This is a great time of year to take some positive actions when it comes to your personal and professional relationships. Every kind of relationship in our lives can use some recharging from time to time.

I personally dislike the term “resolution” because I think it sounds negative and as if you need to improve yourself, which is why I like to replace it with “goal” or “plan.” Instead of saying “I won’t do X next year” instead say “I will do X” – the positive reframing of the language is powerful.

So don’t make New Year’s resolutions – instead make a New Year’s plan. Choose concrete, definable, measurable, doable goals for 2021.

Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to put in the work into bettering our relationships. I find that breaking down actions into smaller tasks can turn vague resolutions into more tangible and actionable goals.

Remember that it’s easy to set goals – the challenge is following through and making the new behaviors stick. I recommend choosing no more than five goals so that you can be practical about what’s achievable. Less is more when it comes to goal setting so that you can actually be successful at them.

Most importantly is figuring out how you will measure your progress and hold yourself accountable for achieving your goals. Schedule time to revisit your progress on them and to see how you may need to adjust them.

Here are a few new year’s resolutions to consider implementing when it comes to your relationships – whether it’s with a romantic partner, friend, family member or colleague.

  1. Offer to help others who need a hand. You may need their help down the line too.
  2. Be generous with compliments.
  3. Be a better listener.
  4. Say yes more to things that interest but scare you, and hold your boundaries on things you simply do not want to do or do not line up with your values.
  5. Be proactive – whether at work or in your personal life, try to anticipate next steps or how you can help someone else before they even ask.
  6. Set tech-free zones to be more present in all of your relationships (this one is hard for me!).
  7. Show more interest in others’ lives and interests.
  8. Try not to react too quickly to something they say or do – responding in the heat of the moment can make matters worse.
  9. Don’t rely on text to have important conversations. I have done this too many times where it’s resulted in major miscommunications. It’s so much easier to pick up the phone or see someone in person.
  10. Try not to take things too personally. When someone seems quieter or more distant than usual – it’s likely not about you but rather something in their own lives.
  11. Accept what you can’t change and walk away from people who do not treat you well or who you’ve outgrown (This is by far the hardest lesson I’ve learned over the past year and a half.)
  12. Be more understanding of the flaws of those you care about. Accept people as they are. As for work situations, know that no one is perfect nor do they think exactly like you, so cut others slack.
  13. Don’t engage in gossip and don’t complain about your partner, friends or co-workers in a negative way or in a group setting.
  14. Listen to your intuition. There are signs in every relationship that we sometimes choose to neglect. These warning signs are our “gut feeling,” telling us that something just isn’t quite right. I know these signs well because I actively ignored and brushed them aside in my last relationship. This led to me wasting two years of my life with someone who was not the right person for me. I didn’t want to start over from scratch so I tried to make it work. But deep down I didn’t really love him or like who he was. I will never again settle and ignore red flags.
  15. Praise more than criticize, and when you do criticize, make sure to do it in a constructive way in order to elicit a positive response from the other person.
  16. Celebrate successes and be their cheerleader when things don’t go as planned. Remember that saying “in good times and bad?” well you can apply that idea to both your personal and professional relationships. Support the people who consistently have your back and who mean a lot to you so they know you are always in their corner. You will earn their trust and loyalty for a long time when you do this.

Cheers to 2020 almost being over – good things are on the horizon next year – I can just feel it.

What relationship goals do you want to make for the new year?