Written by Angela Silva
Think about the resolutions you made for 2015. How many of them did you maintain? If you’re like most Americans, you probably didn’t quite stick to them like you thought you would. In fact, a University of Scranton study found that only about 8 percent actually achieve the goals they set for the New Year.
This year, try a different approach: focus first on your marriage. Set goals to improve your relationship that will simultaneously put you on track to achieve your other goals. Setting goals with a partner gives an added component of accountability and support, increasing the likelihood that you’ll stick with it and achieve them.
Here are a few ideas to help you create your own marriage-focused New Year’s resolutions:
Instead of setting your own personal goal for weight loss or exercise, sit down with your spouse and decide what you can do together to improve your health as a team. You BOTH want to be around for the grandkids and to go through life together, so prioritizing each other’s health will ensure you both stay on track and meet your goals.
Chances are you eat a similar diet and share a similar daily routine, so if only one of you changes part of that, it will be more difficult to maintain. Try setting a goal to take a multivitamin with breakfast, take an evening walk, or buy flavored water instead of soda. Make sure it’s a goal you both want and can commit to.
Learn a new skill
If cooking isn’t really your thing or you wish you could change your own oil, get your spouse involved and learn together! This will give you the chance to work together and strengthen your relationship, and possibly help improve communication skills and patience as well. If you can’t agree on a skill you’d both like to learn, compromise and agree to each pick and learn one as well as the other’s.
Read more books
Being a lifelong learner is always a good idea. If your goal is to read more books, whether for pleasure, work, or self-improvement, find out what kind of books your spouse enjoys and suggest reading a book together. Set a goal to read one book per week, month, or whatever your schedule permits. This will give you the chance to discuss it and get excited about the book with somebody else, which always makes reading even more enjoyable. Alternate choosing the book and take advantage of your local library to get multiple copies so you don’t have to share.
Get a promotion
Moving up the ladder may not seem like a goal that can involve your spouse, but you’d be surprised how recruiting the help of the person who loves you the most and is personally invested in your success can make the difference in your career aspirations. If you are motivated to move up or make some sort of change at work, make a plan of action with your spouse. Decide what you’ll need to do to acquire the skills or experience needed to move up. Sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves clearly, so ask your spouse to honestly provide feedback or suggestions for improvement or changes that will help you with this goal (agreeing to not take it personally, of course). If communication skills are a problem, practice interviewing, debating, or negotiating with your spouse.
Make 2016 the best year of your life by setting goals with your spouse that will improve your marriage and yourselves. You have a built-in support system, best friend, mentor, coach, teacher, student, and any other role either of you may need. Encourage and lift each other up as you work towards self-improvement, because a natural reward of a better marriage is a better you, and a natural reward of a better you is a better marriage.