goal. To do that, you want to answer these four questions:

  1. What feelings are motivating you?  
  2. How will you feel when this goal is accomplished or while you’re doing it?  
  3. How will it affect your life when it’s complete?  
  4. Why is it important?  

Writing down these answers is just as critical as writing down the goal itself! 

Mistake #6: Not Scheduling
Lots of folks write out their goals and even note all the critical action steps  but then they make the mistake of not scheduling those action steps. For the specific formula for making achievable goals that stick, you can click on the link at the bottom for my Making Goals that Stick Checklist. 

I say it all the time: success is scheduled!!

Resources and Links:

Gary Latham and Edwin Locke: Motivation through goal setting  


Get Your Copy of the Making Goals that Stick Checklist