Posts tagged New Years Resolutions
New Year, New Relationship?
New year, new relationship.png

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! 

5 Things to stop doing in 2016 To improve your relationship
improve your relationship

Out with the old and in with the new? While most people love to use the New Year to mark the start of new habits, here are 5 things you should give up in order to create a happier, healthier relationship in 2016:

1.     Stop sweating the small stuff. Before you pick a fight with your partner about the laundry, unmade bed, or what to eat for dinner, ask yourself – in the grand scheme of my relationship how much does this really matter? Will you be worried about it 1, 3, or even 6 months from now? If the answer is no, let it go, or at best, check your approach.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t voice your opinion or make requests from your partner about things that are important to you. Most bigger arguments aren’t really about what’s happening on the surface, and so if you are feeling your claws coming out over something benign, it may be time to check in with yourself and consider other resentments you may be holding on to.

When there’s something bigger that needs to be discussed, schedule a separate time to do so when you aren’t feeling overcome by emotion and can have a productive conversation about what’s really bothering you. If there are trust issues or there’s been infidelity in the relationship, then it’s time to tackle those issues head on.

2.     Stop trying to get everything you need out of your one relationship. We live in a culture where our romantic partner is supposed to be our best friend, greatest confidant, our lover, our ally in parenting, and everything in-between. While all of those roles are fantastic, the image of having them all checked off of the list may contribute to lower satisfaction and disappointment.

When you ask your partner to be all things to you, it sends the message that they are the end-all, be-all in your world. They should definitely be at the top of the priority list for you, however you just can’t get everything you need from one person. Having a healthy set of friendships outside your marriage where you can be authentic, share and receive advice, and gain perspective is just as important.

3.     Stop saying maybe when you really mean no. This just sets your partner up for disappointment, and while you may be trying to let them down easily, it’s much more important to be yourself. Showing up genuinely in your relationship is the surest way to have a healthy and intimate relationship.   

4.     Stop going to bed with your phone. Make the bedroom a cell-phone free zone, and limit other screen time before bed. Those moments before bed when you unwind from a long day can best be spent talking, laughing, and sharing your thoughts with your partner, and this can do wonders for improving your relationship.

5.     Stop trying to change your partner. If changes need to be made, you can make requests, but for the most part, people are who they are, and unless they are committed to making changes for themselves, things will likely remain the same.

If there are character traits that bother you it may be time to look at the reasons they are urking you. Chances are those traits were there when you first entered the relationship but you looked past them. Moving forward in a relationship with the intention of breaking someone else’s habit is wasted time and energy and will likely leave you disappointed. Learn to embrace your partner’s flaws and instead look at what changes you can make in terms of your reactions and responses to the things that bug you.

I’m wishing you an amazing 2016, and if you could use some support in dropping some of the habits that are keeping you frustrated in your relationship I’d love to help. You can call me at (909) 226-6124 for a fee phone consultation where we’ll talk about how your relationship can improve in the New Year.