Rovena and Rick's 12 Month Relationship Challenge

Last night I was so inspired I couldn’t sleep. I decided to start a 12 Months Relationship Challenge! I stayed awake for a couple of hours thinking about it and writing notes rigorously. I planned the whole thing. I was thrilled about the idea.

I was thinking about the impact it will have on my relationship. I was thinking about areas where I would love to grow, but haven’t done much yet. I was thinking about how Rick would react when I tell him about it - on December 31 2022 - because I am going to commit to doing this challenge alone, without asking him to participate or do anything.

I was thinking how I always give all my couples homework, but it’s been a while since I had a committed relationship practice. When I learn something new I enthusiastically use it before sharing it, but this is very different. I want to go deep. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to practice on days when it's inconvenient, I want to practice on days when I don't even want to, just because I'm committed to it. I want to practice through boredom, or when I don't think I need it anymore. This is real.

I designed this challenge how I would design it for my couples - start with something easy, something that's already working well, and also something that'll have a high return on investment. If we start with something that's hard, people give up; if we start with something that's easy but makes no difference, people loose interest. Then we build on it. Once we get the momentum going, we throw in a bigger challenge - somewhat that will force you to grow. At this point you really need to be committed. After that we alternate fun and hard work challenges. Expansion and maintenance. Growth and play.

To design this challenge I'm asking myself questions like :

- Am I being the partner I aspire to be in this relationship?

- What would it take to close the gap between how I am and how I what to be?

- What would make a biggest difference for my partner?

- What would make the biggest difference for me?

- If I could, what would I change about myself in this relationship?

- In what areas would I like to grow?

We started by filling in a relationship satisfaction survey. My plan is to do the same survey at the end of the year to see what changed as a result of this challenge. My hope is that I can see the numbers changing, and not just rely on a feeling "it feels better", or a thought "I think our communication" is better. I want to see the numbers :) Of course we are starting pretty strong, but there's always a room for improvement.

I've printed a spreadsheet to track my commitment. Some months will require daily actions, some weekly, some on as needed basis.

I give myself permission to change the challenges as I might come up with better ideas, but I am committing for the whole year. I am in here for a long haul. I'm really curious what would happen if I spend the year making my relationship a priority.

I give myself 12 "Get Out of Jail Free" passes - 1 day per each month when I don't have to do the challenge - guilt free, no explanation needed. For daily actions months I might use 3-4 passes. We'll see how it goes. This cannot become a burden, and I don't want to feel resentful.

I'm good with long term commitments and I'm usually pretty good with self accountability........ and I'm also posting it here :) As far as accountability goes - it doesn't get any better that this. This feel vulnerable to share, but also really fun. I'll post each month to share my progress. If you want an accountability partner - start with challenge with a friend. It's way more fun that way.

Anyone can join any time - your challenge can be 7 days or 30 days. In fact, I'd highly recommend it if you are new to challenges. Set yourself up for success, not a disappointment. You can use some of my ideas or you can create your own. If you want to, send me a message, let me know how it's going.

Here’s the plan:

January - Appreciation month.

February - Hugs and Kisses.

March - No heck month. Self soothing, no complaining.

April - Self responsibility after a fight.

May - Self-differentiation (to be explained).

June - Other-differentiation (to be explained).

July - Personal growth challenge ( enthusiastic overreactor. To be explained).

August - 5 love languages.

September - 3 minutes game.

October - Rapid repair.

November - Self-care month.

December - Placeholder for something that might come up through the year. If nothing comes up - gratitude or intimacy.

I will explain what each month challenge is in the monthly posts. I'll also update this post here as the year progresses.

I'm starting on Jan 10, 2022. Wish me luck!