When December comes around and a shiny new year is on the horizon that’s when we start to dream about how it will all be different. You imagine that you’ll take up new hobbies, get up early, start exercising, lose weight and sleep better. Everything will change for the better.
And why do you want to do all of these things? It’s to improve the quality of your life. You want things to be less of a struggle and to feel genuinely excited about what every day may bring. You hope that if you can motivate yourself you can be happier.
There is one aspect to look at that will definitely improve your life and that’s taking a look at your relationships. Research shows that the quality of your relationships is the single biggest thing that impacts your quality of life and your happiness.
What do you want to change?
Let’s step back for a moment and look again at that list of things we want to change about ourselves after midnight on 31st December. Think about why you’ve chosen those things instead of spending more time watching your favourite box sets or eating chips for dinner every night. It’s because you don’t think that you’re good enough as you are. As a result of this lack of confidence in ourselves, we think that if we make enough improvements we’ll have better relationships.
But look at the ways we think we want to change. We’re looking to try and make ourselves more socially acceptable rather than exploring and accepting who we are.
Making changes is hard work. It takes willpower and encouragement to stick with it long enough to see changes. So many of us see our drive to make changes melt away as January arrives. Early mornings with exercise and healthy food just doesn’t seem that appealing all of a sudden. The result then is that we’re disappointed with ourselves and still haven’t been able to make any positive changes to our lives or our relationships.
Building good relationships
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make 2022 the year you begin to enjoy relationships that fill your life with happiness and support your emotional wellbeing. Doesn’t that sound better than paying for a gym membership that makes you feel guilty because you never use it?
Find out what your patterns are
In relationships, we follow patterns and these can really impact how things work out. For example, your attachment type will influence how you behave as you get to know someone. Being aware of your own patterns can make all the difference to who you form relationships with and seeing a counsellor or coach can be a good way to identify them and work through understanding your behaviours and feelings.
Look at your current relationships
You don’t have to ditch all your friends and disown your family to be happier. However, there is real value in taking some time to look at who you spend time with and how it makes you feel. If seeing a friend makes you feel bad about yourself then it might be time to take a break.
It can also be easy to fall into habits that are less than helpful because of the people you spend time with. Maybe you always end up drinking more than you intend to when you go to the pub with a group on Friday nights. Or you splurge money to keep up with a friend. Start being more aware of who you spend time with and how this impacts your emotional wellbeing.
Do the work on you
Before you start a new relationship get to know yourself better. January is a great time to find out more about you. Not going to the pub, giving up smoking and other habits changes are considered usual in January so it’s a good month to give yourself a bit of distance. That said don’t feel that you have to do it alone. Getting to know yourself can be easier with an impartial third party like a coach to support you and push your thoughts into new areas.
Try out new activities to see how they make you feel. They’ll also allow you to make new connections around shared interests.
In with the new
Remember you don’t have to wait to start making changes and being good to yourself. You can do it any time. You just need to take the first step and get started. Share in the comments what your first move towards a new you and new relationships will be.
Making changes to yourself and your life can be challenging. Talking about yourself with a therapist will have uncomfortable moments and won’t be an overnight process. What is it though is a starting point. It shows a commitment to improving your relationship and the quality of your life. Start making yourself happier today by beginning a new relationship with yourself.