6 Tips for Starting Your Relationship Off Right in the New Year

Use the new year as a springboard for change that will make your relationship longer-lasting and more fulfilling.

My move to Brooklyn is so well-timed because it's close to the new tear. With my new apartment comes a new commitment to cleanliness, and giving it the appearance that I've "made it" (little tricks like having lighting specifically for artwork on the walls, a spice rack, etc.).

In light of my new apartment, I've considered how to start off or "restart" a relationship in the new year. Perhaps you can use the new year as a springboard for change that will make your relationship longer-lasting and more fulfilling. Here are some suggestions for starting your relationship off right in the new year:

Avoid Holiday Letdown

It's easy to get wrapped up in the holiday spirit, and the romance of the decor and festivities. During the holidays, dating is fun, and you're out and about quite often. You shop together, exchange gifts, take walks, and do plenty of other holiday activities. For me, everything comes crashing to a halt on January 2nd as I trudge to work with a holiday hangover in the freezing cold. It's easy to recoil and hibernate until spring.

But if you can keep up the energy level, brainstorm fun activities, and spend time with your significant other, you'll get each other through the cold winter. Also, it shows that you were not just into "seasonal dating" if you remain enthusiastic beyond the holidays.

Get Rid of Your Worst Habit for You...and Them

You know that one thing that they love to complain about? My mom complains about my dad's pack-rat habit that takes over the basement. Many girls complain that I bite my nails too often, and too low. Smoking polarizes many couples. If you've been unable to get rid of a bad habit for yourself, then do it for your lover as a New Year's resolution. In the end, you'll be helping yourself while making them happy.

Try to Get Along with That Person You Hate...Really Try This Time

Make a conscious effort to get along with their mother, that annoying friend, or even their ex who is still in their life as a friend. You don't have to be best friends with that horrible person. You'll find that simply tolerating someone your significant other loves instead of complaining about them will do the trick.

Make More Sacrifices with Your Time

Fall and winter time-sacrifices are tough for me because football monopolizes every Sunday. So, skipping something you love in order to hang out with your significant other will go a long way. Also, doing something with them that they love, but you're not that into, will mean a lot too.

Put the Past Behind You

Some things are better left alone, , but sometimes past issues keep you from moving forward. If an apology is in order, or a discussion is necessary with an ex — and you're ready to do it — go for it. Or, come to grips with your past within yourself. You'll find that burying the hatchet with a past lover will help you be a better boyfriend or girlfriend for your current lover.

And if you're in a relationship, but you've been hurt in the past, remember this is a different relationship from your past: Doomsday may NOT be on the horizon. And if you still talk to your jerky ex just to be nice, kick them to the curb for good and move on — drop 'em like another bad habit.

Try Something New

A new year is the perfect time to try new dates: new venues, activities, and styles. If you've been planning dates, give in to spontaneity. If you've done a lot of indoor activities, get outside. If you've gone out to dinner many times, stay in and make dinner together or for each other. A new, memorable experience will start the year off right.

Most of these tips involve sacrifice/stepping outside of your comfort zone. No one said New Year's resolutions were easy. Look back and reflect upon the things you didn't try. If you give them a shot, you could take things to another level.

What tips would you offer to start your a relationship off right in the new year? What do you think of my ideas? Do you historically hit a low after the holidays in dating, or are you able to sustain or improve your relationship when the new year rolls around? Do you like to look at New Year's as a chance to renew your relationship?

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