It's mid-January; how are those New Year's resolutions going?
According to data collected in 2018 by the fitness app Strava, Jan. 17 is when many begin to give up on their resolutions. By early to mid-February, many have thrown in the towel. What does this mean for you and for your relationship?
If you set goals as a couple, maybe to rein in finances or invest in your marriage, failure can seem detrimental, especially if one spouse is ready to give up. At the same time, the other wants to push forward. When both partners aren't on the same page regarding goals for their relationship, resentment can develop. One person throwing the towel in may lead the other to think they don't care or are lazy. So what do you do?
A failed goal doesn't mean that your relationship is a failure. Remember, your relationship's health is most important. It may be time to press pause on the pursuit of the goal and reevaluate. Have a conversation about why one or both of you have decided to give up. Communication is a necessity! Don't wait. Talk.
Ask yourselves if the goal is a mutual interest or if one spouse wants this and the other went along trying to support it. My wife and I have the goal to be a healthier couple physically. We want to be healthier for our kids, but we don't go about it the same way. I may have my eyes set on running a marathon. She may be pursuing healthier eating habits and consistent cardio workouts. We support each other and are each other's No. 1 cheerleader. We're committed to helping each other reach our goals.
Don't worry; Jan. 1 doesn't hold any magical power when it comes to goal setting. You can adjust and start fresh on whatever day you choose.
Here are some questions to ask if you feel like your relationship goals aren't going as well as you hoped this year:
* Who do you want to be as a couple? As a spouse?
* What is the motivation for the goals?
* Do you have a plan?
* Are the goals realistic and achievable?
Knowing the why and how is essential to accomplishing the goal. Identify who you are as a couple and your identity, then work the plans out from there. Maybe as a couple, you want to influence others to prioritize their relationship by having consistent date nights. That's your goal. How do you work it out? Schedule your date nights, and make them a priority on your calendar. Other people will recognize this, and you may influence another couple to do the same.
Realizing a goal is about who you want to be as a person; achieving it is a journey, not a pass/fail. You can and will make adjustments as you go. Adjusting is not a sign of failure but a sign of growth. Commit to working together and supporting one another.
Don't let failed resolutions affect your marriage. Step back, have a conversation, reset your goals and plan for success.
Mitchell Qualls is operations director at family advocacy nonprofit First Things First. Email him at email@example.com.