As we look ahead to the new year, it’s only natural to begin thinking about our resolutions.
Around this time of year, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” is a question you’ll face everywhere. Suddenly people at work, acquaintances, and even random people at our favorite shops want to know our plans for the future.
Normally, our resolutions are focused on ourselves. According to a recent poll by Statista, the top resolutions year after year are to live healthier, be happier, and lose weight. “New year, new you.” Wanting to better oneself is, of course, fantastic.
Many don’t think of making New Year’s resolutions with their partner. According to the stats, it’s something only 11% of people do yearly. But our relationships need similar attention and focus every year. Even the happiest couples can still find ways to grow and deepen their bonds together.
A lot can happen to us over a year. Sure, most of it is minor, but some of these smaller issues can build up over time when not addressed or dealt with. The start of the New Year is the perfect time to raise any of these problems and set goals for the coming months. If anything, relationship resolutions are probably easier to keep than personal ones since there’s built-in accountability with your partner.
Some may worry a bit, thinking we’re asking you to dredge up painful issues and point out your partner’s flaws. We’re not here to do that. Dreaming about where you want to be in the future should be fun and exciting. You’re setting a goal to work towards together.
Today, we’ll go over a few tips on how to make New Year’s resolutions with your partner more fun and give you some examples to help you get started.
How to Enjoy Making Resolutions
To start, you’ll want to set your New Year’s resolutions with your partner. This isn’t an activity one person should decide and then push on their partner. This should be a collective vision for your future. How you communicate with each other through this process will determine the quality of your resolutions and the likelihood of seeing them through.
Making a few changes to how you sit down to plan for your future can help it be the exciting, fun time it should be.
Set Aside Quality Time
Setting resolutions should be a fun experience, but you’ll benefit most by making this an intentional time. So, set a date night or some special time when the two of you can talk uninterrupted for a while.
Focus on the Good
Some of us can tend to focus our resolutions on negatives. “I feel fat, so I want to lose weight.” This is unhealthy on a personal level and even worse when setting goals with your partner. Using phrases like, “I hate it when you…” or “You should stop…” will make your partner go on the defensive and shut down honest communication. So, be sure to start your talks with a reflection on good things that happened over the year. Highlight the little things you saw them do that you might not have praised them enough. This will help ensure everyone’s in good spirits as you progress.
See “We” More Than “I”
When setting goals, try to use “we” instead of you or I. “We should start…” or “We would benefit from…” This helps avoid the defensiveness that can arise when people feel blamed for something. Your resolutions are about strengthening your relationship, after all. So you’ll want to make resolutions that involve both of you.
Set Practical & Attainable Goals
Change is a process and won’t magically happen overnight just because we’ve decided we want it. Look at the ultimate goal you want to achieve, and then break it down into smaller sets of things that can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time. Don’t just resolve to have a better relationship. Ask yourselves, “what does a better relationship look like for both of us?” Maybe that’s going on more date nights or increasing your sexual activity. Then set resolutions around those smaller items to help get you where you want to go.
5 Resolutions to Help You Get Started
Ideally, you’ll brainstorm together to create amazing and attainable resolutions specific to building and maintaining your relationship. But sometimes, it’s hard to get started without a bit of guidance. Don’t worry – we’ve included some example relationship resolutions to jumpstart your talks.
Please don’t just take these to your partner and say, “we need to work on this.” Use these to start your conversation.
Learn a new thing about your partner
Unfortunately, many of us can start to take our partners for granted over the years. We fall in love with this terrific human, and then we don’t notice how spectacular they are as time goes on. Both of you are constantly growing and evolving. You’ll learn new jokes or ways of looking at the world. Set aside time to rediscover your partner and how they’ve grown and changed. Try asking if it’s OK to join them in any new passions they’ve unlocked.
Develop friendships with new couples
We all tend to hole up when in relationships. It’s great to have a safe space where we can retreat with our partner. But too much time away from others can be a bad thing. It’s harder to find friends as an adult, but there are several benefits to your relationship from meeting with other couples. Plus, as much as a new couple will help your relationship, you’ll also be able to share things you’ve learned to help them as well.
Take a risk…together
Comfort can be good at the correct levels, but when things grow stale…that can be catastrophic for a relationship. Taking a step outside of your comfort zone is a great way to get trust and intimacy back in your relationship. If you go into something new, knowing your partner has your back, you’ll build even more confidence in your relationship. Risk varies wildly for every couple. Find the right balance for your relationship. Some couples might want something crazy like skydiving or traveling the globe, while others could be fine with starting a new hobby.
Couples who regularly express gratitude towards their partners are statistically happier and more likely to succeed. Who doesn’t love being around someone who’s constantly encouraging and building you up? Everyone understands that they should compliment each other when they dress up for a special occasion, but we can often overlook the day-to-day things our partners are doing. Try to aim for a compliment a day to get started and see how it changes the dynamics in your relationship.
True quality time
Everything competes for our attention these days, and unfortunately, our partners are usually the ones losing out. We “listen” while scrolling our feeds or watching the latest streaming TV show. Resolve to give your partner your undivided attention. You can start small, 15 or 30 minutes every day to start. Turn off your devices and try to really talk and listen. It can have a tremendous impact on your happiness as a couple.
Resolve to Work Towards a Better 2023!
It takes effort to nourish and sustain the relationship you deserve. Couples therapy or a marriage intensive can offer the support and tools needed to help your relationship continue to grow.
I wish you a happy and healthy 2023 for yourself and your relationship. Setting resolutions and goals doesn’t have to be tied to the New Year. Still, it’s a great excuse to refocus yourself and your relationship. Approaching your partner with the idea of setting relationship resolutions also helps show your commitment!
Connect with me if you’d like to find ways to grow and deepen your relationship! Wishing you a happy new year and hope your relationship reaches new heights in 2023!