How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by on Dec 30, 2019 in Couples Counseling For One | Comments Off on How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time when people reflect back on the past year of their lives. Often, they think about what they would want to do differently in the New Year. More often they make resolutions about improving their relationships. The trouble with New Year’s resolutions is that many wrestle with following through on them. 

I have seen, firsthand, people who have the best of intentions when it comes to fulfilling their resolution to better their relationship. Yet, those good intentions often get buried by the demands of daily life and dealing with the inevitable crises that arise. Deep-rooted change doesn’t happen by just making New Year’s resolutions. It’s really about being deliberate and intentional when it comes to making serious changes in your relationship.

Here are some tips for making and following through with New Year’s resolutions for relationships:

Make a list of your relationship goals.  

Start by thinking about what you would like to be different or better about your relationship. Then, make a list. Next, choose 1-3 things to start working on first.  Though you might list 20 things you want to change, this can be overwhelming. This makes it difficult to get any momentum going, try to narrow down your focus.

Write Down the Steps Necessary to Accomplish Your Goals

Identify the action steps you need to take in order to make each of your goals happen. For example, if the goal is to spend more time together, some steps would be to plan regular date nights, spend more time together at home, and plan a couples trip. Then break down how to accomplish each step, being as detailed as possible. For instance, with date night, you may decide to go out twice a month and that you will take turns planning the date. Keep in mind that you don’t have to strictly adhere to a rigid schedule or timeline but there does need to be some structure.

Put Your Words into Action

I’ve seen this happen before; people make great plans and resolutions for the New Year but then fail to put those resolutions into action. Often this is because people make the mistake of letting motivation drive their actions. In essence, they act when they feel motivated and they don’t act when they don’t feel motivated.

It can help to separate your decision to take action from whether or not you feel motivated. If you find that you’re falling short of your goal, don’t beat yourself up over it! Instead, recommit to the goal. Another idea is to review your plan every day or so to stay engaged and motivated. Set reminders for yourself on your phone, write sticky notes, etc.  

Address the Possible Pitfalls

We are often our own worst enemies. This is especially true when it comes to making and following through with New Year’s resolutions. Take a long, hard look at yourself and what might get in the way of you fulfilling your resolutions. For example, if you are finding that you can’t make the time to focus on your resolutions, reprioritize your schedule to make time to fulfill them. Or if you have some baggage from the past that is holding you back, work through it so you can achieve your relationship goals. 

Consider Making Joint Resolutions with Your Partner

Often, we think of making New Year’s resolution an individual pursuit, even when it comes to relationship issues. Granted, you can certainly influence your relationship by making changes on your own end of things but it works even better if both you and your partner are on board. Just follow the first four steps in this article together as a couple instead of doing them by yourself.

It can be hard to fulfill New Year’s resolutions for relationships. Those intentions you had in January can quickly fall to the wayside by February. If this applies to you, give the tips listed above a try. Also, if you are struggling to follow through with your relationship goals, consider seeking out couples counseling with your partner for further assistance.

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