My goal with this series, Best Relationship Advice, is to give you some tips that you can deploy and see positive results in a relatively short amount of time.
Today I’m focusing on tips that will give you positive results the SAME DAY (or in a super short amount of time – give me a break here, I’m a Relationship Maven not a Miracle Maven).
I’m not sure exactly how many “rounds” this series will have, but I can tell you it’ll be more than this one (you know me, I can’t shut up).
So, let’s get to it:
Quick Win Tip #1: Have a Sense of Urgency
One of the biggest issues I see with couples is that they don’t have a sense of urgency when it comes to working on their relationship. When things are bad, it’s all you can think about as you’re debating whether you can suffocate them in their sleep and get away with it (some form of the Twinkie defense but instead it’s the dirty-sock-on-the-floor again defense? Justifiable homicide? Surely the judge would let you off when you mention that he was chewing with his mouth open again or that she threw away your favorite sweatpants just because they were a little stained!).
Then, when things are going well (“I have the greatest husband in the world” “She’s the love of my life”) you don’t even think about all those great tools you learned. Who needs those now? Things are really pretty great; I just need to be more patient, think positive thoughts (insert Dali-Lama-like thought here).
When we have a sense of urgency we get shit done! Creating an artificial deadline is an excellent way to get things out of the slow lane and into the fast lane. If you go to the gym to “get into shape” you likely won’t do as well as if you joined the gym to train for a 5K you’ve signed up for that’s happening next month. See what I mean?
Take your relationship off the back burner and put it on the front burner TODAY. Start acting like it’s a priority RIGHT NOW and you’ll see amazing things start to change. Give yourself a timeline: “I’m committed to making my relationship great by X date” (maybe 7 or 30 days from now) and watch what happens. Make the change, commit to the change and stop waiting.
Quick Win Tip #2: Keep Your Promises: Especially to Yourself
If you want to build trust in your relationship, you’ve got to build trust in yourself first. This means, when you say you’re going to do something, you do it, no matter what.
When the alarm goes off in the morning, do NOT hit the snooze button. Keep your commitment to yourself and get out of bed. If you say you’re not eating sugar, don’t eat sugar. If you say you’re going out with your best friend on Thursday night, go out – even if you don’t feel like it by Thursday afternoon because you’re so tired. Do you see what I mean?
Every time you blow yourself off (that sounded wrong) you’re doing damage. Every time you don’t keep a promise or commitment you made to yourself, it becomes easier not to keep it the next time, and the next. As you keep doing this, you become an untrustworthy person to yourself. You say stuff and have no real intention anymore of having to follow through.
The problem is two-fold. First, all these broken promises make your self-esteem and self-confidence take a nosedive. You start feeling crappy about yourself and that shows up in your life.
The second issue is that your partner picks up on this and then they feel like they can’t trust you. You say you’re going to do things and then you don’t. How can I trust you to always have my back or be there for me if you can’t even be there for yourself? Your relationship suffers.
Right now, make a commitment that your word is law. If you say it, it’s as good as done – no matter how small the issue is!
Quick Win Tip #3: Focus on Appreciation (not Gratitude)
Gratitude and appreciation are different. While it’s great to be grateful in your relationship and life, to really transform your relationship you want to focus on appreciating your partner as much as possible, every day.
Appreciation is in the here and now. It means you’re present in your relationship and noticing “all the things.” As you bring this present focus into your relationship, you’ll feel the shift immediately. It’s a means of looking at your partner in a different way because you’re looking for what’s good and what’s working in each moment.
Quick Win Tip #4: Set Intention Before You See Your Partner
I talk about setting intention a lot because IT’S A GAME CHANGER!
You always have an intention but, because you haven’t consciously set it, you don’t usually call it that or think of it in those terms.
For example, sometimes you might have the intention to be passive aggressive, hopeless or enraged, but not think of that as an intention – you’re just reacting or you’re just “feeling that way.”
Consistently working on self-awareness will help you become aware of your intentions and get off of autopilot.
Setting intention means having your intentions or your thoughts consciously directed toward a desired outcome.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an intention as “the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose.” This simple definition is perfect because it outlines what intentions really do, at their very core: they give you greater control of your life and your relationship.
Quick Win Tip #5: Be Your Partner’s Biggest Cheerleader
And your final tip to have a quick win in your relationship and create real, lasting change? Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader.
So, NEVER talk shit about your partner or complain about them to a bunch of different people or people who aren’t supportive of your relationship. If you have a problem with your partner, you should be having that conversation with them, not with anyone else.
Talking bad about your partner to others will erode your respect for them and make you feel worse about the relationship, not better.
I always say that you should pick one person, two TOPS, outside of your relationship as confidants. It’s best if one of these is a therapist or other trusted professional. Speak to them only if there’s something you can’t figure out in your relationship. Otherwise, tell your partner it’s time for a talk.
Being their biggest cheerleader also means you respect that your partner has different hobbies, interests, and perspectives. Just because you would spend your time and energy differently, doesn’t mean it’s better or worse.