Pretty much everyone you know will come up with a New Year’s resolution—and very few people will actually keep them. Which is a shame, because it’s such a good opportunity. Short-term goals, self-improvement, commitment—these are all really important, both as an individual and as a part of a relationship. Which is why you should try to buck the trend and make some New Year’s resolutions as a couple. Oh, and actually stick to them too.
And it’s easier than it sounds. Even though New Year’s can be a great opportunity to focus on goals as a couple—whether it’s training for a half-marathon together or starting a bangin' honeymoon fund—there’s a reason so many people slip. They either pick resolutions that never stood a chance, they get into the January slump, or they just completely forget about it. But as a couple, you’re in a much stronger position to make it happen. Here’s what you need to remember to actually reach those New Year’s resolutions as a couple.
Make the Goals Achievable
What makes a goal achievable? Well, for one—don’t set them too big. You’re not both going to lose 30 pounds in a month or visit 50 countries this year (probably). So pick something that you can actually do to keep yourself from getting down. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step in too short a time can leave you frustrated, or affect other areas of your life to the point that your resolution takes over your life—and both you and your friends and family fail.
The other thing that can help is to have goals that are specific. Just saying “let’s spend more time together” or “we’re going to save more money” is too vague—it’s really easy to just let it slip by and not acknowledge that it isn’t happening. Try: “We’re going to go on a date night once a week” or “we’re going to put $200 a month into a holiday fund.” Something that you can actually measure is a goal you’re more likely to achieve.
Start in January
January has a tendency to be a month of...blah. People just feel a little flat. The holidays are behind you, it’s cold, you’ve just spent a ton of money in December, and it can feel like you have a permanent food-and-drink hangover. But if you don’t start it this month, chances are you will have forgotten completely by February. Make yourself get into action as soon as the New Year begins—and it might even brighten up your January.
Hold Each Other Accountable
The great thing about having a resolution that you tackle as a couple is that you have a built-in support system—and someone to hold you accountable if you’re going off course. You don’t need to get competitive about it, but just remind each other of that goal and try to motivate each other. You can keep it fun by rewarding yourselves every time you reach a part of your goal, with a couple’s treat like a massage or a nice dinner. Just make sure that you’re both keeping your eyes on the prize.
Remember the “Why”
You didn’t set the resolution for nothing. Why did you want to do a Tough Mudder? Why do you want to start saving money? There’s a reason behind it, whether it’s your health, a wedding, a house deposit, or just because you need to reconnect as a couple. But if you can focus on the "why," it will help move you forward to achieve your goals.
Finally, a resolution that you approach as a couple should be about bonding and feeling close, so make sure you’re communicating. If one of you is struggling with the resolution or doesn’t think it’s achievable anymore, that’s fine—you just need to talk about it together. If you’re approaching it as a team, there will be a solution. Even though a resolution may be challenging, it shouldn’t be a source of stress. Instead, it should bring you closer together.
New Year’s resolutions often feel like empty promises—but they don't have to be. If you have goals for your relationship, goals for your life together, or just want to take on a new challenge, it’s a great time to jump into something as a couple. But be sure that you’re setting yourselves up for success. Make the resolution achievable and specific, so it’s within reach, and be each other’s cheerleaders. It’s about the two of you coming together for something that’s important to you, so keep that in mind if you struggle along the way. As long as you're communicating and working together, you’re heading in the right direction—no matter what your goal is.