As experienced psychologists here at Seventy Thirty, we know only too well how many people take a deterministic view of relationships, expecting fate to take a hand and throw us in the path of our perfect partner, whoever that may be. More people fail to find someone through holding on to this treasured belief than for any other reason. The fact is, as with any other area of life, people who are successful in finding and maintaining an amazing relationship are proactive and positive about it. Somehow it doesn’t seem ‘sexy’ to think about goal-setting in terms of relationships.
We grow up with stories of Cinderella, we see Hollywood movies and at no point does the romantic lead ever sit down and write a list of relationship goals – it doesn’t fit the romantic image we want to unfold. The irony is, setting relationship goals is the best way to create your happy ever after. In every other area of your life in which you want to achieve something you would set goals, make plans and take action, so why should it be different with our romantic life? If relationship goal-setting seems like a clinical approach, suspend this thought and consider that this could well be the very intervention that we take which maximises our chances of creating our own fairy tale. We just need to be our only fairy Godmother…
Be clear about what you want in a partner and relationship
Start by defining a few key points you are certain you want in a relationship. It might be trust, kindness or a sense of fun for example. Then think further about your key preferences in terms of the physical characteristics and traits you would like your partner to have. This is not about creating a ‘made to order’ partner list, but rather about getting clear about what you want and what you could probably not compromise on (although as the saying goes, there is always someone you’ll make an exception for….!)
Set goals for what you want to achieve
Do you want to go out on more dates? Socialise and meet more people generally? Join a matchmaking agency? Meet someone with whom you have common interests or a particular lifestyle? Improve your communication in relationships? Get married and have children? Be clear about not just the type of person you want, but your vision of the future and how you would like your relationship to be.
Plan for your goals using the SMART approach (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound)
As you would with any other goal you set, start making plans for meeting the type of person you want and creating the relationship you want. Will you go to specific events, join a particular club, determine to go on a set number of dates a month, sign up for coaching? Whatever you decide on, make sure your plans are SMART so that you can make yourself accountable and track progress.
Whatever you plan, you need to make sure that you now take action. Make it happen. Even taking action towards your goals will give you a magnetic energy which will draw the right people to you. Take steps towards your goals every day and take a positive stance in the face of any set-backs. Remember the most successful people in relationships are the ones who are proactive, aware and positive in their approach, whether this is to find a partner or to create a magical relationship. As the old adage goes ‘true love isn’t found, it’s built’.