Many people make resolutions around their own lifestyle changes that will improve their quality of life. While we tend to make unobtainable goals, many people still have a go, and some succeed. Researchers call this feeling the “fresh start effect”. They have found that we tend to motivate ourselves into good habits by using a new beginning (like the start of the week, month, year, season, etc.) as a marker to put past behaviour behind us and focus on being better. It brings opportunity to reflect on the previous year and anticipate what you want the New Year to look like.

Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.

A goal for you might be about the quality of time you spend together versus the quantity.

We have come up with 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family. Try using these motivations in your own household.

  1. Spend 1:1 time – If you have more than one child how can you make them feel special and loved? Spend time with them individually! Kids crave one-on-one time with their parents. It makes them feel special, you get to connect and catch up with that child, and it can strengthen your bond. Make sure both parents take turns. Some examples: have one child run errands with you, take a walk around your neighborhood, do your chores/projects together, play a favorite game with them, use your time in the car driving your child to activities.

By setting intentions for family time, it takes pressure off of you and your family to accomplish those unreasonable resolutions. Use this year as an opportunity to create a fresh start. Be intentional with your family.

Remember that these motivations aren’t all or nothing. Some days you will succeed in some areas and lack in others, and that’s okay. The purpose of setting intentions is to make your goals obtainable for you and your family.


  1. Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014) The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Consider taking an assessment or working through the Discussion Guide for Couples… that’s a great place start!

Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith or @ www.relationships or

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