How To Make (And Keep) Resolutions As A Couple

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How To Make (And Keep) Resolutions As A Couple
Want to keep your New Year's resolutions? Try getting your partner involved.

The moment the last bit of Christmas gift wrap flutters to the ground, the glitter and shine of the holiday season become claustrophobic to me. I itch to clean the house, to strip it of the fuss of the holidays. I want to organize our new toys, all while running around the park to undo the feelings of pre-diabetes that my holiday indulgences bring. These urges always lead me straight to the cliché of all clichés, the ill-fated New Year's resolutions.

"This will be the year," I think, "the year where my holiday recovery is going to land me directly into a year with better habits. This is the year I'm going to be the best me I can be." 

Sometimes it works, but we all know sometimes it doesn't. Work and family schedules interfere, as do the tidal pull of the habits we hope to break in the first place. But when you're in a serious relationship, there's a whole other element to consider when trying to make a lifestyle change. These are choices that will affect your partner. Will your husband stubbornly stock the pantry with two packs of cookies for every bag of apples you buy? Will your efforts at bettering yourself cause tension in your relationship, as you suggest turning off the football game in order to talk more? Or will your partner be your biggest cheerleader, setting the alarm to hit the gym with you before work?

Studies show that a relationship can either hinder or enhance your success at hitting your 2012 goals, but those goals also have the same shot at enhancing your relationship—or causing a rift. How can you approach this year in a way that will bring positive change for you and your relationship? For tips, we talked to a YourTango relationship expert, Judith Joyce, a Certified Conscious Relationship and Body-Mind Vibrance Coach.

1. Hold a planning session. You and your significant other need to have a talk about your hopes for changes—both for yourself and as a couple—in the New Year. And don't have this conversation when you're both trying to get out the door to work, either. Set a time to talk, and come to the table prepared with your ideas, Joyce advises.

"It's important that you each come to this conversation with an open mind," she says. Joyce also recommends that you both have an idea of what the other wants to talk about pre-conversation; blindsiding your boyfriend with the fact that this is the year you intend to get married and have a baby probably won't end with him on one knee. "It's best to bring targets that have been discussed between you. Surprise targets can put your partner on the defensive, sending your whole process into choppy waters." 

2. Focus on enhancing, not correcting. Go easy on yourself—and your partner. Think about things you want to bring into your life, rather than things you want to eliminate.

"Resolutions are really based on judgments of what you believe is wrong with you," says Joyce. Rather than thinking about eliminating weight, consider how to Usher in health and recreation. This shift in thinking will keep you positive, and prevent either you or your partner from thinking critical thoughts about the other one. Which sounds great to me, because the last thing I want my husband thinking about is the fact that I need to correct my jiggly parts. 

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