Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to achieve a big goal or obtain a certain thing that is above your current level of living? How about trying to turn a difficult relationship into a good relationship? Well, many have noticed, and many have chosen to give up before accomplishment.
Why? What is it about the goal or item of interest that is so difficult to attain? Often, it isn’t the goal itself; rather, it’s the mind or rather the mindset that is difficult to overcome. It’s the habits we form that can work against us.
As we realize that anything worth having in life can be difficult to obtain, often because our minds aren’t focused on the right things or we are stretched too far, it is also difficult to maintain what we achieve or attain.
Since setting goals or changing habits is difficult, many opt not to do it; or they do it but don’t stick to it. Setting goals does take some thought and effort, but in comparison to living it out daily through thick and thin, that’s where the real test comes in.
Since we don’t spend much time in dedicated discipline to learn skillful tactics for overcoming emotion, mental blockages, and bad habits, how can we expect to be successful in anything?
What’s interesting to note is that we often give up after some time of not seeing results. We grow weary and frustrated with the apparent lack of progress, so we quit. The real downer is, we often aren’t far from a victory; but we couldn’t see the end so how were we to know?
The cost is high when I give up
Although we can’t always see the finish line in our attempts towards goal achievement, we can figure out the benefit of accomplishing our goal versus cutting our losses and moving on.
There are several areas in which we might be struggling with that require change. It could be parenting goals, financial goals, relationship goals, or personal physical and mental health goals.
We can face many difficulties. In this example, let’s consider the family that is experiencing difficult financial hardships and they are fighting constantly. Some would argue that it’s best to part ways and be happier (this example is intended for couples who haven’t split up at this point).
However, what’s better is to seek out a plan to improve on the relationship health. Finances aside, what can we do to focus on falling back in love with each other instead? Sure, the money problem will still be there, but if we aren’t fighting, then we can effectively work together to find a common solution.
Instead of breaking up the family and making it so the children must live across two homes, why not exhaust other options first? If the couple was compatible during dating and even in early marriage, then they likely still will be. Why not research exercises for relationship building instead of jumping straight to: “I made a big mistake when I married you; we aren’t compatible or meant to be together,” or something along those lines.
The cost of quitting is this: self-esteem issues in couple and children; difficulties in maintaining consistent parenting ideals across two separate households which can lead to further issues in behavior; high separation costs. Not an exhaustive list, but some important factors we can avoid by trying to work through it, first.
3 ways to improve our relationship and actually keep at it
Although there are many things that we can do to give our attempts a better chance for survival, I will list three. Sticking to anything we aren’t accustomed to will take effort and won’t feel easy. But we must remember that there are, in fact, many happy couples who got through a hard time or someone who was impoverished who broke the financial barriers in their life.
What we will find in common between all success stories that we search for is this: it takes dedicated daily effort to follow a plan combined with intense focus on the end-result.
I will break this down over the next three points. These are:
- Ignore the negative thoughts in your head
- Set goals and create an action plan
- Be consistent and recognize obstacles
1. Ignore the negative thoughts in your head that tell you to give up or not try
I talk about this a lot in my articles, books, and videos. The reason is because it is negative thoughts that prevent so many from reaching their potential, in whole or in part. Some of us will live and operate in less than 10% of our potential. Scientists and doctors might have a perfect number worked out for this, but to get my point across, let’s say the number is ten percent.
This means that it is possible for us to be operating 90% better across the board if we so chose to. What would our relationship look like if we aimed for our highest potential as a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend?
What would our finances look like if we aimed for our highest potential in financial knowledge, investing, debt reduction, income stream creation, and saving? It would all be very different, right? Even if we only lived up to 50% in these areas, what would it look like for you?
With this in mind, now think about all the negative thoughts that just came to mind when reading these previous three paragraphs; “I can’t improve by 90%, or fifty for that matter,” “Every time I try to change it never works-so why bother,” “I can try but my spouse is the problem and he/she won’t likely change.” Improving your mindset in this area will help in our relationship and other areas of your life.
Negative thoughts always creep in when we are considering changing from our normal. It is these thoughts that limit us in our attempts at success or improvement. The cure is to notice these thoughts when they are happening and replace them with their opposite; “Every time I try to change it never works-so why bother” becomes “Every time I try to change, I’m met with difficulty that I must find a solution to overcome-good thing I am creative and resourceful.”
2. Set goals and create an action plan
We hear it all the time: set some goals; break them down into manageable chunks and smash em’.
I will keep the tradition alive here. This is because all the successful people who accomplished anything did it with goals; one step at a time.
It is the best systematic approach for achieving that which is difficult to attain. Learning to write out the goals in a realistic manner with realistic timelines is very important. If the goal is too big, can we really achieve it? Or, is there a slightly smaller goal we must attain first as a stepping stone?
We can set relationship goals, and we should. Wedding vows are the first goals of the marriage but shouldn’t be the last. We must continue to raise our bar in our relationship, and in life. If we don’t, we shouldn’t be surprised when our environment stagnates and becomes dull and boring.
A better relationship is our responsibility; financial independence is on us; being the best parents we can possibly be through books and videos and courses is a choice we have. If we are under the impression that any of these will just simply fall in our lap, we will certainly be shocked when it doesn’t.
Instead, set some goals. With your partner, dream about your best future; what do the finances look like? What will we be like as parents? Where will we live? Will we be the most in-love couple we know?
Whatever you and your partner come up with, write them as goals. Then, write for each goal, what you two can do to get started; this is the how. What are the basic steps you can start with and what will you need to learn to help make it possible? Even if you don’t ace this, it is better than not trying.
3. Be consistent and recognize obstacles
Once we have come to an understanding of how our thoughts might be preventing us from progress and we have changed them to accommodate our new goals, we must consider the powerhouse of this equation; consistency.
If we put this all together today, and then we don’t look at it for a week, and then a couple weeks after that, what will our progress look like?
Consistency is tough.
I won’t even try to sugar-coat that for anyone. But it is possible.
With consistency comes new habits and mental strength that supports a new kind of success we might not have seen before. By hashing it out day by day and by sticking to our plan no matter how bad our thoughts get, or what obstacles get in front of us, we will surely be met with success and a stronger character.
In the relationship, we must see each other as someone we can work with and lean on. We must strengthen each other through encouragement and support, and at times, we might even need to carry the load for the other while they take a moment of rest.
The idea is, we stick to it; together. If we want to improve the relationship, we stick to it. If the relationship is really bad right now, there are two options; make a plan for improvement and stick to it together or give up.
What is incredible is how good the relationship gets when we work together to bring the relationship or finances from a state of complete dysfunction to a state of beauty. That’s when we realize how strong we are together and what we are capable of accomplishing if we don’t give up.
If you want it to change, get rid of any idea of giving up. Build a plan and vow to work together, in love, and keep focused on the future.
I realize that there are many couples who feel that they are in a hopeless situation. I am not trying to take lightly to this. I myself brought our marriage to the brink of failure many times in my past when I was heavy in alcohol. For whatever reason, my wife stuck with me over the years in this mess long enough for me to realize that we needed change; I needed to change for my relationship to get better.
Had we thrown in the towel and parted ways, we would’ve survived. But since we instead worked together, we kept the kids in the same house with us together, we maintained our reputation with family and friends as a couple, and we learned how to work together and build the mental strength that will surely get us through anything; so long as we don’t give way to negative thinking.
You can, too!
I don’t know how bad of a situation it is for everyone, but I do understand the power of a couple who works together to achieve a common goal. Giving up might seem logical but fighting through it and becoming stronger together is very rewarding. Think about this: if you split up and move on to someone else, what happens when that gets tough? The result is the same.
Make the changes today with your partner that will result in a strong relationship and even stronger ability to get through the challenges that will present themselves in the future.
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How to get your spouse to hear you, by Mort Fertel.