If you’re anything like me, you have high hopes that 2016 is going to be your year. And while, in many ways I make this claim every year and a lot of good happens in my life, there are those tried and true “resolutions” that just don’t seem to stick.
“I’m going to be a better (friend, confidant, spouse, colleague) for the New Year. “ “I aim to be more (giving of my time, generous with my loved ones, selfless, thoughtful).” “I vow to do less (blaming, cursing, feeling sorry for myself).” And so on and so forth. You get the idea. As wonderful and hopeful as these goals may sound, implementing them always seem to fall short.
So what is it about our New Year’s resolutions that don’t stick? It’s not the goal itself that loses steam; it’s the process along the way that falls short, making the end result seem less and less attainable. Slowly, old habits reemerge and then boom. Before you know it you’re at the end of the year wondering how you managed to fail on most accounts, making you feel pretty down about yourself.
Relationship struggles are at the forefront of the list of things that people want to change and make better for the new year. You want a better marriage, so you vow to fight fair. You want to be more intimate with your partner, so you make a point to go along with the romance each and every time, never saying, “I’m too tired.” A few months in and you’re tired of the process, feeling like the same old arguments are creeping back in and wanting more time away from the relationship. You’re not alone. Relationship patterns (as old habits) are hard to break.
This year, however, if you want a New Year’s resolution worth making, why not try these foolproof strategies that are sure to make your relationship thrive in the new year?
- Small things every day make the most difference in your relationship.
This should be your daily relationship mantra. If you keep this phrase in the back of your mind, you’ll make the process easy and attainable. So what are those small things? Say good morning, show respect, be kind, create rituals of connection at the end of the day, and kiss each other goodnight. These small gestures get easily forgotten, so reinstituting them does wonders for the overall outlook of the relationship.
- Create an atmosphere of appreciation.
Look around at your home, your children and your family and constantly find ways to appreciate your partner for the things he or she does to make it better. If you look for things to be thankful for instead of everything your partner is doing wrong, you’ll have a much more positive attitude toward your relationship.
- Turn toward, instead of turning away.
When you get hurt or wounded by your significant other, your immediate reaction is to lash out, clam up or remove yourself from the situation. You feel let down and believe that’s warranted because of how your partner made you feel. But reacting this way only creates a divot in your relationship.
Instead of turning away, express your feelings (as vulnerable and uncomfortable as they may feel) and make your spouse know how betrayed, upset or hurt you are. Being honest and open about your feelings creates a better connection and a stronger bond between you and your loved one.
- Choose to forgive.
Taking some accountability, accepting influence from the other person and being able to forgive is the best way to change old patterns and learn from past mistakes.
The new year will most certainly have its challenges. But with a little forgiveness (of your loved one but also yourself) and a lot of effort, you’re on your way to a new year and new relationship.
Happy couple photo available from Shutterstock