Forget trying to get fitter and read more books; 2022 is the year of New Year's resolutions that we actually stick to. And none are more important than resolutions for your relationship.
January is the beginning of a new chapter, and the opportunity to refocus, reset, and remind yourself what’s really important: your other half, of course, but also your needs in the relationship. It's a great opportunity to figure out how you can make each other even happier with every day, week and month that passes.
Every couple will have different goals when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but working through this list together is a good way to make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to your plans for the future.
Whether it’s as simple as a fun date night each month or as major as a big life change (like, oh, we don’t know, planning a wedding, for instance), these New Year's Resolutions for couples will help you enter 2022 stronger, happier and ready for all the adventures coming your way.
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1. Plan a Regular Date Night
Making time for each other that isn’t just conking out in front of Netflix should definitely be a priority over the next 12 months. It may sound like a no-brainer, but if you don’t schedule it, life will get in the way before you know it.
If you're in the middle of wedding planning, it's even more important to set time aside. "It takes around 250 hours to plan a wedding, however, with the knock-on effect from the recent years pandemic, this has increased planning time to 300 hours due to the high demand in suppliers within the industry,” explains wedding planner Illy Goodall of Illy Elizabeth Weddings. That can seem like an overwhelming amount of time and it's important to re-centre your relationship when faced with the stress of planning.
Buy each other a diary (Papier and Moleskine do great ones that can be personalised) or build a shared online calendar, and block out regular dates to spend just the two of you – anything from a fancy meal out to a night at the cinema or a pub quiz. Why not start by picking your favourites from our list of winter date ideas, but we also have date night ideas for every budget that's worth a look.
2. Put Down Your Phone
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by Apple’s weekly screen time reports? Yep, us too – but shocking as it can be to see the hours stacking up, they’re also a sobering reminder of how long you spend looking at your phone rather than, you know, the person you’re in love with. And no, tagging them in memes doesn’t count as meaningful interaction, no matter how cute that sausage dog wearing a chef’s hat may be.
Aim to step away from the screens at least once a day, and put your phone in another room or even in a box if you’re still tempted to peek. If it helps, there’s another hidden bonus to this resolution – blue light from smartphones and computer screens is thought to have a negative impact on the appearance of your skin, so you’ll be working on your relationship and giving your complexion a break simultaneously.
3. Pay More Compliments
They say the best things in life are free, and nowhere is that truer than with a genuine word of admiration. The clue is the word genuine: resolve not just to pay compliments for the sake of it, but to consider the things you really love about your partner and to let them know about them more often.
It doesn’t have to be major – anything from an outfit they look especially great in to something they did that day that really impressed you or made you smile. Reminding them why they’re your person on a regular basis will usually mean more than a big overblown gesture ever could.
4. Listen to Your Love Languages
Have you ever worked out your love language? There's a free online quiz, which millions of people have already taken, that asks you a few simple questions and helps you to identify which of the five ways of giving and receiving love – Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch – resonates most strongly.
You can take the results with a pinch of salt – it’s a suggestion, not a prescription, after all – but it can be an interesting insight into what your partner is craving more of. Plus, adding a little more of any of the five languages into your day-to-day lives is likely to make both of you feel good, regardless of which one comes out on top.
If you're not sure how to add more of your love language into your relationship, we have loads of ideas here!
5. Book a Staycation
Going on an adventure doesn’t have to break the bank – honest! Far-flung honeymoon destinations are all well and good, but there’s also so much to explore in the UK, and it can be just as fun to play tourist in your home town.
Look up local events calendars, seek out new restaurant openings or even book a great deal on a hotel that’s only a short drive or train ride away. A change of scene can really help you both to switch off and destress, plus you’ll avoid all of the hassle of passports, boarding passports and luggage limits too.
If you have kids, this one is even more important. It's essential to spend time just as a couple, so find some childcare for a weekend or even one night away (hello, grandparents) and book a romantic break where you can focus on each other - why not browse our round-up of the most romantic hot tub breaks in the UK?
6. Support Each Other’s New Year’s Resolutions
Individual goals are just as important as the ones you make as couples, and you need to give each other time to pursue them. In fact, one poll revealed that ‘me-time’ is actually even more important than date nights if you want to maintain a healthy relationship, with 51 minutes the optimum period of solo pursuits per day.
If there’s a new activity you can do together – a workout, volunteering, a class that will teach you a new skill – great! But don’t be offended when your other half wants to do something separately. Far from driving the two of you apart, it could actually be the key to building your confidence and feeling even happier when you’re reunited.
READ MORE: How to Get Your Partner To Propose
7. Makeover Your Bedroom
We’re not talking a full-on Changing Rooms-style overhaul, but a coat of paint, new print or fresh bedding can make the world of difference. Let a little colour psychology help to inform your choices – blue, for instance, is restful and soothing, while green grounds you in nature, yellow is the hue of happiness and optimism and red represents energy and passion.
If your focus is on injecting a bit of extra romance into your space, declutter the room and then introduce luxe textures like a velvet headboard or silk pillowcases, adjust the lighting for a warmer glow, or even consider hanging a canopy or new curtains to enhance the idea of intimacy. Which brings us to our next suggestion…
8. Make Sex a Priority
The parameters of this resolution are ones that only the two of you can set – after all, only you know how your sex life is now, and how it could be improved. But for the year ahead, whether it’s making more time, getting more creative or gaining the confidence to ask for what you really want, commit to figuring out what really works for you both and go from there.
Studies show that it’s not all just about the sex itself, but the affection you share that accompanies that sexuality, so make sure that this is part of your plans. Coincidentally, sex is also a great workout, so if your other New Year’s resolutions revolve around getting into shape, this will be the ultimate win-win situation!
Why not brush up on the best online sex toy shops to help spice things up a bit?
9. Touch Each Other More
No, not like that (for this resolution, anyway) – make a point of hugging, holding hands, or even giving a quick rub on the shoulders wherever possible. Experts say that physical touch like this is essential in a healthy, loving relationship, promoting feelings of bonding and attachment, but when you see each other every day, it’s all too easy to fall out of the habit.
Adding touch to your daily routine will help you to fall back in – when you get home from work, always give your partner a kiss before you start picking up chores or starting to cook dinner, or when you’re watching TV, start resting a gentle hand on their knee. It’s effortless, comforting, and won’t cost you a penny, but you’ll both feel the benefits from the very first… well, touch.
10. Manage Your Money
Joint finances can be one of the most common causes of arguments in a relationship, but getting any awkward money matters out in the open now can help you to stay one step ahead. This is especially important if you’ve got a wedding budget to build up – you both need to be honest and realistic about how much you can afford to put in, and what you’re willing to spend.
According to a money.co.uk survey, almost six in 10 Brits ended 2021 in debt - with the average person needing three years to pay it off completely and spending up to 20% of their wage on repayments. If you're working towards saving for a wedding, it's incredibly important to get a serious handle on where your money is going each month.
Consider signing up to banks that let you sort your cash into handy pots like Monzo, or do it the old-fashioned way on a spreadsheet you both have access to update. Take into account everything from rent, bills and travel to nights out and new clothes. It feels overwhelming initially, but it’s worth it – you’ll feel so much more in control once it’s done.
11. Try Something New Every Month
To counterbalance more practical resolutions (like the aforementioned super-fun spreadsheet), keep things exciting by planning a brand-new activity for each other once a month. You can either set aside a night fortnightly, or take six months each throughout the year. Once that’s decided, you can let your imaginations run wild.
The possibilities are endless: a cooking class, a dance lesson, wine tasting, a museum visit, volunteering – the only caveat is it has to be something that neither of you have ever tried before. And if you’re exhausted or money is tight, you don’t even need to leave the house – snuggle up indoors and make a new recipe, try out a craft or pour out a bowl of popcorn and stream that blockbuster you’ve both been meaning to see.
12. Take More Pictures
When you’re tying the knot, you’ll usually have a big list of wedding photo ideas to capture throughout the celebrations. But even when you’re not dressed up in your finery, you’ll never regret having more pictures of you both together, so add it to your agenda for the year ahead to capture as many moments as possible.
Research by printing company CEWE shows that looking back at our photos has a significant impact on mental health and can dramatically improve our mood - meaning future you will be forever grateful you captured those snaps.
This is a particularly good resolution for couples if you’re usually camera-shy – you probably have tons of pictures of your partner, but not many of you with them. From cheesy selfies on days out to formal shots at fancy events, try to let loose and get in front of the lens more often, and once you’ve got the shots, don’t just leave them languishing on your phone. Fill frames around your house or spend a spare weekend making an album to cherish for years to come.
13. Check in with Each Other. Every. Single. Day
Research from the University of Waterloo says that simply asking ‘How are you?’ is crucial for people – particularly if they’re insecure by nature – to feel more secure, trusting and cared for in any partnership.
You may think you’re doing this already, but are you really always listening to and engaging with the answer? In 2022, it’s time to make a conscious effort to ensure that’s always the case. Make a little ritual of the time when you both get home, even if it’s just for five minutes – pour a drink, step away from the TV, and talk. It’ll soon become the most precious five minutes of your day.
Once you’ve found your New Year’s resolutions, take a look at our wedding planning timeline so you and your other half can organise your big day together.