At the start of the year, as everyone was declaring their resolutions for 2017, I made a resolution of my own. A resolution to stop making resolutions!
Instead of several large changes all at once, I am trying a series of monthly mini-goals. Each month, I will choose one area of my life to focus on and improve. Within that area, I will make 1-3 (no more than 3!) small goals. My hope is that by narrowing my focus to one area at a time, I can work on it more intensively and establish better habits. These habits will then carry over into subsequent months. Voila! All the changes that I would like to make in 2017, but at a more gradual and sustainable pace.
That’s my hope, anyway! We’ll see when we get to the end of the year how well my plan works. 🙂
(As a recap: in January, my mini goals were to track 10,000 steps on my Fitbit at least 20 days out of the month, exercise 30 minutes a day 5 days a week, and drink the recommended 64 ounces of water a day. If you read my newsletter, you know that I ended up getting sick halfway through the month and didn’t get my steps every day, but I did exercise 5 days a week, and I met my water goal 23 days out of 31!)
Now it’s time for a new set of goals for the month of February!
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February’s Area of Focus
I’m sure this is no surprise, since February is often considered the “love month,” but my focus area this month is my marriage!
Levon and I have been married for 6 1/2 years, which means we’re definitely not newlyweds anymore, but neither are we seasoned spouses. We’re right around that “seven year itch” mark that seems to be a pivotal time for marriages. We’ve been together long enough to have some of the kinks worked out, but we’ve also been together long enough to discover lots of irritations! In this season, there are usually young children to take care of, and it’s so easy to let the kids take precedence over the marriage. This point in a marriage is often a fork in the road – do we give up, or do we stick it out?
Related post: 10 Practical Ways to Put Your Husband First
I would say our marriage is good. We’re not at a crisis point by any means. But we are in a season of little ones, which means a lot of work, a lot of busyness, and a LOT of exhaustion. I want to make sure that I’m putting even more effort into our marriage during this time so that we never do reach a crisis point.
That’s why I’ve decided to make February’s area of focus my marriage. It’s one of the most important areas in my life, and one I definitely want to continue to improve.
February’s Marriage Mini-Goals
I have chosen three goals this month. I wanted to make sure that my goals were SMART, so I knew they had to be more than just “speak more respectfully” or “learn to speak Levon’s love language.” I had to think of Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-based goals.
Here are the three I have chosen:
- Read one book on marriage by the end of the month.
I’m currently reading Cherished, by Gary Thomas, and loving it, but I’ve decided that doesn’t count because I’m almost finished. After I finish, I will choose another book and read it by the end of the month. It has been a while since I read a marriage book, so reading two in one month isn’t going to kill me. 🙂
- Refrain from speaking negatively about Levon to others.
This one is going to be the one I really need to focus on. Doing the Love Dare and reading Cherished has made me realize that I have not been cherishing Levon with my words as I should. I know from experience that the more you dwell on the negatives (of anything!), the bigger they will appear to you. The more you focus on the positive qualities, the bigger they will appear to you!
Related Post: How Gratitude Changes Everything
There are times when I seek out the advice of others in regard to my husband and my marriage. I don’t think I need to completely refrain from ever speaking about issues in my marriage. In fact, keeping it all inside can be very detrimental! Sometimes shedding light on an issue and seeking the advice of the right person can bring new perspective, new insight, and new vitality to a marriage. The key is doing it in a way that is seeking resolution, and not just validation.
I wrote down the following two quotes from Lisa Pennington’s book Tightropes and Teeter-Totters to help me as I judge what I should and should not say:
- “Check your heart to be sure you are promoting God’s agenda and not your own.”
- Ask yourself, “Can I keep the focus on how to work on my own issues and not [his]?”
- Accept all hugs from Levon, no matter what I am working on at the moment.
This one probably sounds really strange to you. You’re probably thinking, “How does that even need to be a goal??” I’ll explain. My husband’s love languages are physical touch and acts of service. That means when he sees me cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, or any other kind of service for our family, it makes him feel extra loved. And he wants to show his appreciation by hugging, touching, and caressing right then and there.
I, on the other hand, am usually thinking, “I am right in the middle of all these things I have to do! Can’t he find a less inconvenient time to do this??” I used to get really irritated that he would always choose my busiest moments to try to hug me. And then I realized how silly I was being. It takes literally 10 seconds or less to turn around and return a hug. Am I really that busy that I can’t spare 10 seconds to hug my husband? If so, I seriously need to reexamine my schedule!
Should he try to find a better time to express his love for me? Maybe. But I can’t control what he does, I can only control what I do. So if stopping whatever task I’m working on to give him a hug makes him feel loved, that’s what I’m going to do!
Psst … you can learn about your love language here!
Those are my three marriage mini-goals for February! Will you help keep me accountable? I’d appreciate it!
Are you setting any goals this month? Let me know in the comments below, and we can keep each other accountable!
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