Resolutions Resolved

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New Year’s Resolutions:

At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults made them. At the start of the 21st century, it grew to about 40%. Today, about 45% of us still do.

How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them. ~ Benjamin Franklin

According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of us actually succeed in following through with the resolutions we make. While a whopping 75% start out strong the first week, the will eventually tapers and we are left with our usual smoke inhaling, beer guzzling, procrastinating selves. Apparently, we have the courage to own our faults Mr. Franklin, we just can’t seem to fix them.

The most common reason found for our inability to keep a resolution is the lifestyle change it requires. In his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg explains that our brain clings to old routines helping us conserve our decision making neurons for work and problem solving. By the time a habit has been practiced enough, both the habit and reward become automatic. These routines require no willpower, they exist out of the sheer lack of effort it takes for our brains to perform them, such as brushing our teeth. The trick is to replace the bad habit with a better one. If we continue to reinforce the reward, we have a chance at accomplishing the goal– still maintaining a routine, just with different habits.

When I was young my New Year’s Resolutions used to be things like: wake up at 6:30 every morning and jog 3 miles. In most cases, resolutions are at least acted upon for a period of time. The ‘get back in shapers’ join a gym, the ‘smokers’ purchase nicotine gum. I don’t recall even setting my alarm for that following morning, nor do I remember ever running three miles up until then. I think I was thirteen, and they didn’t get any better as I got older: learn a new language, play an instrument, take up tap dancing…

With a history of creating resolutions that only self-disciplined, professionals can attain, I decided to apply my new knowledge of goal setting to the new year. I also narrowed my list down to things I can do for myself and things I can do for my relationship. Being that this blog is not called, ‘Kari Laskowski and her self discovery to her inner beauty’, which I think would allude to more ‘self pleasure’ spam and less followers, I will save you the read a book once a month or wake up thankful everyday jargon and cut right to the important stuff.

My Relationship Resolutions for 2013:

1. Call my grandma once a week.

I’m hoping to accomplish this by calling on Sundays. I will substitute the habit of lying on my couch with my computer for the habit of lying on my couch with my phone. Also, I will remind myself that she is getting older and my reward will be how proud I will feel that our relationship has strengthened when the time comes that she will no longer be with us. Of course, the reward will also be the relationship itself.

2. Have more sex.

I plan to accomplish this by:

  • Buying a sex book: whenever I go to a white elephant and there is a sex book, it’s always a hit. Just recently I went to a Christmas Party and we were supposed to bring an inexpensive or “naughty” gift.  A book about cunnilingus got all of the attention. It stole the comedy, not only with the couples at the party, but also among strangers at the bar afterwards. I realized it’s okay as long as everyone knows it’s funny or that it’s just a gift, however, we would be too embarrassed to purchase something like that for ourselves.
  • Renting a porn: I did all this research for my blog, There Ain’t No Shame or Blame in That Game, but I haven’t yet followed the advice of trying one out. The point of the blog is that the porn industry has catered to women more now than it ever has and that studies have shown sexual images can enhance women’s sex lives.
  • Seeing a sex therapist: I recently made friends with a sex therapist at a party. She had so much incite on couples and their sex lives. Her clients are mostly couples 50 years and older. However, there are therapists for newlyweds and for couples of all ages who help you learn how to avoid getting into a rut and how to continue on a good path. Sex: never, sometimes, often.

The rewards will be obvious, but in case anyone needs the statistics: a couple that plays together, stays together.

3. Fight better.

I have the same reactions to the same things that make me tick. These nuances are always going to bother me, but if I change my reaction I might see a change in the result as well. And if not, what do I have to lose? Most of the time our anger is only feeding the negative energy that spawned it in the first place. I met a woman once who told me when she and her husband call each other names, they have a rule that they always have to say the word “sexy” in front of it. “You are being a real sexy prick right now!” If I  take up name calling I’ll only do it because of this rule.

4.Compliment my partner more.

With our culture’s emphasis on beauty, compliments in terms of appearance often fall more on women. Maybe it’s because we spend more time thinking about what we are going to wear and getting ready. However, I’ve noticed when I tell Mike he looks good in something, it’s always well received. And if you think about it, men are secretly thinking about what to wear too, they’re just better at making decisions about it. Why should us women get all the credit, when men are able to look good and do it in half the time? In her book, Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, Sheryl P. Kurland teaches us that complimenting our partner is a good way to make a conscious effort to build the relationship up, instead of our normal tendencies of breaking it down.

So there you have them. They each require my attention, but not too much. A lifestyle change? Not a big one, just a tweak here and there.

With all the stats on resolutions there still is one yet to be mentioned: People who make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make resolutions.

Now, don’t be a sexy stick in the mud. Get out there and give it a try.

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20 thoughts on “Resolutions Resolved

  1. This is a great list! Way to dive below the typical superficial resolutions and really look for ways to make life better. My guess is that most everyone has thought about these or knows that these are issues but are too scared to tackle them. Good for you.

  2. “a couple that plays together, stays together.” This I can vouch for – and my experience is that this actually means each of us have become more playful in life – ON OUR OWN – not just together. When I am really enjoying my life and myself, my partner enjoys me, too!

    For a Happy 2013 of Play and Fun!

    Love,
    Tomas

    • Thanks. I loved learning about yours today too! So much information. You make a good point, ‘play more’ is probably not a common resolution today. However, if it were, it could help with a lot our relationship problems.

  3. Great post, Kari. That illustration at the top is perfect; the guy didn’t even bother to change out of his suit — not a good sign. Your list is very manageable, and all will leave you (and others) feeling better.

    Happy New Year.

  4. Hi Kari! I love your blog! Such great posts. Susie’s party sent me over here and I signed up to follow you on email. I totally relate to a lot of what you said here. Only a few small reasonalbe resolutions for me.

    FYI – I am totally with you on not getting hitched. 14 years of living with my gal in unmarried bliss in NYC!

  5. Excellent post….love the resolutions….i have a list of family members I call on sundays to improve my communication….your relationship resolutions..play together….is a great idea….people get routine in relationships….routine gets boring…

    • Thanks! You’re right though, I’m a creature of habit. It just helps me stick to a routine. However, I end up not doing things I wished I had more time for… and eventually things get boring. (Still working on that one.)

  6. These are great! What really makes them inspiring is their honesty and frankness. It shows, as you mentioned to Old Ben, that you know your faults well, and face them. What I think gives you a good chance of success is that honesty tied to your strategies. Nicely mapped out! I wish you success!

    • Thanks. It makes sense if you are going to improve yourself, it’s probably more effective if you do it through your relationships. Still new to thinking this way, so it’s taking time…

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