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Everything You Need to Know About Relationship Goal Setting

The legs of four teens reading and sitting on a wall. Each one wears distinctive sneakers and pants.

Many of us are familiar with the benefits of setting goals, particularly when it comes to work and business, but not so many of us have considered relationship goal setting.

In today’s fast-paced world we can be guilty of overlooking our relationship with our partners.

Work, children, social commitments and other competing factors can all put strain and tension on relationships – even the strongest ones.

According to Psychology Today, relationship goal setting is a necessity and the key to happiness in all areas of life.

How to Set Relationship Goals

Relationship goal setting starts with booking a time in both of your diaries to sit down, preferably at a day and time when you are relaxed and are unlikely to be disturbed.

This means turning off all devices and turning up with a positive attitude. This is an opportunity to share your hopes and desires with your partner.

Your Relationship Goals

In figuring how to set goals, consider what would make each of you as an individual, as well as a couple, happy.

Relationship goals can relate to any areas of your life, such as emotional support, health, financial goals, creating a family, travel and individual goals.

One of your relationship goals though should include regularly spending one-on-one time with each other, that doesn’t involve children, other people or chores.

You may also like to set some goals relating to managing everyday or household tasks, as these can quickly become sources of tension in a relationship.

SMART Goal Setting

One of the best ways to ensure success when it comes to achieving your relationship goals is to set SMART goals.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific – identify exactly what you want. Eg. Spend more time together vs. Spend one-on-one time together without distractions at least once a week.
  • Measurable – quantify your goal. Eg. Save up for a house deposit vs. Save $10,000 for a house deposit by the end of the year.
  • Actionable – make your goal more powerful and easier to action by starting with a verb. Eg. Be a good listener vs. Listen actively to my partner whenever they are speaking.
  • Realistic – while it’s good to be ambitious and have goals that stretch you, they need to be doable. Eg. Win American Ninja Warrior vs. Participate in a triathlon.
  • Time-bound – identify a timeframe or deadline for each goal. Eg. Travel more vs. Book a trip to New York for this year.

It’s important to write down your goals, and limit the overall number of goals to an achievable number of between five and seven.

Monitoring Your Goals

You should regularly review and monitor your goals with you partner. Sit down on a weekly or fortnightly basis to discuss progress and actions that need to be taken.

Along the way, regularly remind yourself that you and your partner are a team. You are in this together and are each other’s cheer squad.

Get Help with Goal Setting

Some couples may benefit from seeking a counselor to help with specific goals, or with any underlying tension or discomfort in the relationship.