The party is over and, attention turns to all the things we want to switch up in the New Year. We start by setting goals, resolutions or intentions for the year ahead. A new year, a fresh start, rebirth, clean slate and new chapter in our life.
There is a common theme that emerges in New Year resolutions; save more, spend less, eat less, drink less, lose weight, generally be an all-round better version of who we’ve been for the 12 months. Often they are promises we didn’t quite keep last year. Maybe this year will be different?
The act of setting New Year Resolutions dates back over 4,000 to ancient Babylon. The Babylonians planted crops and crown a new king (or pledged allegiance to the current king). They promised to pay debts and return anything borrowed believing the gods will smile down on them and they’d live a prosperous year. Making promises, pledges and setting personal intentions have continued through the ages. Now the focus tends to be on self-improvement and reflection.
Sadly many of us fail in our resolutions, we expect too much to change in a short time period. We don’t identify triggers or hold ourselves to account. By the first week in February, around 80% of people will have given up and failed to keep the promises made to themselves.
What if this year we swim against the tide? What if, we don’t pick the ever-popular resolutions of money, food, exercise? What if, we chose to make a promise and commitment to our relationships?
Why is this important?
Commitment to a relationship is one of the foundation pillars in a healthy relationship. If you aren’t committed at the first sign of trouble your fight or flight response will kick in and, you will be desperate to choose flight. It is the commitment and determination to weather the storm that keeps us their and means we enjoy the growth that comes as a reward on the other side.
What is a Relationship Resolution?
This can be anything you choose it to be. To help you chose, think about something that will add to your life. This may be something that makes you happy or something that reduces stress or angst in your relationship. It may be simple, like a promise to spend Sunday mornings connecting with your partner (or close friend if single). It may be more challenging, dealing with a long-standing issue, such parenting difficulties that get in the way of a deeper connection with each other.
You choose them with your partner or prefer to do this as a solo activity. Or a combination of the two.
How do you stick to it?
Knowing that 80% of people let resolutions slip after the first five weeks may make you reconsider setting anything at all. Don’t be put off there are still 20% who carry on. Here’s how you can make sure you stick to your resolutions.
- Pick something that matters. If it’s not important to you or it is something you think you ‘should’ be doing, it’s less likely to work.
- Keep it simple. It’s good to dream big but keep it achievable. We are more likely to succeed when we choose small and manageable change.
- Write it down. The act of writing your resolutions down helps your brain to process it and commit this to your memory.
- Make it easy to succeed. The hardest thing is getting started if we can make that part easy we are more likely to do what we’ve set our mind on. If you choose to spend more time together, at the start of the year set some dates and times in the calendar, once you’ve committed to this you are more likely to do it.
- Create accountability. Having accountability is often the missing piece of the puzzle. For some writing it down is enough, others may need more. Consider what will help you the most. Coaching is a great way to create accountability.
- Consider what’s tripped you up in the past. Being aware of this will be a major advantage. The next step is identifying what will help you to overcome this.
Is this just for couples?
No! The last twelves months have taught us how important we are to each other and how much we miss the daily connections. Anyone can set a resolution to create better relationships in their lives. Take time to reflect on the last years, who has been important to you. Which relationship needs more nurturing. This may be with friends, family members, children and co-workers.
Whatever you choose I wish you every success and if you choose nothing that’s okay too! Here’s to the year ahead. I know how challenging relationships can be and how exhausting it is when things don’t feel right. It is emotionally draining and you can feel so alone. Don’t suffer, if you need support make the first step, and start today, with a no obligation chat. I’m sure you feel better once you say things out loud.
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