Friday, 17 January 2014 12:33

New Year, New Rules: Going From Mediocre To Amazing In Your Relationships

By Meghan Lemery | Families Today
I bet you thought I was going to write an article on the key to successful resolutions for 2014. Trust me, I thought about it. But the fact is, I don’t really believe in resolutions. They are too full of pressure and expectation and I think the entire resolution theory sets us up for complete failure. If you start out your day vowing to avoid carbs, you are more likely to inhale a bag of potato chips and dive into the all-you-can-eat pasta buffet. Whatever we vow to avoid is usually what we end up binging on. I think the key to success in life isn’t so much the resolutions we make, but rather the rules we make. I believe in rules—our own personal rules and the rules we live by in our relationships. The relationship we have with ourselves and each other is what determines are level of satisfaction in life. You can be No. 1 in all areas of your life, but without solid relationships that have a clear set of guidelines, your level on the happiness scale is likely to be pretty low. Rules lay out what the expectations are and make it clear to us what is acceptable and unacceptable. Without rules we live in chaos and passive aggressive communication. Think of your beloved pet. If you don’t train a pet and teach them the rules, you have a dog that destroys your house and wakes up the neighbors. Likewise, relationships without rules are headed for destruction. I meet with many individuals, couples and families on the daily basis who are looking for support and guidance. One of the first things I ask is what rules they have in their relationships. I am often met with blank stares and confusion and usually have to help them out with the answer. In order to have great relationships, you have to know what you want and establish clear boundaries and rules that will support your goals. The first step in establishing rules in relationships is to know thyself and honor thyself. If you are someone who cannot do mornings without your snuggie and a pot of coffee, don’t agree to have a serious discussion about finances over breakfast. If you can’t take being around your family on the holidays, or any day for that matter, don’t subject the people you love to your own personal hell. Love thyself enough to do what takes care of you and those closest to you. Set a clear rule that you will not put yourself in situations that lead to negative feelings and behavior. Knowing yourself empowers you to honor what you need and communicate those needs to your loved ones. This knowledge helps you set the rules that will take your relationships from mediocre to amazing. You have to know what makes you the best you in order to have amazing relationships. One of the best rules you can set for yourself is to live in peace. This simple intention will improve all areas of your life and help you meet the goals you set for yourself. If you are constantly stressed out and fighting with your spouse, choose peace. Do not engage with anyone or anything that steals your peace. Practice peace daily and watch the drama in your life melt away. If you have a difficult relationship with your teenager and are always yelling, choose to parent from a place of peace with honest direct communication. The dynamic will immediately change the dysfunctional pattern. Practice this simple intention of peace and you will notice you have more energy and motivation. Another gem of a rule to live by is to recognize that you and you alone are the only person responsible for your happiness. We cannot control other people and we can’t depend on others to make us happy. Do not blame others for your stress level and unhappiness. It’s up to you to take care of yourself and keep the inner peace in your spirit. When you make this rule you will notice you are free of the actions and opinions of others. If someone treats you poorly, quit trying to change the person’s behavior and take the steps you need to remove yourself from their negativity. When people treat us poorly it is ALWAYS about their inner junk and unhappiness. When you stop taking everything personally you are free to pursue peace and happiness for yourself. You stop waiting for the person or circumstance to change and empower yourself to do what it takes to maintain peace. This healthy detachment takes the confusion out of dysfunctional relationships. One of the healthiest changes we can make beyond peace and taking responsibility for our happiness is to get into the daily habit of self-care. If you live a stressed out chaotic life, STOP. Take a deep breath and come up with a daily plan to live a life that works for you. Be proactive about doing the little things daily that help you feel good. Stock the food with good healthy food, move your body, turn off the electronics and rest when you need to. Stop making excuses about why you are unhealthy, unhappy in your marriage or in a dead end job. You are not a victim when you choose to participate in a life that does not work for you. When we consistently participate in something that causes unhappiness we become an accomplice to the crime, not a victim. Stop the craziness and come up with a strategy to create peace and happiness in your life. I hear many people at the New Year say, “I hope 2014 is a better year. 2013 was awful.” The good news is how this new year goes is dependent on you. Don’t give away your power and magically hope things get better. Take a look at what went wrong and get the insight you need to make healthy changes. Come up with a set of rules that you will honor in your life and watch how this simple exercise brings you a life that works for you. Choose peace, take responsibility for your happiness and get into the habit of daily self-care. These simple gems will clean up the junk in your life and bring clarity to your spirit and soul. Clear rules are what help us succeed in our resolutions. Don’t sit back passively and hope for a better year. Take action and know that you are the only person who can make things better and create the life you want. Aren’t you worth it? Wishing you a healthy wonderful 2014 full of abundance in all areas of your life! Ms. Lemery is a psychotherapist practicing in Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs, N.Y. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit
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