It can be difficult to keep dating.
From getting discouraged, to self-sabotage, through to the environment and people around you being unsupportive it takes something from you. Keeping the future alive is one way to keep yourself inspired.
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Habit Two in Stephen Covey’s classic book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin With The End In Mind”. This is not just about setting goals in specific areas but also an invitation to examine one’s whole life from this perspective. There is an exercise in the book which seems morbid at first glance.
Covey suggests imagining your own funeral. At your funeral four people across your life will speak. One from your immediate family, one of your close friends, someone from work, and another from your wider community life. You then imagine what you would like them to say. Not what they would say – but what you would actually want them to say about you.
This exercise allows us to get in touch with our deepest principles and influences. This is a great starting point for understanding how to orient our lives around what it really important to us.
I suggest adapting the exercise to imagine your funeral – and imagine your husband/ partner/ significant other is speaking at your 60th wedding anniversary. What would you want him to say? How would you want him to express himself? What would he do? What would he wear? Allow yourself to dream and create.
Consider that this would create your future for your relationship journey – and that will actually influences the actions you take today. (Which incidentally is Habit Three – “Put First Things First”).
More deeply – if that future is big enough and inspiring enough – it can keep you motivated on a day-to-day basis. It can shake you out of your discouragement; keep you out of self-sabotage; and it can give you something to refer to when the people around you are excessively negative.
By creating an inspiring future – it’s outside your thoughts and opinions. That incessant self-talk can be overly negative. Having an outward expression can allow you to transcend the self-talk. A bit like using affirmations to shift thought patterns.
And this is only one future – it can constantly evolve. It’s not fixed – and more than you are. As you grow, so your expression of your inspiring future for your relationship changes. Allow it to do so – remember it’s your creation!
Your inspiring future for your relationship journey isn’t limited to written expression – it could be a vision-board. The visual representation of a collage goes beyond words by using imagery. Having recommended a written list and collaging to women I’ve coached, I’m *always* amazed by what they create.
The clarity it creates can be liberating.
- Set aside time to do the wedding anniversary exercise. Write down whatever you create. (I recommend completing Covey’s funeral exercise for your wider life anyway, but for Good Man Plan, focus on the area of relationships).
- Reread what you’ve created every few days – hone it if you feel the urge.
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