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March 22, 2024

Setting Your Relationship Up for Success in the New Year

2023 was a lot! I knew that it would be and I attempted to psychologically prepare myself for something that is impossible to prepare for. We all got through, but a little trail weary. For those of you who have been following my podcast, you know I had a divorce in 2023 and as a result, my life has changed. It’s good, but change is change. I’m not sad to see this year go, but I value the lessons learned and strength gained and I hope you can say that about your year as well. Before I dive into the topic of Setting your relationship up for success in 2024 and in lieu of my win and fail, I want to share my word of the year and encourage you to create one as well.

If you have had yet another trip around the sun and 2023 hasn’t been what you hoped and dreamed, if you didn’t reach your goals or if life-crushing events happened that took you down this year, I’m hoping to spread Hope to you for these next few minutes we spend together.

I hope that you can start to experience the slow burn of anticipation and a little spark of joy and hope for this next year.

Choosing the Word of the Year vs Resolutions

I personally don’t do resolutions because I really value the why and the purpose and the process of behaviors over outcomes because I know that when the intention and process are there the outcome will happen.

For me, Goals and Resolutions feel constraining. Words feel different though. when there is a specific word I am striving toward in all the work that I am doing, I can bend and shift the way I do that as I go along. There is freedom in a word of the year.

If you are so inclined, I encourage you to do the same. Pick a word, that encompasses how you would like to feel throughout the year, what you would like to focus on throughout the year or who you want to be throughout this year.

But don’t stop there! Use that word to formulate some goals that point to that word.

For example, I have chosen my word for the year and it’s ROUTINE. I got way out of my routines this year as life hit a bit hard, but I have come to realize that it’s my routines that create my success. And so I intend to focus on getting deep into my routines this year, my spiritual routines, my physical routines, my professional routines, financial routines, psychological routines and my relational routines.

Planning increases the chances of you accomplishing the things that you want in your life.

Setting Your Goals For Success

I encourage you to choose your word and then make 5 goals that point you towards that word.

Goal #1 should be Financial
Goal #2 should be Relational
Goal #3 should be Personal
Goal #4 should be Spiritual
Goal #5 should be Physical

So, my word is routine, My financial goal will be to make sure all of my financial goals are set up and moving smoothly- my tithing, investing, spending.

My relational goal may be to set up regular family business meetings, lunches, dates, activities that I can get into a routine that keeps me connected in the way that I want to be with my people

My personal goal may be to focus on my routines of meditation, journaling, affirmations, writing, to make sure I’m achieving what I want in those areas.

My spiritual goal may be to adhere to regular prayer, devotion and connecting with my church community.

My physical goal may be to go to continue my regular routine of early morning workouts at the same time each day.

Every goal that you create should point back to your word of the year. All behaviors or changes that you make should point to your word of the year.

I intended to read 52 books last year. I didn’t reach that goal. But boy did I learn and learn was my word of the year.

What I know is that planning increases the chances of you accomplishing the things that you want in your life. No, I didn’t fulfill my 2023 goal, but everything I was doing in 2023 was pushing me towards that goal and ironically, the year before last was publish and I didn’t get my publishing deal in 2022, but it did come a few months later in 2023- all because I laser-focused on the word.

None of us know what 2024 holds. We are all at the mercy of God and other forces we don’t understand. There is nothing special about January 1st except that it is a collective day when we all start something new. There is energy in the collective and because goals are so crucial to accomplishment in your life, why not ride the wave of new energy and plan, hope, dream and take action.

So for the woman who feels a bit beaten down by 2023, can I help dust you off, shine you up and get you back in the saddle? Hope is free. It is not the precursor to disappointment as many fear. Let’s risk some disappointment and take some risks. Because without risk, we lose the joy of unexpected gifts, we lose the joy of accomplishment, we lose the joy of hard work yielding fruit.

And when all hope is lost, remember that God does transform seemingly hopeless circumstances.

Here are some things I’m looking forward to in the new year:

Sleeping in on Saturdays
Cuddles on the couch with my girls
My boys coming home to visit
Early mornings working on my writing
Precious time spent with friends
Walking barefoot in the grass in the summer
Speaking on new stages
Making new friends
Learning a new skill
Teaching a new skill
Saving a life through my work
Reading a book I don’t want to put down
Relaxing in the jacuzzi

I know there will be loss and grief and frustration in 2024, but there is so much to look forward to. 12 months of unwritten chapters. As you look forward to 2024, I pray that you look forward with hope, my friend. And if you are so inclined, please share your word of the year with. me.

Setting Your Relationship Up for Success in the New Year

Setting Your Relationship Up for Success in 2024

We often spend so much time on personal goals, affirmations, words of the year, but what about your relationship? Are you taking time to take into account where your relationship is here at the end of 2023 and how you want it to look in 2024?

Your marriage is a living breathing entity of itself, separate from each of you as individuals and it’s important to attend to it, to honor it and continue to give it life.

So, what does that look like?

Just like many of us take stock of ourselves, I encourage you to go to your partner and request that you set some time apart and take stock of your relationship this year.

What worked?

What didn’t?

What changes do you hope to see in the new Year?

What word would you like your relationship to embody this year? What word would you use to describe how you would like your relationship to look this year?

What would it look like if you and your partner created your own word for your relationship this year.

A beautiful way to connect this year is to create a routine of choosing a word and as you journey through the year, making decisions regarding your relationship, asking each other the question- does this point to our word of the year? this allows you to be intentional in your relationship and gives you the opportunity to work together towards a common goal of increasing health in your relationship.

Now, I also know who are struggling in their relationship and maybe don’t feel that their relationship has space for an activity like this. I encourage you to still take stock of your relationship this year and come up with a word for the year regarding how you want to show up in this relationship. You don’t have to have your spouse’s buy-in or consent to choose a word that embodies health for yourself and your relationship. Maybe it’s boundaries, maybe it’s empathy, or maybe it’s quality time or connection.

Where do you need to grow this year as a partner in a way that is also self-caring, not co-dependent or self blaming? This is a word you can hold close to your heart and ask yourself in your interactions with your partner if your behavior choices are reflective of that word.

Take some time. Think about it. Invite your spouse into the process. If they are unwilling, formulate your word based on everything that you know points to health in your marriage, and choose your word.

If your spouse is willing and you can choose the word together, set up your relationship for success this year by agreeing on a business meeting. Actually, with my couple clients, I request that they have a weekly date night and a weekly business meeting. During the date night, you don’t talk about any family business or children. Just focus on yourselves and your relationship, and enjoying each other. During the business meeting, you focus on family/ relationship business. what’s working, what isn’t, finances, kids, life stuff that is separate from your intimate relationship.

When would you address your word of the year? Well, it depends. If it is more functionally focused, it would be during your business meetings, but if it is more intimately focused, it would be during date night.

Set your relationship up for success by incorporating a word for your relationship. What we pour into, grows.

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