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A lot of us associate setting goals with work and professional development. But have you ever considered taking this approach to improve your relationship? If the answer is no, perhaps it’s time to give it a go.
Here, we’ll be diving into 6 SMART goals for relationships. Keep on reading to find out more.
What Are SMART Goals?
Using SMART goals in your relationship can help ensure that you and your partner are on the same page. In addition, setting goals often gives people a sense of direction, focus, and motivation when completing tasks or making changes.
SMART goals are designed with your success in mind. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.” Let’s dive into what these criteria mean.
Do you need to spend more time together without distractions? Maybe you need to work on communication. Often, the first step towards achieving your goals is to identify precisely what you want to achieve. Then, to make the goal more specific, you need to turn sentences like “I want to spend more time with you” to “I will make more time for you.”
It usually helps to quantify your goals. For example, you and your partner are trying to save for your honeymoon or a deposit on a house. It may be worth getting a joint bank account, where both of you chip in a part of your salaries to help. Then, you can set monthly goals for how much you intend to save.
If you’re not quite at that stage of your relationship, then you can instead measure something like the amount of time you spend together weekly or the number of times you go on date nights monthly.
When setting relationship goals, they must be achievable. So, if you’re on a specific budget, don’t start planning an extravagant five-star trip to Bali anytime soon, no matter how tempting it may be.
Instead, focus more on what’s directly achievable. For example, deciding to improve your fitness together is a great short-term goal that can have significant long-term benefits. In addition, it’s always a good idea to break bigger goals down into more achievable bite-size pieces. For example, saving a certain amount of money monthly can potentially make that Bali trip reachable.
For a goal to be relevant, the primary purpose needs to be highlighted and aimed for. This way, any smaller goal you might set will be aligned with the bigger picture. For example, if your ultimate goal is to save up for a big wedding in South America, consider setting aside a chunk of your earnings monthly. Knowing that you are striving towards a larger goal acts as a motivation and keeps you on track.
Setting yourself a deadline for goal completion boosts your urgency and motivation. When it comes to each goal you set, identify a timeframe for it. This element of a SMART goal will hold you directly accountable for your progress with your goals. Plus, setting time-bound goals can help you break down bigger goals into smaller chunks more effectively.
Also, time-bound goals make them more achievable. For instance, turning “go to Paris at some point” into “book Paris by next September” makes it more likely to get done.
Why SMART Goals Are Important for Relationships
Whether you’re just dating or have been married for years, it’s no secret that relationships aren’t always smooth sailing. Like many other things in life, they require hard work and joint effort.
Often, couples can find themselves struggling with certain aspects of being in a relationship, such as a lack of communication, little intimacy, and increased conflict.
Fortunately, SMART goals can help couples set goals to get their relationship back on track.
Let’s take a closer look at ways to implement smart goals into your relationship.
6 SMART Goals Examples to Improve Your Relationship
1. Go On a Date Night
“To make time for each other, we will go on a date night once a month.”
S: This goal is specific as it highlights that the couple must spend more time together.
M: The statement is also measurable. The couple will go on a date monthly.
A: This is an achievable and realistic goal. Taking the time to go on a date once a month won’t get in the way of the responsibilities of everyday life.
R: By making time for each other, couples are working towards the greater goal of improving their relationship overall.
T: This is an example of a long-term goal. By organizing date nights monthly, results should be seen relatively quickly.
Creating a date night schedule can make all the difference in a relationship. Couples who incorporate regular date nights into their relationships tend to communicate better, experience more affection for one another, and express more gratitude. In addition, if you are experiencing any problems in your relationship, then a date night may be the perfect way to reignite that spark.
Naturally, we understand that schedules can get pretty busy (especially if kids are involved), so weekly date nights may not always be achievable. However, finding time to be together outside of the chaos of everyday life can do wonders for a relationship. Try sitting down together once a month or every two months to go over your schedules and pick a day to spend some quality romantic time together.
2. Stop Financial Arguments
“To decrease stress, we will stop arguing about money and start to pay off our student debts by putting aside 10% of our earnings monthly. The goal is to pay off debts by January 2023.”
S: This SMART goal is specific. It states that the aim is to cease financial arguments by putting a plan in motion to pay off student debts.
M: The goal states that 10% of the couple’s monthly earnings will be put aside to save up.
A: This is an achievable goal.
R: The goal is relevant because it focuses on improving the couple’s relationship. By paying off debts, they are reducing the risk of argument.
T: This goal is time-bound. The objective is for debts to be paid off by January 2023.
This one is perhaps primarily directed towards more serious couples or those married for a while. Arguing about money and finances is one of the most common causes of conflict in relationships. Having debts can cause a lot of stress, making them feel more irritable and more likely to let it out on their significant other.
One way of addressing this issue is to set small milestones to help you get closer to paying off any debts. This could mean putting a certain amount of both of your wages to the side monthly. That way, you can focus on measuring how much you can save in 6 months to a year and hopefully get closer to paying off your debts altogether.
3. Don't Go to Bed Angry
“Starting from Monday, I will not go to bed angry after an argument with my partner. Instead, I will choose to practice forgiveness. In addition, I will keep a mood journal of my emotions and go over it with my significant other weekly clearly and concisely.”
S: The objective here is specific. Instead of letting emotion take over, this person aims to choose forgiveness instead to improve the relationship dynamic.
M: By keeping a mood journal, the couple can go over their feelings weekly.
A: This is an achievable objective to aim for. It also encourages the couple to not argue as much.
R: The key aim is to avoid arguing and forgive each other when fights occur. It’s also a way of developing an understanding of your significant other.
T: This goal is time-bound as it forbids couples to go to bed angry, starting on Monday.
Nobody is perfect. While it’s not the greatest feeling in the world, it’s important to remember that arguing is an entirely normal aspect of any relationship. However, a part of maintaining a healthy relationship is to show compassion, kindness, and understanding towards one another. This doesn’t necessarily mean that negative behaviors need to be swept under the rug. Instead, try and rationalize your emotions and hear each other out.
4. Cook a Meal Together
“To spend more time together, I will cook a meal with my partner once a week.”
S: Again, this is an example of a specific SMART goal. The aim is to spend time together through a joint hobby.
M: They will cook together once a week.
A: This SMART goal is doable and realistic.
R: The overall aim is to spend time doing something both parties enjoy. Couples should find something that unites them to maintain a successful relationship.
T: This is an example of a long-term goal.
While opposites certainly do attract, it’s important that couples find something they enjoy doing together. Try and look for activities that allow you to be present with each other in the moment. This could come in the form of something like cooking a fancy meal together or joining a pottery class together. Search for a common interest or a new hobby to share together.
5. Go to the Gym Together
“Starting from January 2022, I will go to the gym with my partner twice a week as a way of motivating each other. In addition, I will weigh myself monthly. I plan to lose 50 pounds by January 2023.”
S: The goal specifically outlines that this person aims to get fit with their partner’s support.
M: The goal is measurable because they will be going to the gym twice a week and noting weight loss after each month.
A: This is a realistic and achievable goal. Having your own personal hype-man with you while training may make your weight loss journey smoother.
R: Couples that work out together stay together. Focusing on your fitness comes with health benefits and strengthens a relationship. Plus, the extra release of endorphins can only help to put both you and your partner in a better mood generally.
T: The statement sets the objective to be achieved by January 2023.
Getting fit together can mean joining a gym or going on weekly hikes somewhere. But, no matter your preference, this is a sure way to help improve your relationship.
6. Save Up for a Trip
“My partner and I will each set aside $50 a week to save up for a romantic trip to Paris in 2023.”
S: This is a specific goal, stating precisely what, where, when, and how to achieve it.
M: The couple will put aside $50 a week each to save up for their romantic getaway.
A: This is a realistic goal. $100 may not seem like a lot at first, but eventually, it will add up.
R: The goal is to go on a romantic getaway together. Trips like this will strengthen their bond and create positive experiences together.
T: The aim is to save enough to plan the trip to Paris for 2023.
Once you’ve gotten past the issue of debts, you can start focusing on putting some money aside for a treat. After all, you both deserve it.
Final Thoughts on Smart Goals to Improve Your Relationship
Goal setting shouldn’t be limited to professional growth. Romantic relationships often need the same amount of nurturing, if not more.
Relationships aren’t always a walk in the park. Even after you get your “happily ever after,” problems can still arise that need to be addressed. For this reason, it’s essential to set goals for improving your relationship, and SMART goals are a perfect, doable way to achieve that. Click here for some printable worksheets to help you get started.
And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 6 SMART Goals Examples to Strengthen Your Marriage
- 15 SMART Personal Financial Goals to Increase Your Net Worth
- 5 SMART Goal Examples to Practice Daily Self-Care
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.