2022 New year Resolutions: 6 relationship resolutions to make this year

Most of us intuitively know that having close, supportive relationship is important to our general happiness and well-being, and decades of scientific research confirm that human connection not only affects our mental health but is also a key determinant to how long we’ll live and how physically healthy we’ll be during those years.

“Making small changes in our relationships can yield big results.”

When you and your partner argue, hold hands with them (really!) 

When couples are in conflict, it’s important for them to remember they’re on the same team despite their differences. One of the easiest ways to do so is to agree to hold hands while you argue. This simple gesture helps couples feel more connected and, as a result, they’ve been found to be less destructive as they fight.

If this doesn’t work for the two of you, come up with your own way to reinforce your bond.

Create tiny moments of positivity during your day

Turns out, you can do this wherever you are and wherever you go. Just take five seconds to learn the name of that nice person in the orange apron at Home Depot who helped you find the particular nail you needed and tell them they made your day. Or, look your pharmacist in the eye and thank them for showing up during this challenging time, or stop by your coworker’s office and ask how her aging parents are holding up.

While it might not be the kind of love that brought together, say, Romeo and Juliet, this kind — unlike what drove that doomed pair — will help you live a longer, happier, healthier life. And it has ripple effects. By creating micro-moments of positivity with strangers, acquaintances, colleagues or your close connections, you’re starting a wave of good feelings that spreads through your life and through the lives of those you encounter.

healthy relationship dancing

Ask an open-ended question of someone in your life every day

As a relationship social scientist with a PhD in communication, I’ve got a personal pet peeve — when people say “Communication is the secret to successful relationships.” 

OK, they’re not completely wrong. Yelling is communication, for example. And so is lying.

Actively listening while letting someone else speak is also communication, and it’s one of the most undervalued methods of building relationships with others.

Schedule time to spend with your best friends 

Strong, quality relationships require maintenance and ongoing investment. Friendships have been shown to be key to our happiness and longevity, especially as we age, but even the best of them will wither if we don’t nurture them.

One easy way to do this is to carve out time in your weekly or monthly schedule to connect with your friends. If you can, meeting them in person is best, but even a regular Zoom or phone call is enough to provide you with benefits.

These small, regular investments of attention made regularly in our relationships are essential to growing and sustaining them.

healthy relationships

Deliver an overdue apology

Many of us — because we’re only human and imperfect — have ended a relationship in a clumsy or careless way. Or, maybe we’ve been on the receiving end. Regardless of which role you played, we walk around with grudges or resentment towards a colleague, boss, cousin, roommate, neighbor, ex-partner, etc.

Why not start the year by picking one of the people in your life with whom you had a falling out. Then write them a note or send them a voice memo? Keep your apology short and simple, and accept responsibility for what you did or didn’t do well. When we embrace our humility, we’re not only more likely to forgive and be forgiven but we can get a significant boost in our happiness as well.

However, if you choose to do this, don’t expect to get a response. If the other person takes in your words and says they forgive you, that’s great. But keep in mind that forgiveness is partly an internal process. When you can lighten your load by letting go of unnecessary emotions weighing you down.


Change the words you’re thinking about other people  

Our internal narrative — especially the story we tell ourselves about other people, their decisions, behaviors, quirks and irritating habits — has a profound effect on how we interact with them. When you tell yourself “they’re so controlling” or “they never listen to me” or “they’re so self-centered” before or during a conversation with a partner, colleague or sibling sets you up to be more likely to find evidence of their controlling/non-listening/self-centered behavior because you’ve primed yourself to spot it.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *