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How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger

How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger

Do you have goals for your marriage?

Many people have this misconception that once they get married, they will live happily ever after- on autopilot.

The reality, however, is that marriage requires work and effort from you and your spouse. Love brings you together, but conscious, continuous effort makes your marriage a success. This is where marriage goals come in.

Why you should set marriage goals

Marriage goals give a couple something to work toward and a reason to depend upon each other.[1] They are a great way to grow your marriage. In the pursuit of your goals, you will spend more time together, have more conversations and create more intimate moments.

Goals will help your marriage to thrive. Considering the current rate of divorce, it would be unfortunate if you do not give your marriage the proper attention and nourishment it needs. When you get busy with your daily routines, it is easy to forget to nurture your relationship. Marriage goals help you to keep your marriage a top priority.

When you spend time planning your life together, you cannot neglect each other. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for your marriage gives you a better chance of having a happy and fulfilling marriage.

When you think about the health of your marriage, consider the principle of motion. An object that is set in motion continues to move unless something stands in its way.

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Similarly, a motionless object will never move until you put it in motion. Just as your daily goals keep you moving from one task to the next, marriage goals will infuse your relationship with the vital momentum.

Marriage goals not only create an atmosphere of companionship, but they also help spouses to remain focused whenever their marriage is going through difficult transitions.

Marriage goals also act as an antidote to stagnation and lethargy that creeps into all marriages over time.

S.M.A.R.T marriage goals

S.M.A.R.T marriage goals should include all aspects of your marriage:[2] physical, intellectual, financial, social, spiritual – everything that could affect your marriage.

Also, like all other goals, they need to be written down. The difference between a wish and a goal is that you write a goal down and take continuous action towards realizing it. The following are some of the things you need to discuss with your spouse concerning your future.

1. Financial goals

According to marital experts, money is the number reason for marital discord.[3] There will always be an imbalance of income between you and your spouse and different money habits.

It is therefore essential to discuss your attitudes towards financial matters so that you can understand each other’s approach to making, spending, and saving money.

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If you and your spouse are not on the same page concerning finances, it will be a constant source of tension throughout your marriage. For this reason, harmonize your activities towards money and ensure you are both part of the money-making decisions.

Both of you should, at all times, know where the money is and where it goes:

  • Settle on a common goal. Whatever your long-term goal is, ensure you are on the same page. Where do you want to be financially in a year? Five years?
  • Create a budget. Develop a budget that gives a clear indication of where the money goes each month. Sit down with your spouse and give each dollar a name.
  • Update your insurance policy. Whatever insurance policies or estate planning you individually had before you got married, you will need them updated. Your power of attorney, your will, and superannuation contributions will all need to be revised. Your premiums may also change; it is all part of the process.
  • Re-look at your credit card options. Give your credit cards a healthy check and see how they compare to the competitions by using credit card comparison tools.

2. Goals for your relationship

This goal is essential since it will help you and your partner maintain intimacy, connectedness, empathy, and feelings of security and inner peace.

You must set goals towards spending time together if you want your relationship to flourish. When you neglect companionship, separation will begin to occur in your relationship.

Communication

Communication is the backbone of your marriage. Many marriages fail to reach their destination because of inadequate listening and poor understanding. Conflicts will inevitably occur in marriage, but with proper and regular communication, all problems can be solved.

Agree to talk about anything and everything

Nurture your friendship with your spouse so that you can feel comfortable discussing even the difficult subjects. Tough conversations make you wiser and stronger and broaden your horizon. If you avoid difficult issues, they will eventually stifle your communication and ruin your marriage.

Your relationship with your in-laws

A cordial relationship with your both of your in-laws will save your marriage a lot of conflicts. However, the process of blending two families is nothing short of a miracle.

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Your in-laws have expectations of you and your spouse that may not be realistic:[4]

They may assume that you will spend all holidays with them; or that you will follow their advice without questions; or that they will see you and talk to you several times a week.

Many times, these expectations are not understood or discussed by a couple until a conflict occurs. The smart option is to recognize and head off potential conflicts before they occur.

Take everything in your stride and try to see things from your relatives’ point of view. Consider how much time and energy they have spent raising both of you; it is understandable for them to find it difficult to let go. Trust that you will adequately provide for each other as well as they have all these years.

Household habits

Household habits can be a source of immeasurable tension for a couple. Many couples are constantly annoyed with each other because one person is not contributing to household chores and the other is constantly picking up the slack.

Inevitably, one partner turns out to be the tidy one, and the organizer, while the other might be the helpless slob.

Chores may seem trivial, but are a big deal.

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Unless you want some major conflicts and resentment down the road, you must discuss even this unglamorous topic from the word go. Think about this way: you have become roommates for life. Why shouldn’t you discuss your household habits?[5]

3. Family health goals

It is probably expecting too much hoping that both halves of a marriage can have similar health goals. But you can agree on mutually aligned goals.

Think about how hard it is going to be to plan and cook different meals? Essential goals for couples who have different dietary preferences can, in fact, be a tall order. Imagine one spouse cannot live without bread while the other is Paleo?

Your marriage will be much easier if you are on the same page. And an added advantage: it can be fun being each other’s accountability partner, whether it is in weight loss or another health venture.

Final thoughts

The first year of marriage is incredibly essential to your future happiness. It is during this time when you will either give direction and purpose to your marriage or develop bad habits that will trap you later. Setting goals will help you to establish good patterns and ways of being together that will continue for the rest of your life.

Also, post-wedding blues are quite common. After experiencing the thrill of wedding planning, it is natural to experience a deep in your mood. Goals will inject life into your new marriage and put it on the path of excitement.

Your marriage is like no one else’s. Having your own goals gives your marriage the uniqueness and authenticity that it deserves. So, go on and set your own S.M.A.R.T goals today.

Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot run a marathon successfully without proper planning.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Randy Skilton

Randy is an educator in the areas of relationships and self-help.

Do Rebound Relationships Work Out? Why They Will and Won’t How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger 10 Fun Relationship Quizzes to Strengthen Your Bond with Your Partner

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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