4. Create a road map.
The most effective way to realize your goals is to make a plan. "Imagine taking a road trip without knowing which direction you were going or which routes to take to get there. It would take a very long time and be extremely difficult to find your way," Tucker says. Instead of expecting your partner to do all the work, take the lead in initiating change. "This should be a time to focus on yourself and how you can contribute in a more positive way to your relationship. Remember, this should not be a time to focus on what you want your boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife to change so that you will be happier," says Elisabeth LaMotte. Beware The Man With an Exit Plan
5. Have a regular "state of the union."
Try to set a regular meeting, be it weekly or monthly, to discuss the state of the relationship. "An interesting thing to do for the New Year is to set up 10 minute listening sessions. Everyone is so busy and the pace [of life] is so rapid, it's rare to actually just sit together and have one person talk while the other one listens with full attention. And it's amazing what actually comes out when you do [that]. You get closer. You find out about your partner," Dr. Diana Kirschner says. She also recommends going on walks because men tend to open up more when they're not face-to-face.
Although the New Year can be an ideal time for resolutions, you should gage the psychological mindset of your partner before diving into a relationship conversation. "What's the difference between having a relationship discussion in July and a relationship discussion on January 1st?" Katz asks. "There is none." So make sure the timing of resolution setting is good for your partner. "The same way that the time to ask your boss for a raise is not when your boss just got divorced from his wife and is in a bad mood," Katz says. "You really want to find a good time when you're connected to talk about ways of improving, instead of sitting down at 12:01 on January 1st and saying, 'We need to talk.'" How To Communicate Effectively
And remember to keep expectations realistic. "Actually changing behavior is a pretty big undertaking so remember to always start with very small, consistent, long-term steps," Sabin says, "Small enough that you can achieve them and want to keep going." She mentions a friend who is trying to lose weight and decided with her husband to have sex instead of dessert. "What a win/win!" Sabin says. "It's also important to recognize that it takes time and serious commitment to change your situation, your relationship, or your life," Tucker says. "Be kind to yourself and to one another and celebrate the little victories along the way." Major resolutions often involve minor progress one day at a time. Relationship Resolutions That Don't Work