Happy New Year! Last year is A WRAP!
At the time of this writing, it’s a brand new year. People are setting goals for better health, greater wealth, deeper love (& more). These goals get made with great intentions. But frustration & disappointment increases when sadly, the typical New Year’s Resolutions often don’t stick.
For many, the best attempt at reaching their resolutions often equates to something like throwing darts at their target with their eyes closed, until their arm wears out. With a random, haphazard approach & no support system, they end up not reaching goals that could’ve been well within their reach! I prefer using the art & science of goal setting & achievement than a blind dart throwing contest.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there’s a RIGHT (read, effective) & a WRONG (read, ineffective) way to do something.
The RIGHT, effective way feels good, gains traction, & creates the intended result.
The beginning may not always feel easy (due to change), but once you’re well underway, it’s actually easier!
Because at best, doing things the WRONG, ineffective way is draining & exhausting with little to no reward. At worst, the work feels impossibly hard & often, life seems to get worse instead of better. One step forward, two steps back. And hello!? Let’s be honest here, how HARD is it to live THAT way?
Goals are often defined as the things we really want (a healthy body, happy relationship). Habits are generally the processes we use to help us reach our goals, but they can be positioned as goals.
We could label it a goal to create healthier habits around eating or create a habit of being on time. Generally though, what we’re seeking isn’t the habit, or often even the goal itself. We want the experience & results of having achieved it. We’re seeking ‘the feel good’.
Most people don’t want to eat healthy, so much as they want to BE healthy. They want to look good, feel good, live longer, etc. Say that having a nourished, healthy body that feels good is your goal. You could create healthy eating habits (the process, the cause) so that you can achieve the goal, the experience (the results, the effect) of being in a nourished, healthy body. We could look at this in terms of relationship as well. If your goal is to have a successful, long term relationship, then creating healthy love habits will act as the process & cause to help you reach that goal. And that goal in essence, is to have the reoccurring experience of a enjoying a relationship you love, over time.
People generally have a desire to make positive changes in their relationship. And many feel baffled when it comes to relationship goals or figuring out how to achieve the shifts they want.
Here’s a few reasons why people unknowingly are set up to fail when they try to improve their relationships with resolutions:
- Relationships appear somewhat mysterious & “out of their control”. They tend to have little awareness that they can do much about them.
- They don’t understand relationships as a “cause & effect”. They don’t see their habits as a cause & they don’t know how to manage them.
- They try & make big changes on their own without new understanding, perspectives & support.
- They don’t know the value of setting & reaching relationship goals & utilizing relationship development.
- They generally need some level of “upgrading” of understanding & skills. Those unwilling to be responsible or try anything new, will not succeed in creating the necessary shifts (cause) to get the desired outcome (effect).
The good news is, it does take effort, but it’s simpler than you might think. Relationship goals are just like those health or financial goals you have. There are habits that will take you closer to your goal, & habits that will move you further from that goal. Really getting this can simplify the strategy & make your relationship goals more achievable. It also makes reaching for these goals SO much more fun!
This article is about relationship goals, but you can apply what I’ve said to other goals & gain a better understand of what it will take you to accomplish it.
Knowing that you have creative power over your love life is not only refreshing but fueling. Once you’ve had a taste, it can be seriously motivating. Personal development institutions have sometimes historically been suggested as “cult-ish”, for the fact that once people get a taste of personal development path, they’re so rewarded with understanding, knowledge, passion & freedom, that they never want to go back to what life was like before. Those are the “real” rewards, however, the things we are then able to create in the physical world also become so much more rewarding!
Take these Action Steps to get some clarity:
- Make a list of your relationship goals. Be as descriptive as possible. What exactly does your desired relationship experience feel like & look like? Don’t rush through this outlining step or discount its importance. It’s difficult to create something if you don’t define it. Taking time to define it greatly increases your chances of getting what you want.
- Make a list of the specific habits you think you’ll need in order to reach the goal. You may not have a lot to put down for this part at first, & that’s okay. We’re not usually taught how to create a successful relationship so this will be something you’ll likely be learning about & exploring, just do your best with the initial list.
If you aren’t sure what habits are best to focus on, you could do some research. A few ideas & suggestions to consider:
- Locate well reviewed, books in your target area.
- Find some online resources on your topic, blogs, podcasts, etc.
- Get quality support. Talk to someone, preferably a trusted source or a knowledgeable expert who can help you create a strategic plan, & accountability if you need it.
Sometimes we’re successful in certain areas of life & challenged in other areas. People who succeed have very different habits than those who fail to reach their goals. The small, simple things we do add up over time, creating results, either way. The difference in the type of habits we use is a key distinction.
Whatever your relationship goals, they’re probably closer than you think, but it will take awareness & a strategic approach with effective habits for you to reach them.
Here’s to YOU reaching your goals!
Your man really wants, even NEEDS, something from you.
I had two coaching calls yesterday with different men, who are each in a committed relationship with a woman. The story line was so similar. The men were feeling frustrated by the same basic issue. The women were unaware of the significance of it or were struggling in their own resistance to it.
What do men want & need?
To be received.
Both men have been trying to give their partner what she wants, even explaining this to her in plain language when their actions weren’t being interpreted as such. Both men said their woman generally has a hard time receiving! This has led to them feel continuously frustrated, disconnected, & disheartened. They have no clue how to navigate their expressions of love, her blocks & this destructive pattern they’ve noticed throughout the relationship. What they most want is to “make her happy”, they try, she resists & doesn’t receive their support.
In both relationship cases, she sometimes further embraces her masculine energy, by being willing to battle them. Power struggles are an inefficient use of life energy. This is & will always be a lose – lose.
Do YOU effectively use your feminine energy & receive your partner?
Masculine & feminine energy are polar opposites.
Feminine energy is open & receptive.
Masculine energy is focused & penetrating.
Both are extremely powerful, especially when highly polarized & used in tandem.
This is the true “Opposites attract”. It creates & sustains that hot spark between couples.
Sadly, in our culture of prized accomplishments, big goals & “doingness”, feminine energy can take a backseat on the desirable list. This is a tragedy because this energy is not weaker or less valuable. Yin & Yang are both equal parts of a whole & work best together. But for many women, our movement of gaining equal rights & claiming independence has been cultivated & built through us embodying masculine principles. The cost is big.
Balancing our own masculine & feminine can be a challenge if you’re a woman in today’s world. We’re often working against ourselves & our feminine nature & it’s exhausting. Interestingly, using our feminine energy can help us to be more productive (masculine outcome). For instance, if creativity is part of your job or business, embracing & using your creative (feminine) energy will actually support your goals. Maybe even getting it done in less time & with a higher level of quality. I’ve noticed this for myself in my business. Trying to do things in a masculine way leaves me feeling drained, like I’m forcing things & pushing, versus letting things flow & creating in the “zone”.
How can we become better at receiving & using our feminine energy?
You can practice increasing your feminine energy & receptivity skills in many ways.
With your partner you can practice being receptive to their intention, energy, love expressed in various forms. It may show up in a form different than the one you’re wanting in that moment. Rather than leave him feeling like he did it “wrong” because it wasn’t the expression you really wanted, try gracefully receive his love, in the masculine form that it came. In being received, his masculinity will automatically be validated & he will want to be closer to you.
I’m not suggesting you ignore your own wants or be denied the type of care you’re craving. The masculine gets to become skilled at giving to his feminine in the ways she craves & there’s definitely a time for those requests & for those gestures to come from him. I am suggesting that you don’t use your masculine energy against him; to block him, push him away or do battle, especially during a time where he is trying to give to you.
To open to your feminine, you can also practice receiving the nurturing qualities of nature. Spend time in the flow of nature. Wear flowing clothing or dresses that leave you feeling feminine & beautiful, do yoga or try belly dancing classes to wake up your sensuality. (belly dancing classes were a breakthrough for me)
You can receive pleasure by enjoying a nourishing meal, taking a creative art class or receiving a relaxing spa treatment. In our busy schedules these will need to be penciled in, but it’s importance cannot be understated.
Masculine energy is magnetized by feminine energy.
Feminine energy draws the masculine to it. He is pulled in by it & he wants to go deeper. The greater the polarization, the hotter the spark. If you want to rev up your love life, then understanding, embracing & utilizing feminine energy is a sure fire way to do it!
Remaining open & receptive to the masculine in your partner will keep energy exchanges flowing, & can help your relationship feel alive & thriving!
Have you ever been really frustrated & complained to your partner? Or, sensing it coming, cringed & waited with hitched breath as they filed their own complaint with you?
My guess is that you could come up with a few complaints about your relationship. Maybe you miss when things were new & exciting because it’s become “old news” ordinary. Or you miss feeling so in love…so off the charts passionate about each other that you were willing to do whatever it takes to stay together. Or maybe you’re frustrated with the struggle to create quality couple time, now that you have kids… business… life challenges… responsibilities… etc, etc, etc.
I bet you could also think of a few complaints about your partner. Because you don’t always agree, & sometimes you just don’t understand them or like the way they do things. You feel like they judge you or don’t understand your needs. Aspects of their personality, attitude, or priorities are so different from yours that it’s downright frustrating & creates conflict.
And since we’re being totally honest (how I roll), you could surely rattle off a few complaints about yourself, pertaining to your relationship. Because you’re very aware of the places where you’re too maxed out, can’t seem to take care of your partner’s needs or just plain don’t want to. Those places where you wish you could be, do or have more, but have no frickin’ idea how to make it happen. You feel like you’re letting yourself, your partner & your relationship down sometimes.
Here’s the real deal with complaints…
Most people make their complaint list & they sit, stew & suffer with it.
The amount of time this carries on varies from relationship to relationship. At some point, when things are left unchecked for too long, they throw in the towel out of exasperation & the couple uncouples & goes their separate ways. Much of the time this is unnecessary & tragic.
We do things differently around here.
In my marriage, in my world & with my clients, we approach complaints with a Curiosity Mindset. We listen to the complaints & we take notes. “But that seems negative”, you might say. Why would anyone want to focus on or hear complaints?
Three reasons why.
1. It’s honest & real. We feel relieved. It’s refreshing. (And we know that human minds will judge & compare because it’s the way they’re wired, so it’s all okay.)
2. What we resist persists. Complaints don’t often “just go away” on their own. Acceptance, expression & sometimes just being heard can cause a positive shift.
3. Working with complaints instead of struggling against them helps us take inventory of what’s not working well, & gain a better understanding of what our deepest longings are. We learn. Then, we can focus on & move towards fulfilling those longings.
So we handle things head on. Dig deep. Clear the air. Choose to find the value, it’s there. And almost like magic, that big ole’ complaint list gets smaller & smaller & smaller.
Because when we’re curious about what’s underneath our complaints, we can use those once hidden longings to clarify & refine our goals & dreams.
And make BIG shifts towards them.
So if you feel like complaining, get curious.
If your partner complains, be extra compassionately, curious.
“What’s under there?”
Because Your longing is the Universe directing you to your potential JOY.
Listen to it!
I’m sure you’ve heard how habits can be helpful or unhelpful in living your best life & how our habits can actually determine our level of success.
Did you ever think about how your relationship habits affect your love life?
Or WHY it is that a few people create success in their relationship but many, if not most, do not?
In my experience the cause is something I often identify as habituation.
What I call “Love Habits” are the daily things you be, do & say in your relationship that can distance you from your partner or draw them in close.
They can leave you & your partner feeling insecure or secure. And I’m not meaning jealousy, although it can certainly show up that way. I mean solid & secure. Trusting & open. Excitement at showing up to support each other out of loyalty & devotion. (Or not!)
One of the first things I do with clients is take note of their Love Habits & help them create successful ones. Letting go of habits that don’t serve your relationship & replacing with habits that DO serve your relationship is a powerful way to cause a shift in your experience. Good habits are like a secret sauce in the relationship recipe that not only makes or breaks, but that determines exactly to which level of success you will reach.
The results are fairly fast acting, & they work even better collectively over time. In other words, the more you practice habits of relationship excellence, the more you & your partner (& your relationship) improves & benefits. THIS is how smart people create sustainable lifelong relationship!
Here’s how you can begin.
1) Take a brief inventory of the habits you have that you feel contribute to a more negative experience for yourself, your partner or your relationship. Write them down & list the negative results.
2) Next, list your habits that you feel do serve you, also note the results & why they serve.
3) Choose which one to let go of & which one you will replace it with.
4) Focus on doing that new habit for one week. When you notice the old habit, immediately replace with the new.
5) Go back to your list, note & compare the results! Check it again after a consistent month!
Why it works:
Your success in anything is determined by your daily agenda & life habits. This has been proven again & again through many studies of highly successful people. And I have proven it again & again over the last 20 years through my experience in relationships & personal growth. Little habits add up fast & they greatly affect the outcome.
The bottom line:
Your relationship (& life) are NOT happening to you, you are creating them. Your relationship results are determined by the quality of your Love Habits. You are creating this sculpture called your life, you may as well do it intentionally & get the best results possible!
What relationship results do YOU desire?
Comment below & name your WORST old habit & BEST new habit!
What does romance mean to you & your beloved? Cards, candy & flowers? Candlelit dinner? Unexpected gifts?
Those things can all be very nice if they come from the heart & not from some place of obligation.
But… If you want some deep, passionate, hardcore, dare I say delicious, real romance… then I highly suggest taking a stand for love. Real, authentic, responsible love.
That’s real romance. That’s hot stuff.
There’s this (frankly, crazy) idea that you’re just supposed to meet the “right” person, fall madly in love & hope that somehow, if it’s meant to be, your life & love will be wonderful forever more.
I don’t think most people believe this consciously, but we often find these types of ideas about relationships & love when we unravel some of the unconscious beliefs. It’s the storybook wish.
Logically, most couples know there will be work involved in their relationship but much of the time they don’t understand what their real work will be.
They think they need to “make their relationship work” (I despise that phrase), by forcing themselves to deal with grueling things & muscling through tough times. They believe that making things work means sacrificing, compromising (both people losing something), & “choosing their battles” by sucking it up & keeping their mouths shut. (Hell, it’s no wonder we call this the “ball & chain!”)
Somewhere we took a wrong turn & got lost… because that’s NOT the work!
That’s just hard, slightly insane (once you see how different it can be) & completely unnecessary.
What “WORK” in your relationship REALLY means:
- Show up for yourself. Work on yourself. This means being open & willing to become the best & highest version of yourself, for your own happiness & fulfillment first. And for your partner because you know they deserve the best you & that extends to the best partnership you can create together.
- Learn & grow together. Learn relationship skills like effective communication & set yourself up for success. (You didn’t learn them in school & you won’t learn them unless you choose to.) Become a great listener. Use these tools in your relationship to support your partner & create solid team. Be fully present with your partner, as if your lives depend on it. (Because the life of your relationship certainly does)
- Be 100% there for them. As you work on yourself & become the best version of you, be a stand for them too. Support them in their own personal evolution. Your insecurities & fears may come up as they do their work & grow. Dig deep & use those relationship skills. Be open, vulnerable & stay connected. This part may indeed feel like work because it can be scary. Scary things can sometimes feel draining. Be there & do them anyway. It’s unbelievably worth it.
- Have unrealistic goals. The “reality” is, approximately 50% of marriages still end in divorce. If you are in a serious relationship I encourage you to go for unrealistic goals & be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve them. Do you want an ordinary relationship? Or would you rather have an extraordinary one? Adjust your goals accordingly.
- Be Unstoppable. Learn healthy conflict resolution habits & use them to keep your relationship clear, loving, & flowing. Don’t ever bring up the possibility of separating while you’re in conflict. Be clear that you’re coming from the place where it’s the highest good before ever addressing something like this. Being in reaction while throwing in the towel on your relationship is bad news & broken trust. You may one day feel like you want to bolt but do not make important life decisions out of temporary discomfort.
A loving partnership is definitely worth working for. It’s worth fighting for. If you want to slip into hopelessly romantic, it’s even worth dying for.
Look inside & own up to what you need to do to grow & become that person & partner you most want to be. Respect yourself & your partner. Honor your union by investing in yourself, your relationship & your dreams. Indulge in hearts, flowers, romantic dinners. But get your real romantic on by becoming all that you want to be in your life & partnership!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of self care as I keep hearing declarations about “becoming better this New Year” regarding improving relationships, health or lifestyle.
I’ve learned how important it is for women to have a good self care system to support themselves & their relationship. When women neglect themselves & their needs, they can unknowingly set up an unsupportive chain of events.
They can end up:
- feeling disconnected from their partner.
- becoming emotionally or energetically needy (even when subtle the partner can feel it) & they feel let down if support doesn’t show up in just the right way.
- projecting these needs out & complain that it’s their partner who doesn’t “care” for/about them or see their needs.
- leaving their partner feeling like a failure when they want things from them that ultimately, they aren’t giving to themselves.
How’s your self care system? Are you set up for success or do you have challenges with embracing your most basic needs?
When you care for yourself, you’re also caring for your relationship.
There’s a whole lot on our plates these days. Many women are chronically overwhelmed with our To Do’s. And us 21st century gals are excellent givers, giving our all & then some. But it’s important to remember that we can’t serve our partner, our family, or the world by neglecting ourselves. Filling our cup up FIRST is essential, to be sure we can keep on giving. It doesn’t serve our relationship to deprive ourselves, hoping our partner fills in the gaps somehow. This is a set up for disappointment & big relationship trouble.
Our partner will care for us:
in the way we model what it means to care for us,
& as we model that we’re worth caring for.
Over the years with two homeschooling kids & multiple businesses I got very good at not needing or taking much for myself. When I’d practice good self care consistently, I noticed how cared for I’d feel & how open & connected to my partner I was. When I’d slide back into self neglect I’d end up feeling needy & making up that my partner didn’t care enough about me. Of course, you can imagine he didn’t feel much like a winner with all of that yuck projected onto him.
If your self care system could use a boost try this:
- Schedule times (I use google calendar) for self care tasks: bathing, reading (for pleasure), journal writing, meditation & self reflection, & any other self care rituals you have.
- When the time comes to practice your self care, keep to the schedule & adjust time as needed.
- See if you can add in something out of the ordinary that leaves you feeling extra special (i.e. add in 10 minutes to give yourself a foot massage) & see how taken care of you feel.
One more thing on basic self care: Be sure you get plenty of sleep. Have a bedtime & follow it.
Your successful life rests (pun intended) on proper body & brain functions.
A Neuroscientist I know recently said that over 80% of people need 7-8 hours of quality sleep to function well. It’s a BASIC in self care but in this day & age many people aren’t in tune with what they need & are masterful at self neglect & pushing on.
When in comes to anything you want to create in life, consider how to use power versus force.
Plan the time to care for yourself, free of distraction by adding time for self care into your schedule. If it’s not scheduled it’s not likely to happen! Get used to having it “on the books” as just another important part of your day. It doesn’t need to be a lot of time, a few minutes consistently creates remarkable, measurable results!
Let me know in the comments what self care practices you’re scheduling & how you think this will positively affect your relationship!
To your well cared for self & relationship!