The New Year typically starts with resolutions to help live life better. This year, why not lose your membership to the “clean plate” club and join the “clean slate” club? You can make January a personal month of atonement: say you’re sorry as soon as you’ve been remiss and forgive your offenders silently (without bringing it up again) for anything they may have done to you. This helps relieve you of the burdens of resentment and anger, and frees you to control what you have control over: changes in you, not others.
Six resolutions to make this year:
1. Become More Loveable
Do not criticize or look for the bad or wrong in other people. Being negative or judgmental just makes you look less lovely. If you are sincerely asked for a critique, offer it if you choose to do so, but do present your opinion with kindness.
When you kiss romantically, really kiss and for at least ten seconds – pecks are for acquaintances not lovers.
Laugh easily, regularly – it is a contagious habit and assuming someone is trying to make you laugh, it is flattering, loving, and fun.
Go on a negativity diet. Say five positives for every negative, both to yourself and others.
Hug at least once a day (this is good for others you care about and your body will benefit, too!).
2. Improve Your Appearance
Appearance is not only a great build, gorgeous hair, or sparkling eyes. Hygiene, clothing style, and overall presentation have more to do with attractiveness and draw than any individual feature. Most of my clients and students don’t write down “Gorgeous” when I ask about their appearance requirements, but they all want someone who is presentable and smells good versus sloppy, slouchy, and less than squeaky clean. They want a mate who can go anywhere and look acceptable, have energy in their face and body movements, and say the best feature is a smile.
3. Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is burdensome to you and can chew up your self-esteem. It can make you feel less worthy and it depletes your energy. Procrastination takes its toll psychologically. It keeps your mind cluttered and robs you of a sense of accomplishment. Do what needs to be done, take it off your list, or at least get started. In short, either do your to-do list or shred it.
4. Curb Your Anger
Anger is toxic and can be used as justification for an 11:30pm blowup in the name of “not going to bed angry.” Sometimes the best thing to do with your wrath is give it a nap. Tiredness exacerbates perceived difficulties, heightens aggravation, and can get in the way of a sensible resolution. If there is a point of conflict, my advice is to address it only after sufficient rest, recent exercise, full hydration, and a hearty meal. In over thirty years of experience as a therapist, I’ve yet to meet the couple who had a knockdown, drag out fight at 8am.
If you have a hair-trigger temper, repair it because, ultimately, you are pulling the trigger on yourself. Anger begets anger. Words can be forgiven, but sometimes they are impossible to forget.
5. Relax About Relationships
Not all relationships require analysis. If it works, don’t fix it. When problems arise, speak up and admit them. If they are immediately solvable and/or of true importance, come up with solutions. If not, mutually agree on a good time to re-address your issue, or drop it altogether. In healthy relationships, at least one of the participants is good at differentiating little from big,
6. Achieve Peace of Mind
Harried is not sexy. Being overwhelmed signals that you really don’t have the space in your life to be a good partner. A relaxed attitude is attractive and also sends a clear message that you have time for a date or a mate. Schedule time for personal, educational, and spiritual development – as well as periods of daily R&R. Revel in the time that you provide for yourself and know that you are worth it.
The New Year can be a time of renewal. I believe marriage licenses, like professional licenses, should require continuing education – whether it is mentoring by other couples, reading books on communication, sex, or intimacy, or acquiring new skills together, a new year is the perfect time for an annual tune-up and change.
Mark down your progress. Write down every improvement you make, and everything you appreciate, and everything and everyone you love. It’s important to write – as well as tell yourself and others – because year-to-year, you and others won’t remember what was said.