Effective Goal Setting

Setting goals for your life is something that is so important. It can be very difficult to decide in which direction you want to take things, but it is very important that you set goals in order to achieve some sort of direction. Goals help keep your life structured and constantly moving forward. But how do you effectively set your goals?

Challenge yourself.

Goals should challenge you to make changes and better your life. Goals can be small or big, but they should present a hurtle that your need to jump over. Your goals should require you to expand your mind and push yourself to work hard to make your life the happiest it can be.

Make goals attainable.

It is important that your goals are not only challenging but realistic. Your goals should be something that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time that you set. For example, setting a goal to complete a 4 year university program in 2 years or owning a house withing a year when you do not have a stable full time job really isn’t realistic. Instead, setting the goal to graduate within the time your supposed to or perhaps finding a job that gives the right amount of pay and hours to get ready to buy that house.

Find ways to stay motivated.

Staying motivated is one of the biggest challenges of attaining goals. Achieving what you want out of life is hard work, and at times it can see impossible. You need to find ways to keep yourself on your path towards your goals and there are lots of ways that you can do that. Finding a way to treat yourself is so important to help keep you motivated. Maybe you just need a quiet night in with a good book, or a night out with your friends. Whatever is a good way for you to wind down and give yourself a break from the hard work.

Keep your goals fluid and accept change. 

Lives change regularly, and sometimes our goals need to change right along with them. Lots of things can happen unexpectedly and you need to prepare yourself for that chance that you might need to change your direction. The best way you can do that is to continue to be open to new experiences and embrace all that life has to offer you. It is not considered a failure to change your goals, but rather a successful way to reevaluate your life.

You can do anything that you set your mind to, but you need to set goals to get there. Being effective at goal setting will help you get things done and keep you going in the right direction. Set your goals and start working towards a happier and healthier life today.

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More Than Just Talk: Effective Communication Between You and Your Significant Other

shutterstock_47090224  Communication is so important in every relationship that we are a part of. We need to be able to clearly express our feelings and desires to those we are involved with in order to have our needs met. This is especially true to having a successful relationship with your significant other. In order for communication to be strong later in a relationship, it is necessary to have a good foundation built on honesty, openness, and trust. Good communication aides in both arguments and important decisions (i.e. children, life goals, etc.) put your communication skills to the test. So what is good communication? To fully explore this, we first need to take a look at what dysfunctional and functional communication looks like.

Have you ever been in a relationship in which talking to your partner was frustrating and painful? Did they shut down during arguments? Was there a lack of trust and honesty? If the answer to these questions is yes, chances are the communication between you and your partner was dysfunctional. Some characteristics/behaviours that can be considered dysfunctional communication include:

  • Shutting down during arguments (giving the silent treatment when angry, getting increasingly impatient and angry when participating in emotional conversations)
  • Lack of trust (inability to open up about true feelings and refusal to participate in meaningful/heartfelt exchanges)
  • Dishonesty (telling “half-truths” or just not telling the truth at all, hiding things in order to avoid having a conversation about it)
  • Actively ignoring (making an effort to “tune out” or not engage in conversation at all on a consistent basis)
  • Abusive and hurtful language (swearing, name calling, and put downs being used on a consistent basis during arguments and everyday conversations)

Dysfunctional communication can have huge consequences in a relationship, including shutterstock_33262939constant turmoil and arguments between you and your partner. It is possible to move from dysfunctional communication to functional communication, but what does functional communication look like?

Functional communication is, at its most basic level, effective and meaningful conversations between you and your partner that deepen trust, allow for openness, and promote full disclosure and honesty. Some characteristics/behaviours that can be considered functional communication include:

  • Ability to be vulnerable with your partner (being able to be open and honest about sensitive topics (past traumas, true feelings) as well as being respectful of your partner’s feelings and experiences)
  • Actively listening to your partner (engaging in the conversation through acknowledging them (nodding, eye contact) as well as responding appropriately and fully)
  • Trusting your partner
  • Ability to be honest with your partner (completely and fully expressing your true feelings about important things, as well as expressing your frustrations and anger in a healthy way)

Although the differences between dysfunctional and functional communication seem vast, it is possible in some relationships to repair past damage and move forward to more effective communication.

As in any relationship, gaining effective communication requires a lot of hard work. Having good communication with your partner is not going to happen overnight, but below are some suggestions to help you and your partner communicate more effectively.

Speak honestly about how you feel. Let your partner know when you are angry with them, or when you are hurting, instead of shutting down. Shutting down can create resentment which can destroy a relationship.

Find ways to gain trust with your partner. This is not an easy task. Past experience can taint your ability to trust in another person, however, working through this and providing your partner with opportunities to gain your trust can do wonders for communication. Give your partner every opportunity to put their trust in you, and work towards gaining their trust.

shutterstock_71759158Pick your battles and learn to fight fairly. Before engaging your partner in an argument, think about your motives for arguing. Understand that arguments are not about winning or losing, but about learning to compromise and see both perspectives. Well arguments are completely normal in relationships, it is important that you fight fairly. Avoid using harsh and hurtful language when arguing with your partner. Words often do much more damage than we are aware of, and some of these wounds are irreparable.

Communication is the foundation of human interaction. That is why it is so important that you are able to effectively communicate with your significant other. Developing a healthy way of connecting to your partner will not only bring you closer together, but increase your happiness and stability within the relationship.