I am a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I love the idea of a fresh start, and who among us doesn’t have some areas to improve. So when an article came through my inbox last week on just this topic, I was eager to read.
The writer suggested focusing on how you treat others in 2016, rather than the typical self-focused resolutions. He wrote about being kind, giving others the benefit of the doubt, and visiting the sick. A list of noble tasks that are easily said, but not always easily done.
The article made me take a second glance at the list I had been working on for myself – exercise more, cook more, get to church more, the list goes on. One idea after the next of what I need and what I can do for myself. So I have decided to rewrite my goals for 2016 and focus outward.
Perhaps I should resolve to make some improvements to my relationships? My life is full of precious bonds – with my family, my husband, my kids, my friends – and while I believe it is important to take care of me, maybe I need to spend some time fostering what I have with them.
So here’s my new plan for 2016 – my relationship resolutions…
- Treat my family as I treat my friends
This has been on my mind a lot lately. I think of my mom, dad, and siblings as my closest friends. I spend more time with them than any friends, and I know they will stand by me through anything. So why is it so easy to argue with or complain about your family, your strongest bonds, when you wouldn’t ever treat your friends that way? Of course family dynamics come into play and as the oldest of five kids I am the first to say wea have a LOT of personalities on the table. But if keeping this idea in mind makes me pause just a time or two before replying or reacting to my mom or sisters, it can only better our relationships.
- Make my appreciation known to my husband
I have a wonderful husband. He is kind and easy going, and his dedication to me and our family is unwavering. I often lay in bed in the middle of the night and think how grateful I am for him. But I don’t know that I voice that enough, or show it. Yes, we say thank you in passing as we help each other with errands or assist in kid- or household-related tasks. But when we first started dating I remember often discussing how lucky we felt to have found each other. Sadly, that topic doesn’t come up too much anymore as we are changing diapers or wiping up spills. I still feel that way, but I need to take the time to say it and show it.
- Try not to judge my friends
I strive not to be judgmental, but it’s hard for everyone to keep those thoughts at bay all the time. I believe Harper Lee said it best when she wrote in “To Kill a Mockingbird” about needing to walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you could truly know what they are dealing with. I am going to focus on this sentiment. If someone doesn’t get back to me or blows off a coffee date, I will remember all the times I have read an email or text and meant to respond immediately, but something distracted me and I forget about it altogether. And next time I feel as though someone was not as friendly or open as I would expect, I will remember that you never know what could be going on.
I am still working on carving out that gym time, and I am determined to cook a few more meals each week. And if I could just get my two-year-old to cooperate, we will definitely be at church. But I think relationship resolutions may be the most doable of all. It won’t take any more than a few reminders and some effort. And while I’m focusing outwardly on the ones I love most, I know this will only make my life richer in the long run.
Flickr/ Jesse Menn