Examples of Personal Agendas for Change

This is entirely optional but we wanted you to be able to write down some of your ideas. This form will email you whatever you write down. By sharing your personal agenda items we will also be able to enhance this course by knowing where people are focusing their energies on personal change.


  • Would not  fit the criteria
    • “I’d like to be more sensitive.”  (Too general)
    • “I’ll remember to take out the garbage.”  (Too narrow)
    • “I’d like to be less critical of my in-laws.” (The absence of a negative)
    • “I’d like for both of us to discuss problems more calmly.”  (Requires her active collaboration)
  • Would fit the criteria
    • Listen better when my spouse is sharing things with me.
    • Cutting my spouse more slack when my expectations are not met.
    • Being more about my thoughts and feelings.
    • Being more physically affectionate.
    • Participating more in household or child care responsibilities.
    • Calmly bring up my concerns rather than doing it angrily
    • Practicing new “self-talk” such as gratitude for the other person

Real examples from spouses in various workshops

More sensitive in words and actions when confronted with a problem, instead of shutting down or getting angry.

More assertive in conflict in a constructive manner.

Be more present with loved ones.

Handling anxiety better so as not to get either overwhelmed, then controlling or erupting.

Learn how to express my feelings without flooding the other person with too many specifics.

Learn how to deal with my panic in a conversation when I feel blocked.

Learn how to take better care of myself, including exercising, eating better, and not drinking as much alcohol.

Work on my reactivity so that I can more tolerant, less easily annoyed. Learn the cues to when I get reactive.

Take better care of myself and my health, mentally and physically.

Live in the present and with focus instead of so much worry and anxiety.

Be more persistent, stick things out during rocky times (instead of quitting jobs when things get stressful, which has been a source of stress for the marriage, and quitting an earlier marriage)

Resist overfunctioning, find a healthy level of functioning

Accepting differences when I am finding them difficult

Better boundaries and less caretaking

Overall, manage my anxiety in a healthier way, so that:

I can fill my own happiness bucket and not be as dependent, and have more goals and make more decisions

(Nice line:  "Anxiety turns off my brain and I shrink into a corner.")

When challenged, be more outward instead of ignoring, internalizing, or creating a barrier.

Be more open with emotions, both soft and hard.

Be more patient with the pace of my expectations of how things should go.  Part of this is to be more spontaneous, not just plan and be frustrated.

Be more "dependent," more willing to ask for help, and not try to be everything to everyone. [She applied these to the marriage and work relationships.]

Setting boundaries and keeping them.

More ability to negotiate differences: not being black and white and not blowing up when I'm hurt or surprised.

Find a way to be appropriately helpful to others instead of being dysfunctionally helpful by picking up the pieces for others and then feeling taken for granted and resentful.

Be honest and truthful at all times, instead of lying to avoid unpleasant situations.

Be better able to handle conflict--neither lying nor yelling to get the person to back off.

Higher self-esteem so that I can handle criticism without feeling like a failure who is being chopped down, abused and belittled.

Be more cognizant of the other’s needs and wants

Be more willing to be a partner, not a boss.

Be more open with my thoughts and feelings

Work on my sexuality, including my cross-dressing

Make my own wants and needs more of a priority, and resent others less

Work on my tendency to worry and focus on negatives

More understanding and better management of my anxiety in intimate relationships and in the carryover of my anxiety from other life stresses.

Increase my ability to listen and truly hear the other person without judgment and with being the "standard bearer" for the relationship.

Develop better boundaries so that I know where I end and the other person begins.

Trusting and using my voice early when things go wrong.

Learn to quiet my inner critic--and be joyfully me.  (Same for assuming that others are criticizing me.)

Stay more connected and not retreat in the hard times (and thereby be less apt to blow up eventually and feel about at that).

Personal Agenda for Change

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