Happy New Year! We’ve all heard, “New Year, new me,” right? Well what if 2018 marked the start of a new relationship for you and your partner?
Whether you want to put 2017 behind you because you’re working to rebuild trust or because you just know that you need to put more effort into your relationship, I want to invite you to let this mark the start of a new relationship.
In our culture adults often have more than one significant relationship in their lifetimes. People divorce and remarry, end long term relationships, and start over again. But what if you decided that you’d have a new relationship with the same partner?
What do you think that would look like? Would you have more connection? Less arguments? Improved communication?
Hitting the reset button is totally possible. It’s something I highly recommend not just for the New Year, but anytime you feel stuck in old ways of interacting that you know aren’t working. That’s the beautiful thing about being human. We will inevitably make mistakes, but there’s nothing that says we have to stay stuck in those mistakes.
There are a few ways to hit the reset button that I’d like to share with you, and most of them have to do with mindset.
1. First thing’s first - you have to make the decision to be gentle on yourself. How long have you been in your relationship? How long have you been operating and relating in the same patterns?
The answers will vary for everyone, but it’s likely been a while. We get stuck in ruts, and it’s easy to go on autopilot, and slip back into old patterns, but the key is not staying there.
Once you decide you are going to make a change, be mindful of it, but don’t attach any judgment about it when you fall back into your old pattern.
For example, if you decide that you’re going to ask for a time-out when you feel yourself getting overly emotional from now on, but on your first attempt you let your anger get the best of you and ask for that time-out much later than you would have liked, it really does no good to then berate yourself for not sticking to your plan.
Instead, acknowledge that it happened, take a couple deep breaths and look forward. Dwelling on what you did wrong will only keep you stuck.
2. My second tip is don’t try to change too much all at once. If you envision your relationship looking completely different, and vow to change 10 things in the next week, you’ll likely fail.
It’s best to pick one or two things that will have the biggest impact and nail those things for a period of time before you move on to the next.
One of my colleagues is a personal trainer, and she once told me to make a fitness goal that’s almost too easy not to complete. Getting back to an exercise routine after having a baby is daunting, and so I took her advice and decided I’d do 10 minutes of exercise three times a week. I mean, who doesn’t have 10 minutes to take a walk, do some crunches, or lunges?
Once I started hitting my goal it made me want to do more, and I got all the positive vibes from accomplishing my goals, even if they were small.
The point is that this approach helps to build momentum. What is something small that’s almost too easy to complete when it comes to your relationship? Is it a text a day, a check in every night, an extra hug, or compliment? Start with something small and meaningful and move forward from there.
3. My final tip is to choose something that will have the greatest impact. This can seem daunting, but you might not be breaking it down enough. If you want to have fewer arguments in your relationship, not bringing things up that bother you isn’t going to do you or your partner any good. But can you think of something that kills a few birds with just one single stone?
If you want less conflict you’re likely also craving more connection. So can you schedule a date or block out some time to connect on a regular basis? It may not necessarily be about doing less of something, but rather, adding something to your relationship that will have a big impact.
When you have more connection and build your friendship, conflict has a way of decreasing.
Of course this is just one example, but no matter what your relationship goals are, I have just the ticket for you! Beginning February 1, I’m going to be doing a Relationship Refresh and in the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day I’ll send you a tip each day that will help you move your relationship in the right direction. This is something you won’t want to miss, so sign up here.
For this Relationship Refresh I’ll be taking my own advice and sharing small things that I’ve found to have the biggest impact, so don’t worry about getting so much info that you won’t be able to complete it all. I hope you’ll join me!
Cheers to a new year and a new relationship!