Should you be making any resolution? Expert New Year's relationship advice for a happier year ahead

Category: Better Relationships | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 13-11-2011  | Modified: 02-05-2018

Is New Year's Eve really such a good time to decide on minor and major life changes?

To answer that, just think for a moment about all the New Year's resolutions you've made in the past - if indeed you have. Are you one of the 50% or so who were able to stick to a resolution for longer than 6 months? Great!

Even so, I'd argue that the end of the year and beginning of a new year is not the best time to make any life-changing decisions at all.

I want to be upfront with you - I may earn a commission from Better Help. You pay the same fee, regardless. 

When it's the wrong time for New Year's resolutions

Christmas and New Year are often emotional for many reasons and therefore not the best of times to make major decisions.

Why?

Because when we're very emotional, we can't think clearly and logically (or at least, as logically as we're ever capable of).

The festive season is therefore definitely not the time to make decisions about your relationship or marriage in particular.

New Years Eve - an emotional time for you?

New Years Eve is in some sense much alike major anniversaries. I'm thinking of birthdays, wedding anniversaries, anniversaries of a death or other loss or of a traumatic. All these are likely to cause you to reflect on...

... what lies behind you
... what there is to celebrate, or not
... how you've coped, or not
... who you are
... how you see yourself
... what your values and beliefs are
... what you hope to achieve
... and what you expect in the year ahead.

The intensity and 'flavour' of that kind of reflection depend much on...

... the nature and impact of events of the past year
... to what degree you were directly involved
... the impact of them on your loved ones
... the support or not from people around you
... your reaction and experience since
... your emotional and mental well-being throughout the year

Depending on all the above, New Year's Eve then can be a time you can celebrate like some other anniversaries. However, it is also a time that everything can come flooding back.

Add alcohol to the mixture

In additional to all that emotional 'stuff' you may well have a drink or two on New Year's Eve. And so many the people around you, including those that really matter.

Alcohol works like a magnifying glass - it makes you over-emotional, be that with lust, anger, depression, good cheer or any other emotion you can think of. Under the influence of alcohol, everything looks out of proportion.

No surprise to you then that this is another reason why New Year's Eve is not a good time to decide on your future. You'll know now it's very unlikely that you'll be able to come up with well thought-out plans for workable resolutions.

I totally understand though that despite all that - you probably can't help but consider the health and well-being of your relationship or marriage at this time. And since I am a qualified and experienced couple counsellor, I'll try and help you out with this in Part 2, but first the potential contributing factors...

FireworksIn the Netherlands we celebrate New Year with fireworks in every street and on village greens across the country

Trouble brewing at home

(Couple) counsellors everywhere see an increase in referrals around this time of the year, largely for the reasons mentioned above.

There are other contributing factors though:

7 common causes of stress around the season of 'goodwill'

  1. Having spent (another) Christmas holiday in the close company of your 'loved ones', you realise that they or you really aren't so 'loved' any more
  2. Your children (if you have any) are pretty much independent and you and your partner are left behind...
  3. ... or your children are now grown up but still living at home, and are increasingly crowding your space
  4. You find that times have changed: what was once, isn't any more. You can't imagine yourself staying in the same place for even one more year, let alone another five, ten or twenty years
  5. You've found yourself to be particularly irritated with your partner and you find it increasingly difficult to remain 'civil'. You feel yourself 'forced' again to go along with your partner's or family's wishes and you feel suffocated
  6. You really, really cannot get on with your partner's family/friends and -  if they play a major part in your partner's life - that's a problem!
  7. You've realised that you've completely fallen out of love with your partner and in love with someone else

How to save your marriage or relationship

If you feel like your relationship is failing, ask yourself this: Have you spent any time thinking about what's been going well lately? Or have you only been ruminating about all the wrongs? What you focus on is what you get!

If you're focusing on the negatives, why not...

  • take some time out to go through old photos, to remind yourself of happy times
  • play the music you listened to when you first met
  • really get in touch with how you felt before all the problems

Has your partner really changed that much or have you had a big hand in how your partner's responding to you? If you can, have a long honest look at yourself and decide if you could have done better.

If you're really worried about the state of your marriage or relationship and you want to put things right, I've got more advice specifically for you. Take a look at my Complete Guide to Building a Happy Relationship to find out how you can make changes now.

You have a great relationship?

Celebrate it! Remember to be grateful for what you have. Frequently remind yourself of all the wonderful qualities your partner has.

All relationships go through difficult times and no doubt yours will too. But you can build a buffer by writing your partner (and others in yours life) a 'thank you' letter.

Another great way to sustain your well-being and the health of your relationship is to think of three good things that happened each day, every night before you go to sleep. Feeling happy and grateful will certainly help you to go to sleep with a smile on your face!

For more ideas on maintaining a healthy relationship discover its secrets here.

Hell-bent on a New Year's resolution?

Just in case you must make a resolution or two, why not consider hypnosis to help you 'tweak' your unconscious mind, so as to set yourself up for success. Hypnosis is a great way to build up your natural resources, and help you to deal with so many things in life.

Let's face it - we could all do with a 'helping hand' at times, so why not have a look at my page: Hypnosis FAQ and Downloads.

Be inspired for a new day - a new year

Fireworks and I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year, surrounded and loved by the people you love. Elly

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Elly Prior

Hello you! :-)

It's me - Elly Prior, I'm the Founder and Author of this site. I'm a 'real' person and I check the comment sections daily.

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Images courtesy of: Stephen Gunby, Palo