Do you make time for social and relationship goals?

The fourth plan that I recommend concerns setting goals for relationships and setting time aside to help you to achieve your emotional and social goals. None of us can have too many friends or too much family. However, there are times when we are dissatisfied with both. In a balanced life, we must manage our friendships and relationships with people who can sustain and nurture us. This takes time. Your time is precious and will quickly slip away if not budgeted and planned.

Even if you are already in a close relationship, you must spend time on the relationship or it will wither and die. My spouse Karen and I have set aside Tuesday night as talk night and family time. With no children home, we still find that problems and issues arise that need to be discussed. When we skip our planned talk days, eventually something breaks down and we realize that skipping these days is not a good idea. In addition, we set aside time to be by ourselves and to do things alone. We also set aside time to spend with our friends, our children and our grandchildren.

The emphasis on our planning is to try to keep a happy balance. When we are feeling dissatisfied, it is a good indication that we are not spending enough time on some aspects of our relationships. You do not need a very formal system to create such a plan. Karen and I simply discuss it from time to time and have our own rough guidelines for spending time with family and friends. I do regard appointments and times with friends as important enough to mark on my calendar and I seldom cancel dates that I have set unless something really important comes up. I have all of my friends in my address book and many on email. For awhile, I was using a group email list to regularly visit with friends and relatives each month, but I drifted away from this method. It certainly has pro’s and con’s.

How much time do you spend trying to maintain or improve your relationships? Do you think this is enough time? Do you wish you had more friends or closer relationships with your spouse or family? When can you set aside the time to help achieve these goals? Begin your plan by setting aside time to talk to some of these people either weekly or monthly about the important things in your relationships. Mark down some general overall goals for who you want to spend time with and how often you think you need to. You can simply write these on your calendar in the margins or sides.

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