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How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger

How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger
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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.

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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

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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 July 20, 2021

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

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