It’s Spring and time for home improvements! Maybe you are already spending your weekends in and out of big Home and Garden stores, gathering tools or plants or light fixtures to make your home a nicer place to live. But what are you doing to improve the inside of your home when it comes to relationships? Do you have plans for improving the happiness and contentment in your home?
Spring can be a good time to take stock of what you need relationally, not just a rake or a new faucet. Do you need more family time? Better budgeting? How can you get the kids to DO their chores? Or their homework?
It’s also a good time to take stock of what you need personally. Maybe you made some New Years’ resolutions, how are those going for you? Maybe you vowed to lose weight or increase your exercise, maybe you wanted to save more money or follow through on a hobby? Perhaps your goals were more serious, like drinking less, or quitting smoking. If you are doing great in these resolutions, then congratulations! But many of us fall short in some of these personal goals, even if we are making some improvements.
Increase Awareness of Areas to Personally Improve
Improvements of any kind begin with paying attention. Maybe you did this with your car or home. When we had the hailstorms last year, we went over the outside of houses with a fine tooth comb. You walked around and decided what needed fixing and prioritized… maybe windows first and dents second, and then you decided if you were prepared to address the problem.
Identifying and prioritizing can also be helpful when improving your relationships. You can do the same type of interpersonal inventory in your home. Does the family eat together, or on the fly? Sitting in the living room or actually at a dining room table? Does everyone get home and immediately retreat into their own designated spaces in the house, or do they spend time together talking about their day?
Plan Productive Changes
Once you identify areas of potential improvement, you then have to come up with a plan to implement productive changes in your personal life. Just like fixing the things around your house, home improvement goals can include improvements in relationships. Can you increase the amount of quality time you spend with your kids? Or your friends? Or maybe you just need to laugh more. You can plan activities and behaviors in your life that will lead to these things. Where would you obtain this extra time from your busy schedule? If we really look at what we’re doing throughout the week, we can find time that we’re doing other things, like videogaming or checking your smartphone, rather than things that can improve our personal lives.
Track and Evaluate
Goals like these can be hard to measure, but not impossible. To really know if you’re making progress, you must track how often or how frequently you’re engaging in behaviors that will lead you to your goals. For example, how much time are you spending on the floor, playing with your children? Could you increase it by a half an hour? Or try to do it 3 times a week? Could you perhaps take some of your allotted exercise time and turn that into a relationship-building exercise, like riding a bike with your children or companion?
Measure Improving Relationships
Better relationships are a function of better communication. Like measuring and tracking your goals, you can measure improved communication skills. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Possible Problem: Have you been accused of not talking enough to the people in your life?
Solution#1: Increase the amount of time you talk. Put the timer on and pay attention.
- Possible Problem: Maybe you feel like you are not talking about important topics.
Solution#2: Improve the content of your conversation, deliberately. What is important to you? What is important to the other person?
- Possible Problem: Perhaps you avoid difficult topics?
Solution #3: Be brave and ask, “Hey, can we talk about this?”
- Possible Problem: Do you say things you shouldn’t? (You aren’t alone!)
Solution#4: Think before you speak, “Will this hurt or offend?”
- Possible Problem: Oops, you have already offended someone.
Solution #5: Own it. Apologize and say it better; a re-do can go a long way and practice makes perfect.
The Family Care Center Can Help
So those are just some ideas that might be helpful for personal home improvements. Any one of our specialists at family Care Center can help with this. We encourage all our clients to be their best selves in hopes that they will enjoy their lives more and that their home can be a pleasanter place to live. Maybe you could plant a garden with your loved ones; who knows, other seeds may get planted that will be beautiful for years to come.
Everyone has unique challenges to these seemingly simple suggestions; and everyone has their own personal priorities. What do you want to improve? The choice is yours.