The most common resolutions revolve around similar themes: dieting, working out, spending less money, and quitting bad habits.
And while these are all fantastic goals, we often forget to make resolutions around our personal relationships.
It’s those same relationships that significantly shape the quality of our lives. In fact, it’s been said that the partner you choose is the single most important decision you can make.
That’s because the dynamics of a relationship actively influence and downright change both partners – especially when the relationship is a long-term commitment.
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So, this year, let’s add a few resolutions to significantly better our relationships and marriages.
We’ve compiled 9 resolutions that will strengthen the bond, increase the happiness and better the overall lives of both partners.
But before getting into those 9 goals that you can both commit to, let’s go over a few ways to make your resolution successful.
How to Achieve a New Year’s Resolution
One reason people don’t commit to new year’s resolutions is because of their notoriously low success rate. Hovering at between a 10-15% success rate, our capacity to keep our resolutions definitely has some room for improvement.
Here are some tips for you and your partner to radically increase your chances of success in your resolutions:
- Limit your resolutions to just a few and break those down into daily habits. For example, pick 2-3 resolutions from this list that will best benefit your relationship and then sit with your partner to break down the goal into timely actions (Learn something new together = enrol into weekly classes together, etc.)
- Document your goals, track your progress and celebrate the small wins. Start by writing down your goals in a journal and place it by your bed side. Review the goals on a daily or weekly basis to keep your mind focused on achieving them. Then, with every milestone (i.e. 3 months of consistent date nights), celebrate it with your partner!
- Keep each other accountable. For example, Use a calendar and assign yourselves two different colored markers. With each successful day following your end of the resolution, mark the calendar with an ‘X’ in your color. This will keep you both accountable and create a ritual in which both partners will ‘check in’ at the end of the day.
With these 3 tips, we’re confident in both you and your partner. You got this!
Resolutions for a Happier, Healthier Relationship
Now, let’s move along to the resolutions themselves. These 9 new year’s resolutions are designed to help your relationship thrive and grow over the next 12 months we have in front of us.
1. Eat Mindfully
In our world of distraction, it’s so important to spend uninterrupted, quality time with our significant others. It’s time to dedicate time to our partners where our attention is all theirs- and what better time than when sharing a meal!
The first step here is to consider meal time to be a sacred ritual for the both of you. This resolution is a little open to interpretation based on what you both reckon you need, but here are some tips to how you can eat more mindfully with your partner every day.
- Pick a meal when you’re both most likely to be present (i.e. breakfast, lunch or dinner)
- Resolve to keep all electronics away during that time so you can truly connect with your partner
- Eat mindfully (read: chew slower and savour every bite!)- not only does this help with digestion but it also transforms a meal to a ritual that you can both enjoy fully
2. Go 30 Days Argument-Free
This one might sound a little daunting at first, but it is seriously worth it.
When both partners resolve to go a month without any arguments, what they are really committing to is constructively working through every issue as it arises.
This resolution will not only increase everyone’s capacity to problem-solve, it will also bring a more harmonious and positive tone to the overall relationship.
One great resource for taking on this resolution is to read The Argument-Free Marriage by Fawn Weaver. Here’s a quote,
“Make up your mind to resolve all issues and challenges before the end of the day. For whatever cannot be resolved, either agree to disagree, forgive each other and let it go, or write up a new “work order” for the next day.”
3. Learn Something New Together
A great resolution for couples to take on at any stage (either brand new, or married and celebrating their golden anniversary), is to learn something new together!
Instead of growing apart, resolve to take up one new skill or hobby that you can both participate in, preferably, something that you’re both doing for the first time.
That’s because when we learn something new, different parts of our brains are activated and we assign that excitement and thrill in part to our partner. Not only will both partners walk away with something they can be proud of, but they will have grown together, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Take a class (think art/dance/music classes, or even a new language!)
- Join a team- there are plenty of intramural sports available that you can both join at any skill level
- Learn from the comfort of your home- with so many digital platforms available, you can learn virtually anything online. You can both even take up an accredited course for the double benefit of leisure and development
4. Choose Something to Work on Independently
It might seem a bit counter-intuitive for our fourth relationship resolution to be about independently pursuing something, but hear us out:
When you resolve to work on yourself, you bring that betterment right back into the relationship. You can choose a new hobby, professional development course or even tie this into your individual goals (whatever they may be).
The key to this is sharing updates and progress with your partner. They will undoubtedly be proud of you and appreciate the work you’re putting in!
5. Ask More Questions
Entry number five on our list is all about communication. But instead of saying something vague like ‘communicate better,’ we wanted to present you with the number 1 way of doing just just.
Asking your partner more questions (especially during misunderstandings, moments of anger and during other hardships both major and minor) is the absolute best way of creating empathy and gaining understanding.
Here are a few questions you can keep in your back pocket:
- What makes you think that?
- Why do you feel that way?
- What can I do to make it up to you?
- When is a good time to talk?
- Can you help me understand what’s bothering you?
These questions are phrased in a way to keep both of your defences down and to work together towards a solutions instead of dwelling in assumptions.
We can all resolve to ask 1-2 questions the next time any sort of dispute or uncomfortable moment occurs.
6. Plan a Financial Goal and Reward
A big part of living together as a couple is the question of finances. In fact, finances are such a large force in any relationship or marriage that it’s often cited as one of the biggest reasons behind a divorce.
So, to help solidify financials, a great resolution to keep is around savings.
Whether you decide to save a set percentage of your paychecks bi-weekly, contribute X amount to your retirement every quarter, or start an investment portfolio in 3 months time, it is so important to have a plan on how to get there.
The solution to keeping a resolution around money is to celebrate every milestone together. Here’s how:
- Create your financial target together that’s aligned with your goals as a couple (i.e. buying a house, paying off debt, saving up for the kids, planning for the trip of a lifetime, etc)
- Break down your goal into weekly or monthly actions (i.e. direct withdrawal into a savings account every 2 weeks)
- Set quarterly or semi-annual rewards (such as a small getaway for accomplishing your goals) to keep the momentum going!
7. Create a Happiness Jar
This is a fun one!
It works like this:
At the beginning of the year, place a mason jar somewhere in your home that you see often (think: kitchen counter, family room, bedroom night table). Every time something great happens in your relationship, whether it’s a fantastic date, fun surprise from your significant other or mini-success (a promotion, a big purchase, etc.), add a little note to the jar.
When both you and your spouse/partner commit to this, what you’ll have at the end of the year is a jar full of beautiful moments.
Here’s the best part- next new year’s eve, make it a tradition to open the jar and say good-bye to the year with a flood of incredible times together that you can re-live.
8. Up the Intimacy and Dating Factor
Relationship resolution #8 is one that will have you both feeling like teenagers again!
This resolution is created to counter the fact that with time together, it’s easy to start taking one another for granted.
So, this new year, resolve to bring back a ‘dating’ mentality to your relationship. Start with scheduling dates, and surprising each other like you would at the beginning of a relationship. One way to up the dating factor on dates nights is to actually meet at the venue, even if you live together!
That way, it will feel a lot more like a date with all of the elements of surprise. Intimacy is another aspect that we all have room to improve in. Here are a few ideas that you can both choose from:
- Dress up for each other more often (looking your best will not only peak your partner’s interest, it will also make you feel more confident)
- Spice up your dates- instead of a movie, go to a salsa class or a wine-making session, you’ll both be glad you did
- Double date with your friends- this way you’ll have plenty of company, excitement and variety on your dates
9. Strengthen Your Social Ties
Time and time again, studies have shown that one of the greatest predictors of relationship and marital success is the quality of the social ties of the couple.
While we can’t all have the perfect group of friends and families, we all do have a few people in our lives that are important to us.
They key here is to create a small circle of people in your lives together. People that the both of you, as a unit, can depend on, can socialise with and can spend time with. These mutual friendships and family members will become the basis of a strong foundation for your own relationship.
So, what’s the resolution here?
Resolve to strengthen your social relationships as a couple.
With that, we wish you a fantastic start to the new year.
Best wishes to you both. Here’s to an incredible 2019, full of happiness, growth and prosperity.
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