Guys, 2018 is almost here. Are you ready for it? If you’re anything like us, you’re probably starting to brainstorm the resolutions you’ll make (when you’re not daydreaming about the trip you’ll be making down the aisle next year, of course!), but it’s time to put a twist on that tradition. Instead of going at it alone, this year, bring your partner into the mix and make your resolutions together. From big goals to small changes, take a moment to talk about your future—and what it will take to get you there. Relationship expert Hilary Silver has six tips to help you set goals for the new year together.
If a lot happened over the past year, spend a little time talking about it—from the big milestones to the little memories. Recapping your year (and remembering the things you’ve already accomplished!) will put you in the right mindset to look forward and make goals for next year.
Choose Something You Both Hold Stake In
“You’ll have the best luck achieving your goals if it’s something you both care about and are committed to,” says Silver. “That means the goals you choose should represent a shared value, a lifestyle choice, or a shared priority.” Talk about the things you’d like to accomplish together in the coming year. That could mean paying off loans or getting out of debt, finding a shared hobby like learning to salsa dance or playing tennis together, or prioritizing your health by cooking together at home.
Support One Another
No matter the goal, you’ll most likely face a moment of weakness here or there. “When you’re setting your goals, talk about how you each like to be supported and kept accountable so that, in those moments of weakness, you and your partner can give and receive the help you need without power struggles or conflict. For example, if one person wants to eat healthier, how would he or she like to be held accountable so it feels encouraging and not shame-inducing?” Silver explains. So as you’re deciding what your goals will be, talk about what will help keep you moving forward. Do you want regular reminders? Is there certain language you want your partner to use? How will you quantify the progress you’ve made?
Don’t “Set it and Forget it”
“Goals go unmet when they aren’t revisited frequently,” says Silver. “Any goals you’re setting should be discussed on a regular basis.” This will help keep you accountable, keep you on track, and ensure you’re both making progress. These conversations are when you should implement those means of help and support that you outlined while you were making your resolutions.
Have a Weekly Check-In
“I’m a big believer in setting aside time once a week to have a conversation with your partner,” says Silver. “These conversations should start with appreciation and gratitude, then continue with sharing thoughts, worries, and feelings. They should wrap up with an overview of what’s coming up in the next week, from housekeeping to calendar items to to-do lists.” Silver says these check-ins are a great time to see how those common goals are going—and even set new ones!
Keep it Positive
Phrasing and communication are key with making these goals shared, productive, and forward-looking. “Make sure there is room for both of you in these conversations,” says Silver. “If it’s important to one of you, it should be important to both. Don’t be dismissive, judgmental, or critical, but rather curious and open with each other.”
The weekly check-in will help a lot in making sure you’re both staying on top of those resolutions, but if it’s not always possible, use what you’ve got! Set reminders on your phones, put it on a synced calendar, and even write it down and stick it on your fridge to make sure your goals are front-and-center.