Think about the person in your life who is really struggling. I don’t mean someone who is struggling with psychological or substance problems. The person who just can’t seem to get out of their own way.
Who is it?
Would you let that person watch your kids for a weekend?
No, you wouldn’t.
Should that person get into a serious relationship? Should they get a dog? Should they have a child?
No, they shouldn’t.
They need to get their act together first.
And so does everyone else.
The confusing thing about relationships is they’re actually an inside job. And unless we’ve got our own acts together, bringing another human into the equation rarely results in a net positive. More often than not, it’s a net negative.
We mistakenly think a relationship, a dog, a child, a car, or a house will magically solve our problems and make us feel better. But the opposite is often true.
Instead of making our situations better, the added costs, complexity, time and commitments make an already challenging situation worse.
Think about it like this: If you were going to build a building, would you want to start with a strong or shaky foundation?
With a strong foundation, you can build a 100 story building. With a shaky foundation, you’ll have a hard time with one story.
The first relationship to focus on is your relationship with yourself.
Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, don’t get a dog. A dog doesn’t need to put up with your BS.
Now, I’m not saying you don’t have your act together. You may be a perfectly well-adjusted person who is ready to enter into a healthy relationship with someone. Great!
Going through the process I lay out will be nothing but a good thing for you.
Here’s what I’m going to talk about:
- Your existing beliefs and emotions around relationships
- How you’d like to think and feel about relationships
- Setting your relationship goals
- Creating your plan for making them happen
- What could stop you?
Let’s get started.
Your existing beliefs and emotions around relationships
We each have an operating system, and our beliefs are a core component of that operating system.
What are your existing beliefs about relationships in general? It’s a big and important question.
The answer informs not only how you think about relationships, but also your interactions with others and how you behave in relationships.
Some of our core beliefs were given to us via DNA, others have been picked up through everyday living, but most were imprinted on us at a young age.
Unfortunately, many of the reasons we have unsuccessful or unsatisfactory relationships is due to negative or limiting beliefs.
If you find you’re suffering from this, I have good news. You can change these beliefs.
Beliefs about relationships
Here is a list of prompts about relationships. As you read through them, write down the first thing that comes to mind; don’t overthink it.
- Relationships are
- Relationships makes people
- I’d have better relationships if
- My parents thought relationships were
- In my family, relationships caused
- Relationships equal
- If I were in a relationship, I’d
- Friendship is
- Monogamy causes
- Being a parent is
- Being in a relationship is not
- In order to have a good relationship, I’d need to
- When I’m in a relationship, I usually
- I think relationships
- People think relationships
Now that you’ve written your initial thoughts on each of these, go back through and think more deeply about the ones that we’re the most triggering.
For example, if you wrote “relationships are hard,” spend time thinking about why you think that way. What was your parents’ relationship like when you were a kid? Did your parents get along? Did they fight?
For me, my parents divorced when I was five. Without realizing it, I had major trust and abandonment issues for many years.
I was highly guarded and rarely let people see my true self.
It wasn’t until I recognized my negative and limiting beliefs around relationships that I was able to work through them.
The more you can dig into your past and examine it, the better the chances of changing your beliefs from negative to positive.
To help you in this process, you can access our Values Course at no-cost.
How you’d like to think and feel about relationships
Who is the best friend you know? What makes them a great friend?
Who is the best parent? What makes them a great parent?
Who is the best partner? What makes them a great partner?
It’s really important to recognize there are people out there doing what you want to do. If you have a hard time identifying people you know personally, spend some time thinking about people you haven’t met, but you perceive to have great relationships.
Goals and happiness
We have an odd relationship with goals and happiness. Sometimes, we think about them
the wrong way.
We think, “once I’m married, then I’ll be happy.”
Instead of thinking that way, decide how you want to feel, then think deeply about why you want what you want.
From there, then you’ll set your goals.
I’ve found word association helps me to get clear on how I truly want to feel.
For example, when I hear Good Parent, I feel proud. I have really good and strong feelings around being a good parent. This is a clear priority for me.
Let’s go through some relationship word association. For each, write down your initial feelings.
- A good partner/spouse
- A good mom/dad
- A good friend
- A good mentor
- A good listener
- Someone who shows up for others
- Someone who is present and engaged with others
The idea is to figure out how you want to feel. Once you’ve gone through each one, go back through them again and dig deeper. You can certainly add more as well.
To help you in this process, you can access our Goals Course at no-cost, where you’ll go deeper into this process.
Setting your relationship goals
Our ability to create the future we want is pretty cool.
Think about it; you can dream and imagine any scenario for yourself. With the right focus and effort, almost anything is possible.
It’s time to create the future you desire.
For each prompt, write down what you want:
- Are you in a committed relationship?
- What’s your relationship with your partner like?
- What is your love life like?
- What does your circle of friends look like?
- Do you have children?
- What’s your relationship with your kids like?
- Are you close with your family?
- What’s your relationship with your parents like?
- Are you close with your extended family?
- What are your professional relationships like?
- Are you active in your community?
- What are your most valued relationships?
Be honest with yourself. Don’t judge yourself. What you want is what you want, and it’s great (whatever it is). These are your goals, this is your life, and you’ve got one shot at it. Plan for the life you want to live.
Again, you can access our Goals Course at no-cost, where you’ll go deeper into this process.
Creating your plan for making them happen
You’ve thought about your existing beliefs. You’ve decided how you want to feel. You’ve gotten clear on your goals. Now it’s time to create your plan.
For each relationship, figure out what you want. As you continue along, you’ll refine your plan and get more specific.
Example 1: My desired result is to get married. I’m currently in a committed relationship. I will look for ways to improve myself, and will constantly look for ways to support my partner. Within the next three months, I will talk with my partner about my desire to get married.
Example 2: My desired result is having children. I’m not currently in a relationship. I will get clear on the values and characteristics of an ideal partner. I will research and figure out where people that fit my profile spend time and look for ways to meet or get introduced to them. I will continue to improve myself.
Example 3: My desired result is to have a strong professional network. I will continue to develop within my chosen field. I will research industry organizations or mastermind groups. I will select a group to join and become an active and contributing member.
Complete this structure for each of your goals.
What could stop you?
Whenever we start making changes in our lives, we will be met with resistance. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
Resistance can come from outside of us. It can come from existing friends or family who notice you’re changing your behaviors.
When this happens, don’t be surprised and give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s more likely they’re raising concerns because they care for you, not because they have malicious intent.
Resistance can come from inside of us. Your brain and body have kept you alive this long. When you start new habits and patterns, your body will try to pull you back to your previous habits and patterns. It does this as a survival mechanism.
It thinks, “we’ve made it this far doing what we’ve always done.”
You’ll adjust and your new behaviors will become your new patterns and habits.
As you start pursuing your relationship goals, keep your reasons for doing so top of mind. It’s those reasons that will help you stick to your plans and not bail on them like so many people do with their New Year’s resolutions.
Our relationships are the most important part of our lives.
You’re worthy of having great ones. You’re worthy of having the life you want.
It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.
If you’d like to get on the same page with your significant other regarding money, take a look at our Same $ Page course.
If you’d like to connect with one of our Certified Coaches, they’d love to have an no-cost chat.
LifeBlood is supported by our audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.