Welcome back, Keep It Simple-ers!
The last couple of weeks have been ultra-exciting as I got ready to marry my best friend and life-partner of nine years on July 29th. It was a beautiful, small, intimate ceremony with a core group of people in our lives, the perfect weather, and best of all, a stress-free day. I can certainly say that it is my highlight event of 2019!
Now, this may be a little uncouth of me to bring up here, considering I just shared my new happily married tidings; however, I feel that it fits with my next thoughts! This isn’t my first marriage-rodeo – I was married once before. And although it has been said that marriage doesn’t change us, I can’t help but rethink my previous agreement with that idea (for the record, divorce definitely changes a person too). Oh, how I have grown! Marriage is a commitment between two people who love one another, but who also know that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies forever and ever, Amen. Healthy, successful relationships are a lot of bloody work! I feel so grateful that my first marriage taught me this lesson and helped me become aware of the skills (particularly communication!) I was lagging in that are necessary to create and develop a strong relationship.
But, regardless of being married once before, or how long my partner and I have been together before making it “official”, there is still a small mind shift that comes along when making the relationship “legit”. My small shift happened about two days after the wedding – even though I knew what we were doing and that I wanted to do it, I think the excitement of planning to have everything ready for the actual wedding day took my mind off the glorious magnitude of committing my life with another human being. Talk about a major Life Reno! Isn’t it fabulous though?
So, as with making home renovations, starting a new relationship or changing a relationship status is a big life change, and the same general guidelines I mentioned in the last blog post can be applied when making and managing this change. Just so you don’t have to go back to the last blog (you’re welcome!), here are the first three change considerations I posted:
1. Have a change goal – what change do I want to make?
2. Create a vision for the end results – what will I feel like, look like, sound like, and/or be doing when I successfully make this change? How or when will I know I have succeeded? What measure(s) will let me know I have accomplished my goal?
3. Establish a strong understanding of the motivation behind the desire to make this change – what or who am I doing this for? Is my motivation linked to internal or external influences?
Now, let’s be real here, Folks – I honestly don’t believe that too many relationships start off with any of the above being considered! Ha! Our emotions and feelings and hormones all have WAY more influence over our logical, analytical, thinking brains to even remember for a moment: “This one time, on the Keep It Simple Blog, there were a few powerful suggestions for making a life change – I need to check that out again before I smile at that cute person winking at me!” Umm…No. It just doesn’t happen, Folks. Although, I have to wonder if these steps WERE to be considered within the first few months of a new relationship, or further along in an existing one, how would the quality of that relationship change? And in doing so, would these next steps for making and managing change boost the success of the objectives discovered in those first three steps?
Well, let’s look at what comes next, shall we? Once I know what my change goal is, my vision for it, and the motivating factors behind my choice, I can then consider the following questions to help me move forward successfully:
4. Identify what is needed – what tools, resources, understandings, skills, knowledge, and/or supports to I need to make this change successful? What or who do I need to keep myself on track with my meeting my goal?
5. Have a plan for when things come up unexpectedly or when they don’t go as planned – how will I respond if X-Y-Z happens? What can I do to ensure that my change goal continues to make a positive move forward even if something comes up that slows or sets back my progress?
6. Practice self-compassion – how will I show myself empathy and compassion if/when I make a mistake or when X-Y-Z happens? How will I be kind to myself when I don’t feel I’m progressing as I want to be?
7. Celebrate the small wins – how will I acknowledge and celebrate myself as I successfully move toward my change goal – no matter how small the gain – in my life?
No matter the area of life in which I try to become a better version of myself – whether at home, in my relationships, for my health, or in my career – these seven steps have helped me over the last few years to make and manage the changes I have felt necessary to work on. I hope they will assist you as well.
Thank you for reading!
Until next time…
Keep It Simple,