New Years – that time of year where you sit down and bang your head trying to think of ways to better yourself in some shape or form.
Wracking your brain with something that seems worthy of your precious time, yet still doable so it’s not a complete failure.
Often, we try to think of something more grandiose and elaborate than needed, usually resulting in… well… incompletion. Not this year!
What about something simple, non-time consuming and will increase every area of your life? What if you were told that this New Year you too could have relationship goals? No longer is that title reserved for the picture-perfect Instagrammer BUT for YOU (yes you!).
And to top it off achieving that oh-so coveted “relationship goals” title is easy, achievable and probably a lot less painful than you think.
Relationships fill up every corner of your life. So why not have good relationships? No, better than good, great relationships. Strong relationships. Healthy relationships. Why not work on them? Almost seems silly not to!
Relationship building is a great and very worthy goal (but don’t worry, it won’t take up too much time).
Now to quote Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music let’s start at the very beginning.
What is a healthy strong relationship and what does it look like?
A healthy and strong relationship will have:
- Open communication
A healthy and strong relationship should have all of the above in varying degrees, dependent on the closeness of the relationship. Whether this New Year you are looking to strengthen your already existing relationship with your sister or build a new relationship with a co-worker, these are the key ingredients to a successful relationship.
A good solid relationship is a win-win for both parties, meaning it is beneficial for all involved. You shouldn’t be pouring your heart and soul into a relationship only to be left feeling empty and unfulfilled. And vice versa. A positive and strong relationship is a two-way street.
A relationship should never be:
- One sided (aka all give and no take)
- Leaves you feeling worse off
- Abusive (mentally, physically or emotionally)
Why are healthy and strong relationships so important?
Good relationships are the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. And who isn’t interested in improving their lifestyle? They are a powerhouse for your personal health and wellness. By building strong social ties and strengthening your relationships you are creating a wave of positive effects and drastically improving your whole life, spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. Now that sounds like some life changing magic right there.
Healthy, strong and positive relationships offer:
- Social support
- Reduced stress
- A sense of belonging
- An improved sense of empathy and care for others
- A boost in creativity and imagination
- Increased happiness (boost your serotonin levels)
- Improved sleep
- Improved work environment
- Improved team building and learning how to be a team player
- Increased productivity
- Community/workplace morale
- Increased sense of self esteem and self confidence
- Increased trust
There are studies showing that people involved in positive relationships, not just romantic relationships, but relationships of all kinds, live longer, have better mental health and have increased levels of happiness.
The benefits of such bonds don’t even need to be between people! The loving affection of a pet can be just as beneficial for your mental and spiritual health.
Strong relationships are the mecca of a healthy life.
And its so simple to build up these types of powerhouse relationships, anyone can do it. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be overly extroverted or outgoing. You don’t need to be the funniest person in the room or the most charming or dazzling person.
Strong, healthy and positive relationships are for:
- The stay at home mom/dad
- The corporate woman/man
- The entrepreneur
- The minivan chauffeur
- The plumber
- The mailman
- The teacher
- The musician
- The hairdresser
- The student
Strong relationships are for everyone. Whether you have a 60+ hour work week, are juggling a million and one things, or your mind is running that much that you don’t remember if you’ve had a shower or not; a healthy strong relationship is for you and it is not out of reach! Actually, it is very much in reach.
How do I build relationships this new Year?
By now you have a fairly good grasp of what a healthy and strong relationship is, what it looks like and why they are so important. Now it is time for the little nuggets of gold that will transform your life.
Whether you are starting with an existing relationship or looking to build a new relationship from scratch these little nuggets of gold will take any relationship from dust bunnies and cotton webs to relationship goals!
Evaluate your current relationships
Take stock. Which relationships do you want to work on? Which ones do you want to create? Look at your playing field and see where you can seek improvements. It is important to start here because then you will know where you want to go.
Water your relationships
When you are looking for something to grow, flourish and thrive it needs to be nurtured. Now we all have that one friend who we can go forever without seeing or talking to and then months or even years later you’ll see them, and you fall right back into it like no time has passed at all. Those types of relationships are dynamite. The only kicker is that they’re few and far between. That does not work for majority of relationships. You have to show up! Ask yourself: How do you water your relationships?
Have quality interactions
Do most of your conversations with your partner sound like, “don’t forget it’s garbage day tomorrow” or “can you pick the kids up from school today?” And while yes, these conversations need to happen you also need to make sure that you include quality into your conversations. That could be asking your spouse how their day was, asking your co-worker how that football game they went to was or asking your roommate how they’re feeling about their new job. You know the saying ‘quality over quantity?’ That also applies in your relationships. Tip: Infuse your conversations with quality.
It seems rather elementary, but you would be astonished at the amount of information you can learn about somebody just by listening. I get it, our heads are a constant flutter of running to-do lists and an ongoing commentary that doesn’t know when to pipe down. When you are with someone just be there and listen. Tip: Before you know you’re going to have a chat with someone, write down everything in your head. That way you can provide your full attention and not be distracted by that constant chatter and the to-do lists trail blazing through your mind.
Be willing to get to know them.
People are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for and it can be blatantly obvious when you just aren’t that interested in getting to know someone. Tip: Ask them questions that show them you are genuinely interested in them.
Find common ground.
Looking to add layers to a currently existing relationship or looking for that hook to create a relationship? Find something that you can both relate to on the same level. It doesn’t need to be crazy specific, like you both are gluten-free vegans who have ran several of the same ultra-marathons. No, it can be as small as you both have cats, you enjoy the same restaurant, you both like a lot of the same sports, etc. Sharing interests within a relationship is one of the many things that makes it so rich and satisfying. Tip: Listening, observing and asking questions are all great ways to find common interests.
This one may seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. Remembering details is just one little thing you can do that can make a big difference. Do you have an address book? Perfect (if not it’s a worthwhile investment). Tip: When you get a new piece of information worth remembering simply write it down beside the persons name in your address book. This way you have all important information about one person stored in one place.
This is even easier now with the development of technology and mobile apps!
People love to feel special and remembering a detail like “Jenny is a vegetarian” really does mean the world to people.
This New Years Resolution is one that can easily be integrated into your daily life. Taking these ideas to enrich your relationships are simple, effective and they take little to no time, but they yield mega results. Make this New Year your best yet and show yourself the love and healthy life that you deserve by committing to building and strengthening your relationships.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE MHV TEAM!