The Importance of Setting

Realistic Relationship Goals

 

Several years ago, when Keith and I first started writing our book, The Seven Steps to Successful Relationships, we sat down and outlined a series of goals - an ideal scene of how we wanted our life to look in terms of home, family, work, and money. Because we believe in the power of affirmations, we stated each goal in the present tense, as if it was already true. We held back nothing, making each statement as fabulous as we could possibly imagine for ourselves, because we knew that we truly deserved the best. And then, we did something that we would later discover to be the fatal mistake. In the middle of our vision sheet, we wrote the words, “by May 2005 or sooner.”

Okay, now flash forward to the present, on a day very recently, when Keith and I had a very rude awakening. It all started when we woke up in the morning, only to discover that we were both very, very depressed. Now for many people, even for ourselves some years ago - before we made the decision to change our lives for the better - this might have seemed completely normal. But for Keith and I these days, this just does not happen without a really good explanation. We knew we were overworked, and in desperate need of a vacation, and we also knew that we were becoming increasingly frustrated with some aspects of our work, but these did not seem like enough to trigger such a serious state.

If there’s one thing we have learned, it’s to always follow our intuition, so that night while Keith was at work, even though I really did not feel like it, I ventured out with a good friend to an Insight workshop about achieving greater clarity and focus. The evening was full of wonderful surprises, and then, on the way home, I had an epiphany. I realized why Keith and I were so depressed.

The date was June 1st, 2005. Without consciously realizing it, we had passed the deadline for our ideal scene. Our subconscious mind, on the other had, was acutely aware of this fact. We had failed to achieve our goals. All our positive thinking, affirmations, education and very hard work had been for naught. The tools we were using, teaching and putting all our faith in had not worked. No wonder we were so depressed!

It was time to face the music, and I knew just what had to be done. I went through an old pile of papers, and found our original goal sheet. I sat down with Keith, and read through the statements that described how our life was now supposed to look. To our surprise and delight, three out of the ten statements were one hundred percent accurate, and two others were partially true. I took a yellow marker, and hi-lighted all the things we had achieved.

Now for the tough part - I took a black pen, and edited all the other parts to make them agree with our current reality. As we read through the now true statements, we found ourselves laughing out loud, and feeling as though a giant weight was being lifted off our shoulders. We were finally facing reality, and it felt good!

I called the friend I had been with earlier that evening, and we laughed some more as I shared the new statements over the phone. “Well,” my friend said, “you know what you have to do now…”

“Oh yes, I sure do!” I replied. Keith and I grabbed a lighter and a piece of aluminum foil, and headed out behind our apartment to finish the job. As we watched the goal sheet burn, we felt peaceful and serene. It was the end of an old era, and the beginning of a brand new one. We had had the courage to face reality, and now it was time to let it all go, and move on with our lives.

In the process of all this, we learned a very valuable lesson: If you’re going to put a timeline on your goals, make sure they are goals that are realistically within your power to achieve in that timeframe. Even without a timeframe, make sure that your goals make sense. Don’t say, “I’m going to marry Antonio Banderas,” when you don’t even know him, and - oh yeah - he’s already married! And if your vision is to meet the man or woman of your dreams, fall in love and get married, don’t include a “by when” date, because you don’t have direct control over that.

Instead, commit to introducing yourself to ten new people this week, or sharing yourself more deeply and vulnerably with someone in your life. These are things you can actually do, and they will definitely help move you closer to your dreams.

Goals are made to be achieved, so don’t set yourself up for failure. Unrealistic goals can create an emotional roadblock when they are not met in your desired timeframe. Affirmations can be a great tool for motivation, but be careful - your conscious mind knows the difference between positivity and wishful thinking.

Just keep your eyes on what you most desire, set goals you can actually achieve, and you will be well on your way to making your dearest dreams come true!

Peace and Blessings,

 

Maura Leon  

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