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Last Updated on July 15, 2021

11 Relationship Goals Happy Couples Have

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11 Relationship Goals Happy Couples Have

Happy couples don’t just magically happen. It takes a lot more work than simply walking down the aisle, saying vows, and making googly eyes at each other because once the excitement of the wedding and the honeymoon is over, comes the real work.

Creating relationship goals that you, as a couple, can aspire to, sets you up as a team right from the get-go. Being a team—a partnership—provides each of you with a safety net. You have each others’ backs so that you don’t fall, and if you do, there’s someone to catch you before you get too hurt.

Relationship goals are beneficial because you have an aim—something to work for that will enhance your partnership.[1] By having goals, you know when you reach them, when you fall short, and why. Goals keep you working—not working for me, me, me, but working for us, us, us.

Below, I’ve listed some note-worthy goals to make your relationship happy, friendly, and solid.

1. Go Through the Rough Patches as Allies

Let’s face it, all couples go through hard times. But having a goal right from the beginning that you’ll be there for each other, not only during the fun and happy times but especially through the most challenging times, increases your chances of making it through.

Set up a goal for those prickly times. Make it so that when the bad times hit, you pull closer together, not farther apart. Discuss this prior to the hiccups. It’s like having the fire extinguisher ready before the fire, not after the fire burns down the house.

According to Karensuestudios, “the key to setting goals, is to set attainable goals. You start small and work your way up.”[2]

2. Become the Best Versions of Yourselves, Together!

Being in a relationship can become its own comfort zone. The things you used to do while dating may fall by the wayside. Maybe you stop caring about your appearance, or you start taking each other for granted. You both stop growing as individuals and as a couple. This can easily create a rut.

Just because you’re with someone who loves you for who you are, that doesn’t mean you stop evolving. Never allow yourself to stop growing. The show must go on—you must go on. Keep learning, expanding, and reaching for higher ground. Doing this will keep you more interested in life, not to mention more interesting to your partner. This is how cracks in the marriage are avoided.

“A healthy relationship is kind of like a trinity, two individuals create something deeper and better than themselves, yet they are still themselves. For a relationship to grow, you must also grow as an individual and not lose yourself. This can be really hard for mothers. They can get so caught up in work, husband, children, that they don’t know who they are anymore” —Silouan Green

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If you each become the best version of yourself, your partnership becomes the best version of itself!

3. Be Each Others’ Cheerleaders

There is no room for jealousy in a relationship. Sometimes, couples can be competitive, especially if they have high-powered jobs. Or there may exist some ulterior motives for why one partner might not want the other one to succeed.

Supporting each others’ dreams and goals is essential to a marriage’s longevity. Be happy for each other. Root for each other when needed. That makes your partner feel supported, and it will encourage them even more. If each partner is happy, they are more likely to work on maintaining a happy union.

4. Dedicate Time to Each Other

When there are copious responsibilities to attend to, it’s easy to put your partner on the back burner. After all, you live together—you “see” each other all the time. You might think, “It’s okay. I’ll talk to them later, or tomorrow. No biggie.” But it is a biggie.

Relationships need tending to. Your time together needs to be prioritized. If not, it’s too easy for other things to take its place. People can feel ignored and lonely in marriage.

Dedicating time to each other is extremely important. It is how you stay connected—how you stay current in each other’s lives. Neglecting your partner because there are more “important” things to do will not keep your partnership grounded and solid.

5. Speak Well and Respectfully of Each Other

I’ve listened to many couples speak ill about their partner. You would think they’re talking about their arch-nemesis, instead of their honey. What happened? This is the person to whom you made googly eyes, remember?

Talking about your partner’s flaws and painting them in a bad light is never productive. In fact, the person listening will not forget how bad your spouse is. so, the next time they see you together, they may think, “Poor Mirna. There’s that monster she married.”

Having arguments is normal, but try to fix them between the two of you. Don’t drag others into the mix. Talking badly and disrespectfully of each other simply leaves a bad taste in other people’s mouths, not to mention yours!

6. Learn Each Others’ Love Language and Speak it

We all love in different ways, and we all like to be shown love differently. That’s why it’s important to sit down with your partner and find out how they want to be shown love.

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For instance, my husband taking my Jeep and filling it up is an act of service, which is a love language I really appreciate.[3] While I love the flowers he sometimes brings home, they’re not as exciting to me as having my car gassed up and ready to go. Some people are touchy, feely, while others love to be told they are loved in words.

Make it a goal to find out what your partner’s love language is, then show them you love them in a way that will make them feel even more loved.

7. Try New Things Together

Be on the lookout to explore new territory. It doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, it just has to be new.

My husband and I work out regularly, but I’m always searching for new things. So, this past Sunday, I said, “We’re not doing our regular workout today!” My husband just stared at me wide-eyed (he doesn’t like change), but I don’t care. I said, “Today, we’re trying a Bollywood workout. Let’s go!” I found a workout on YouTube, and for the next 30 minutes, we huffed and puffed, jumped and danced, and had a great time. After it was over, he turned to me and said, “Boy, that was hard and fun.”

My son and his wife did something similar—rollerskating. To take the edge off the day-to-day grind, they decided to try rollerskating. Now they make it a date night every Monday night. They’re exercising, dancing, and sharing a new experience. Together!

According to Maggie Peikon,[4]

“Enhancing experiences that already make you happy by putting a new spin on them is another way to try something “new” in a less intimidating form. Switching things up can help to keep you inspired and motivated. Because, let’s be honest, it can be quite dull and uneventful following the same monotonous routine day in and day out.”

8. Fulfill Your Vows and Commitment to Each Other

Wedding vows can be beautiful and moving. But what happens after the wedding is over, after the excitement wears off, and you’re now not dancing at your own wedding party, but living a regular life?

Vows and commitments are important. As your marriage ages, things can get stale. The promise, “I will love you for always, and treat you like a Queen,” are just words recited on a special day. It’s the follow-through that’s important.

According to the article, 5 Ways Your Wedding Vows Will Save Your Marriage,[5]

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“But wedding vows force us to rethink what is important and what we value. Vows force us to recognize that we need to appreciate each other on a regular basis. Wedding vows let couples hear why they are chosen and fulfill their need to feel wanted and appreciated. Vows such as “Your creativity and talent inspire me,” tell our partners what is important to them. One of our favorite quotes comes from Mother Teresa, ‘There is greater hunger in the world for appreciation than for bread.’ Writing vows that cement why you want and appreciate your partner can help reinforce what’s important to you.”

Make sure that the vows you made on your special day are the ones you’re living in your married life.

9. Prioritize Each Other

Being in a relationship doesn’t always guarantee that you’re always going to be present and engaging. Today’s busy schedules often prevent that, but you must prioritize your partner.

How do you do that? By actively doing things for each other. Clean up and do the dishes after dinner. Surprise them by cooking their favorite meal. Turn down the bed at night while they’re busy putting the kids to bed, etc. You get the picture. Come up with ways you can surprise your partner by doing little things. Make it a habit.

According to Elizabeth Burke,[6]

“We all have to-do lists that seem to never end. These can be task and errand oriented, like picking up dry cleaning and going grocery shopping. There’s goal-oriented lists, like getting a promotion at work or running a marathon. And even people-oriented lists like taking care of yourself and making sure you’re happy and doing the same for your partner. With all that we have to accomplish, it can be difficult to prioritize. There are certain things that take priority, but ask yourself – where does your relationship fall on that list? Of course taking care of yourself is the most important thing. Outside of that, if your relationship isn’t even at the top, there can be consequences.”

10. Keep the Romance Alive

When you’re dating, you come up with the most amazing romantic things to do for your partner—watching sunsets, flowers, love letters, etc. But something goes awry along the way. Maybe it’s the work schedule, the familiarity, the kids, the dog, the family, etc. Whatever it is, it makes you forget that you’re lovers. But that’s exactly what you are: Lovers! And lovers need romance.

Romance is just as important 10 years post marriage, as it was while you were courting. Why? Because after being married for a while, the struggle is real. Life can step in many times with problems that need to be solved. Romance is needed more than ever to bring some heart and soul when things get a little rough.

As Carina Wolff said, “Just because you’ve finally settled into the comfortable stages of a relationship doesn’t mean it’s time to stop putting in an effort to keep things exciting.”[7]

Note: Being romantic doesn’t mean expensive. It can just be the two of you spending time together sharing your dreams and aspirations; planning a trip, taking walks in a garden, a candlelight dinner, or just dinner together while talking about your day.

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11. Spend Time Together and Apart

In a marriage, spending time together is extremely important, but it’s just as important as spending time apart. You may be in love, but you’re not glued at the hip. Your partner cannot be everything to you. They cannot provide everything you need. That’s too big a burden.

Expand your relationship with other people–family members, friends, acquaintances at the gym, etc. Expand your circle. Your partner, of course, will continue to be your priority. But you can still enjoy different hobbies, different experiences, and different people. Then, come home and share everything with your honey. As you expand, so will your relationship.

“No one can be everything to anyone. In other words, it’s healthy to have more than one person you can open up to, depend on, and have fun with. So, if your partner is the only person who fills those needs for you, we’d recommend you try to expand your social group.”[8]

Final Thoughts

Relationship goals are important because they give us something to shoot for. The health of a relationship depends on the love and effort poured into it. The more you work on it, the greater the rewards.

Goals give you a target—something to aim for—that will strengthen your relationship. When you reach your goals, you know you’re on the right path, and when you don’t, find out what can be done to get you back on track.

Relationship goals keep you working as a team—a team that feels united, strong, secure, and loving.

What are some of your relationship goals? See if you can’t define those and implement them into your relationship.

Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

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Rossana Snee

Rossana is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She aspires to motivate, to inspire, and to awaken your best self!

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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