How to achieve your sex and relationship goals in 2024
Every January I sit down and map out my goals for the year. Chances are, you do too.
For most of my adult life, these goals were centered on exercise, nutrition, finances and work.
When I became a sexologist, I started incorporating sex and relationship goals too. It’s been a game-changer.
I realized, however, that while many of you want to be a better partner and have better sex, setting specific goals to achieve them is a challenge. Perhaps it feels unnatural. Perhaps you don’t even know where to begin.
So to kick off 2024, I want to set you up for success by teaching you how to be proactive about your intimate life, set goals that matter, and make them happen.
1. Ask yourself the right questions
It’s been clinically proven that a happy long-term relationship can improve one’s health and quality of life. It’s also been proven that better sex leads to happier relationships.
Of course, this looks different for each of us. Understand what you want, and why you want it, by asking yourself the right questions.
To be a better partner, start with your values.
- What are they and where do they stem from?
- Which actions and behaviors align with those values?
- What needs to happen for these changes to take place?
- What does being a better partner look like on a tangible, day-to-day basis?
- How will you hold yourself accountable?
Below are more questions to guide you. Feel free to add your own as you reflect, and switch “we” or “I” to whatever suits your situation.
- How strong is our communication?
- What are we avoiding?
- What are our non-negotiables?
- What acts of affection do we cherish most?
- What gestures can we do more for each other?
- What gets me in the mood?
- When do we feel the most attracted to each other?
- Am I feeling any pain or discomfort that I need to address?
- Are we communicating our needs and wants to each other?
- Do we make sure that we’re both satisfied when we have sex?
Many of these questions come from our Mindful Intimacy Card Deck. If you’re interested, check it out here.
2. Simplify your goal
If you’ve spent enough time on the internet, you’ve likely come across the midwit meme. It highlights how we opt for complex solutions rather than simple, obvious ones because they sound better.
We overcomplicate and set ourselves up for failure. So how can this be avoided? By taking the simple ideas seriously.
Here’s how you get there:
- Write down your goal.
- Write how you would definitely fail at that goal.
- Then write how you would avoid that failure.
Let’s say your goal is to have better, more connected sex with your partner in 2024.
How would you ensure you’d have bad sex?
- Not talking about it with your partner.
- Not expressing your needs and wants.
- Not listening to your partner’s needs and wants.
- Not spending quality time with your partner on a regular basis.
- Not trying new things in bed.
Great, so now let’s reframe them. How would you avoid having bad sex?
- Talking about it with your partner.
- Expressing your needs and wants.
- Listening to your partner’s needs and wants.
- Prioritizing quality time on a regular basis.
- Trying new things in bed.
3. Break down your goal into measurable steps
You’ve broken down your goal into simple, realistic steps. Now you need to make them intuitively measurable to track your progress.
Let’s take action #1 – talking to your partner about sex. Your actionable steps would be:
- Learn how to talk about it constructively by finding a tool or an expert to teach you. If you need help getting started, download our six-step guide to talking about sex here.
- Get in the habit of talking about it regularly by scheduling a monthly check-in. Add it to your calendar to keep track and adjust the frequency as needed.
- Get in the habit of checking in during sex. While you’re with your partner, ask “How does this feel?”, “Are you enjoying this position?” “Is there anything you want me to do differently?”.
- Ask for feedback, listen, and implement the changes.
- If communicating is not working after six months, seek a coach or therapist to help you facilitate healthy, supportive conversations about sex.
The same goes for trying new things in bed.
- During your regular check-in to talk about sex, make sure you and your partner are honest and non-judgmental about new things you want to try.
- Commit to trying one new thing per month. This can be a new position, a new location, a new accessory, etc.
- Commit to reading one book, or doing one course, per semester that is relevant to a sexual interest you have, or to simply to broaden your understanding of sex and intimacy.
See how these steps are realistic, specific and measurable? This is what you want to apply to your goals.
Renowned psychologist Esther Perel said that the quality of your life is measured by the quality of your relationships. Being proactive by nurturing and prioritizing your sexual relationship is a surefire way to achieve a happy, healthy partnership.