We’re only a few days away from 2013, and it’s the perfect time to make some resolutions. If you’re an item, you shouldn’t make the resolutions on your own. Involve your significant other in the quest to not only a better “me”, but a better “we”. Resolutions are ultimately goals at the end of the day, and all of your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. If you want even SMARTER goals, make them engaging and be sure to reward yourself. Here’s 20 New Year’s Resolutions to help you become a better couple in 2013:

  1. End bad habits: Let’s face it; some of the most promised resolutions are to end bad habits. From smoking and drinking, to being overly critical and constantly late, we all have bad habits we need to break. However, habits are learned behaviors. If you’ve been doing something for year, it’s not going to stop overnight. You’ll need the support of your significant other to end these bad habits.
    SMART[ER] Example: Reduce drinking to twice a week socially by June, and get to purchase a personalize wine glass or beer mug.
  2. Commit to a healthier lifestyle: Another biggie on millions of people’s list this year is committing to a healthier lifestyle. This could mean losing weight, exercising more, or starting a new diet. Spouses, please note that diet sabotage is hurting the love of your life. Temptation can get the best of someone who’s trying to be healthier. Go to the gym with your husband. Eat a healthier dinner with your wife.
    SMART[ER] Example: Walk 5 miles three times a week, and finally buy that new iPod nano for music on the go.
  3. Cook more, eat out less: We are a fast food nation, full of trans fat, sodium, and sugar. Not only is it interfering with our bodies, but it’s affecting our bank accounts as well. If there’s something you just love from the local burger joint, make it a goal to find out how you and your love can make a healthier (and possibly more tasty) version at home. The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach in many cases. You appreciate a home cooked meal a lot more than something that came in a greasy paper bag anyways.
    SMART[ER] Example: Make a home cooked meal 4 nights a week for one month, and get to splurge at your favorite restaurant at the end of the month.
  4. Slow down!: We’re living in times of go, go, go! We’re always on the move, we’re always in a rush, we’re always trying to cram 36 hours of activities in a 24 hour day, and sometimes we miss the present. Both of you should commit to slowing down, and not being in such a rush. Take a breather.
    SMART[ER] Example:  Schedule 10 minutes out of your day to breathe and gather your thoughts, and have a more refreshed feeling when continuing your day.
  5. TTC: Babies are such a joy and a blessing! If you’ve been having baby fever and you’ve crossed off all the things on your baby bucket list, you should consider 2013 as the year to try to conceive. This is not a decision to come to on your own, and definitely should be something you discuss in depth with your spouse. Are you ready for a child, both emotionally and financially? If you guys are ready, go for it!
    SMART[ER] Example: Try to conceive by the end of the year. Your baby is the best reward!Trying to Conceive
  6. Time out: Again, we’re always on the go, and sometimes we never take a break. Make it a point to have some time to yourselves, away from the stresses of the world. A vacation is sometimes much needed and well deserved. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant trip to the Bahamas for 7 days. It could be as simple as a local getaway for a weekend.
    SMART[ER] Example: Plan and schedule a 2-7 day getaway, and enjoy a great time away from the daily grind, where you can connect with each other.
  7. Go on more dates: Couples are on such a whirlwind in the beginning of their relationship, then quickly find themselves in a slump. Routine replaces the spark, people get busy, and people get bored. Make it your mission to go on more dates in 2013. It can be a simple dinner and a movie, a trip to the science center, or enjoying a concert at the park.
    SMART[ER] Example: Schedule a date night once a month, and finally get to go places you’ve been dying to go to.
  8. Make a big deal out of celebrations: Think of all the things to celebrate throughout the year. Birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries should not be just another day. We all deserve a bit of hype every once in a while. This year, make a big to-do out of celebrations. Have a party, do some decorating, cook a feast. You only live once, so make the best out of these times together.
    SMART[ER] Example: Plan a surprise party for your wife or husband’s birthday, and put a smile on his or her face.
  9. Be spontaneous: Spontaneity goes out the window once you’ve been with someone for a long time. We become predictable, going to the same places, doing the same things. Be more spontaneous this year, and do something completely out of the ordinary. Obviously, we ask that you stay safe and be smart (just the plain old smart) about your decisions.
    SMART[ER] Example: Commit to saying “yes” to something you usually say “no” to twice a month, and get to feel that adrenaline rush.
  10. Do a surprise makeover: Have you been wearing the same clothes and the same hairstyle for the past 5 years? It’s time to switch it up. You’ve seen plenty of makeover shows to know that a new style can almost make someone a new person. Surprise your lady or man with a new look and see what they think.
    SMART[ER] Example: Get your hair styled differently to surprise your spouse, and buy a new outfit to match your new look.Couple Celebrating
  11. Meet more couples: I’ve been wanting more married friends for a while now, and I plan to find them in 2013. Having couples to hang out with is fun, and gives you a chance to connect and relate on different levels than you can with your single friends. If you’re having a hard time finding other married couples, you can always join Marriage Chat to meet some.
    SMART[ER] Example: Find 2 couples to hang out with on a monthly basis, and form new friendships.
  12. Fight fair: Many people say you shouldn’t go to sleep angry, and that arguments are red flags, but in reality, every healthy relationship has disagreements. A resolution that should be on everybody’s list is to fight fair. No below the belt blows, things you know your spouse is sensitive about. Don’t bring up past arguments. Stay in the present, try not to yell, and no throwing around the D word.
    SMART[ER] Example: During your next argument, give yourself a time limit. If things aren’t resolved in that time, call a time out and revisit it later, when you’ve both had time to cool off.
  13. Give back: We could all stand to give back a little. Whether it’s volunteering our time with an organization, or donating money to a charity, it’s something a couple should do together. Find a cause that you’re both passionate about, and decide how the both of you want to help. You can even start your own non-profit organization!
    SMART[ER] Example: Volunteer 1 hour a week at your favorite organization, and use it as quality time spent together.
  14. Reminisce: We’re so focused on the future some times, and stuck on the present, that we forget how good we had it way back when. Remember when you first met? Your first date? Your first road trip? Sit down together and remember the good times. Allow those old feelings to come back and warm your heart.
    SMART[ER] Example: Bust out that old photo album once a month and take a trip down memory lane. You can even try to recreate those memories.
  15. Follow a budget: Aww, grown up stuff! Budgeting doesn’t sound like much fun, but increasing your net worth can be! Take a day to go over your finances from 2012, see where you can improve, set goals, and go for them in 2013. Maybe you want to get out of debt, or possibly start your own business. Budgeting is going to help you achieve those goals.
    SMART[ER] Example: Increase your savings by $300 every month for 6 months, and use that money towards a home renovation.Start a Budget
  16. Recommit: You know your spouse loves you, and your spouse knows that you love them. Your family and friends probably know this too. 2013 is a great year to recommit. If you’re already married, plan a vow renewal celebration. Make it an intimate ceremony or invite your family and friends. How about on your upcoming anniversary?
    SMART[ER] Example: Renew your vows on your anniversary and fall in love with your husband or wife all over again.
  17. Declutter: Living together, you start to acquire a lot of…stuff. From furniture, to documents, to keepsakes, to things we don’t even need, sometimes we have to declutter. If it’s time to move, you’ll have to do this anyways. If you’re staying put, come up with a way to get rid of the things you don’t need.
    SMART[ER] Example: Pick one day to do some “spring cleaning” and trash, donate, and organize your things.
  18. Make new memories: We talked about remembering the good ol’ days, but what about making new good ol’ days? In 2013, I plan on making a lot of new memories, and documenting them better. You can start a personal blog or even start a scrapbook!
    SMART[ER] Example: Take a picture of you and your spouse every week, and save the pictures to view in your future.
  19. Have more sex: More sex, more fun, more happiness! Who doesn’t want to have sex? (That’s a rhetorical question). Some say that scheduling sex is weird, but it can be a lot of fun, knowing you’re going to be intimate with your spouse later on. Think about how much sex you’ve had recently, and try to up the ante. Try new moves, set the mood, and enjoy each other.
    SMART[ER] Example: Make plans to have sex at least twice a week, and enjoy the health benefits it provides.
  20. Communicate and compromise: You can’t always get your way, and your significant other can’t always read your mind. Try to keep this in mind in 2013. Work on your communication skills, including your love languages, and sacrifice something you want once in a while for something your spouse wants.
    SMART[ER] Example: Do something your spouse wants to do that you’re not particularly fond of. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

Now you’re armed with plenty of New Year’s resolutions to implement in your relationship. I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be an epic year, not just for us, but for couples everywhere! Let’s strive to make this the best year of marriage yet!

Originally published December 27, 2011.