How to Discover 10 “Relationship Breakthroughs” for True Happiness in the New Year

An exercise to help you rally around your loved ones' goals for the new year.

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
image courtesy of

In the spirit of the season I’d like to touch on something near and dear to my heart.

As a long-time “abundant living” coach, I have had the privilege of helping many people transform their lives by focusing on what I call the three dimensions of authentic wealth: financial, foundational and intellectual.

I have tried to practice what I preach. And one of the best ways I’ve found to incorporate these principles is with what I call the “10 Relationship Breakthroughs” exercise.

We do this with our children and grandchildren every year during the month of December, but it can really be incorporated into your family (and close friends) at any time. It has become a favorite in our family — opening up a world of closer communication, stronger growth, and even some much-needed fun — both for me and for those closest to me. Not only is it a highlight of our Christmas season, but it also has a significant side benefit: We all get on the same page — in an abundant mindset — and get to rally around each other’s goals for the new year.

Here’s how it works: While sitting together, each family member spends 15 or 20 minutes jotting down what they think they need to be happy in 10 key relationships or areas in our lives. We write a goal, or vision, for these relationships with the following:

1) Deity (God, or whatever your belief is in a higher power)

2) Spouse (or parents, for the children)

3) Children (or siblings, for the children)

4) Extended family (or friends, for the children)

5) Physical health

6) Finances / self-reliance

7) Intellectual milestones

8) Work / school

9) Church service

10) Community service

Instead of outlining New Year’s “resolutions,” which are often more superficial and fleeting, we write what needs to happen in these areas of our lives during the given time period (in this case, the coming year). Then we identify the relevant dangers, opportunities and strengths. For the dangers, we ask ourselves the questions: What road blocks or Barriers would prevent me from achieving these goals, and more important — how will I eliminate the dangers? For opportunities we ask: What Resources or circumstances do I need to seize or make happen to accomplish that vision? Finally, for strengths we ask: What Experiences do I have to draw from, what Actions can I take, and what Knowledge have I obtained from my own learning and others that can help me accomplish these goals and create the kind of future I want?

(You’ll notice this gives us the acronym B.R.E.A.K.)

Let me illustrate how the 10 Relationship “Break” throughs work. Let’s say I set a goal to lose 10 pounds and get healthy. One danger or barrier would be that I might end up having an accident or a health issue this year, resulting in not being “at ease” physically (“dis-eased”). Another danger or barrier could be time — or not enough of it — though the reality is, if we don’t invest the time to take care of our body, we’ll be forced to take the time to recover from the results of not living a healthy lifestyle.

Maybe some of the opportunities and resources we could take advantage of would be to sign up for a yoga class, or to be accountable to a professional nutritionist or even a close friend. We could utilize books, the Internet and the experiences of family members and friends — thereby harnessing their support. Other resources might be a fitness center, a gym, and others we meet who have similar goals.

One more example. Maybe your goal is to put your financial house in order. One danger or barrier could be that despite your best efforts, a year down the road you’re still saddled with consumer debt, or, due to taxes / inflation / expenses going up, you outlive your money in retirement since market volatility in America is out of your control.

To eliminate those dangers, your opportunities might include the chance to refinance your home under the current historically low interest rates, or to meet with a wealth architect who can help you optimize assets and minimize taxes. Your strengths and resources would include reading online and taking advantage of the knowledge of trusted financial professionals.

Regardless of your goal, you can be clear on exactly where you want to be in one year, and then start now by eliminating the dangers, seizing the opportunities, and harnessing the strengths of you and others as taught by my friend and Strategic Coach founder Dan Sullivan.

It’s been proven that a roughly 50 percent chance of achieving a goal can skyrocket to a 90 percent-plus chance — if you use the proper strengths, people and resources to help you along the way. (One study detailed in Harvard Business Review emphasized the value of setting goals with your spouse.)

In this holiday season’s 10 Relationship Breakthroughs exercise — just completed by the Andrew family — we went through the exercise individually, and then went around the circle and shared our goals with each other. (If it takes too long to share them all, share at least three). As we communicated our vision for the coming year with each other, we found we were in a like-minded, “live abundant” mindset.

As we enter a new year, we find we naturally want to support each another, which makes a tremendous difference. So why not give it a try? Alongside the turkey, the movies, the relaxing and the family parties this holiday season, sit down with your family and go through your 10 Relationship Breakthroughs. Then make a plan to check back once a quarter. Everyone involved will be cheering for each other — because you’ll know in advance each other’s vision and goals. My guess is that come next December, this exercise will become a part of your holiday traditions — and you’ll feel especially accomplished and happy as you’ve reached the various goals over the year.

Call to Action

Want to know more about how to live an abundant life? Sign up here for “Doug Andrew’s Tool of the Week” to learn how you can cultivate a mindset of abundance, wealth, and life fulfillment using the favorite Live Abundant thinking tools.

Originally published at

You might also like...


How To Make Real And Lasting Improvements In Your Eating And Exercise

by Kathy Caprino

Best Esalen Workshop Exercises

by Ira Israel

The Wheel of Life

by Alina Fisch, CFA
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.