The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Couples (Habit 3: Put First Things First)

The seven habits are not a quick and easy formula for success, but together they form a powerful model for personal change. Adapted for couples, this series of posts is a respectful homage to Stephen R. Covey who died on July 16, 2012, age 79. Covey will be remembered as a transformational thinker on leadership and personal effectiveness. His book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ his most lasting legacy.

The seven habits can be divided into two groups – the first three focus on “private victory” and the second three on “public victory”, with Habit 7 rounding the previous six to work towards refinement, self renewal and continuous improvement. Covey says “Private Victory precedes Public Victory” which means that you must master yourself before enjoying success outside of ourselves and with our partner.

    Habit 3: Put First Things First
    If Habit 2 is about beginning with the end in mind, or imagining and establishing the end state, then habit 3 is about focusing on the important matters to achieving your mission. If you tend to spend a lot of time doing things that are not that important, Habit 3 recommends you identify what is important in order to keep you heading towards your destination. Putting first things first is about staying on track, taking the initiative, exercising willpower and getting the important things done.
    Think leverage and influence and do all things in a disciplined way. Balance the short and long-term priorities to ensure your effort is expended effectively. Implement and live the values and principles of Habits 1 and 2.
    If you don’t practice Habit 2, if you don’t have a clear idea of what is important, of the results you desire in your life, you will be easily diverted into responding to the urgent. The urgent things are often those that keep you away from focusing on what is important.
    A practical approach to keep you on track is to capture and track your tasks and review then weekly. Ensure they are always aligned to your couple or family mission statement.

    Tune in next week for Habit 4.

    The seven habits are a step by step model that empower couples to be intentional, to make decisions and to act, to move towards a known destination rather than reacting to whatever is happening at the time. Emphasising the importance of self awareness before successful engagement with your partner, the model is a process of learning new habits to create personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

    The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

    The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

    For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship


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