A new year, a new you – but what about us?
Making New Year’s resolutions is an age-old tradition popular in many cultures. Most often, these resolutions are considered a solo adventure. In part, thanks to the heavy dose of marketing by companies such as gyms and weight loss systems for self-improvement, but also because resolutions are so much easier to break when they only affect you.
However, resolutions do not have to be solo affairs. Couples can use them to build a strong relationship house through shared goals and memory-making. As a couple, the chances of a resolution succeeding are also higher as you work together in supporting each other to achieve your desired result.
New Year Resolutions for couples
When thinking about resolutions, the key things to remember are that they don’t have to be complicated, and you don’t have to have more than one. The only vital ingredients are that you agree on them together and that they serve to strengthen your bond.
Before diving into resolving, however, I recommend taking time to reflect on the past year and having an open discussion on the following:
- What did you enjoy doing together last year?
- How did you both deal with any challenges that came your way?
- Was there anything you would have done differently?
- Do you feel you grew closer together as a couple or were there time/s when you felt unsupported?
- What would you like to do together this year?
Remember to use the tools of effective communication and that the aim of the discussion is to create a list of things you want to do this year to strengthen your relationship, not break it down. If you are unsure how to do this without invoking the destructive influence of the four horsemen of relationship doom, seeing a relationship therapist is recommended. We have the skills and knowledge to help you negotiate through the tricky bits and teach you how to communicate without conflict. I also offer a three-day intensive couples therapy that provides positive results quickly.
Once you have finished reflecting on the last year and have made a list of all that went well and what was missing, take a moment to celebrate that you made it through the year together. 2022 was another rough year of sailing for much of the population, and many ran aground. Congratulations on staying the course during difficult times.
How to create couples goals that work
As I said earlier, resolutions don’t have to be revolutionary or significant; they just have to benefit you both. Creating a joint goal doesn’t have to be an arduous task either. An easy method that has worked for many and I recommend to my clients begins with writing down all your wants and desires (permitting yourselves to have as many as you want, even brainstorming them if you wish). Envision what you want all areas of your lives to look like and write them down too. Then sort and prioritize all you have written into the following categories:
- Requires immediate attention (no more than ten)
- Important but does not have to be achieved straight away
- It would be nice to have but not essential (dream of having)
Review the list monthly or quarterly; the frequency doesn’t matter as long as you check in with them more than once during the year. Once you have completed a goal from your A list, move one up from your B list, and so on.
Some simple goals that others have chosen and found easy to achieve include:
- Making “date nights” a regular activity and a priority in their lives.
- No-screen time before bed. Use the time instead to check in with each other about the events of the day or reaffirm what you like about each other.
- Learning a new hobby that involves working together to achieve a goal, e.g., a sport that you play as a couple or creating something together.
- Starting a joint savings account and using the money saved to go on a holiday or purchase something of benefit to both.
Resolutions don’t always have to include a new activity or physical goal, though. For example, you might want to become better at communicating. Or spend more time as a family, or renovate the house together. As a couple, the ultimate goal of any resolution is to deepen your love for each other. I would love to know what you resolve to do in 2023. Send me a private message or comment on my Facebook or LinkedIn page.
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