5 New Year’s Resolutions from a Sexologist

As the new year rolls in, we tend to focus on resolutions to improve our overall health. Gym memberships fly of the shelf, diet products sell out in response to turkey overload (how blessed we are to eat until we’re full!) and new programs to quit our not-so-healthy habits make headlines with stories of success. It really is an exciting time and I think everyone deserves and can benefit from the feeling of a fresh start!

While you’re making resolutions to live a better life and become a better version of yourself, be sure to take some time to look at your relationships. It only takes a few minutes, but thinking about your connections with friends, family, partners and co-workers can help you gain a new perspective on the ways in which you interact with others. Healthy relationships are of paramount importance to your own happiness and self-esteem and, so take some time to nourish them and take pride in those from the past, present and future.

I don’t usually write from a personal perspective, but I’m happy to share a few of my relationship resolutions for 2012. Please feel free to share yours as well. We can learn so much from one another!

1.  I will make more time for the people I love. 2011 was a dynamite year for my business, but I could have done a better job making friends and family a priority with phone calls, emails and get-togethers. Mea culpa! In 2012, I’m going to do a better job of this by scheduling time with loved ones the same way I schedule meetings and business engagements.

2.  I’m going to ditch the Blackberry. OK. Not literally! Resolutions have to be realistic in order to be attainable, so I’m not about to throw my cell phone in the lake. But I am going to make an effort to turn it off when I’m out for dinner with friends or visiting my family. There will always be extraordinary circumstances, but I want this rule to apply as a norm rather than an exception.

3.  I will set aside one day per week to spend time with my partner. With my travel schedule and his insane workload (not to mention my just-barely-healthy love of Ultimate Frisbee), we sometimes go for weeks without actually spending quality time together. This has to change. I’m going to cut back on my 11p.m, frisbee games so that we can go to bed together at night more than twice a week. He does a much better job of making me a priority despite working 14-hour days (and never complains), so I need to take a page out of his book in 2012.

4.  I’m going to be more romantic. I need to do more for my partner in terms of planning small surprises and organizing unexpected opportunities for fun and intimacy. After all, I’m a sexologist and should practice what I preach!

5.  I’m going to see the best in others. My mom taught me to do this from a really young age and I think I’m pretty good at it. But with stress, hectic schedules and other tidbits of life’s drama, it’s easy to get caught up in negativity. But everyone is full of goodness, so I don’t want to lose sight of this. This doesn’t mean that I will always be perfectly happy with everyone — sometimes it seems like people suck (and not in a good way). But really it’s just specific behaviours that suck, so I’ll do my best to look for the silver lining.

6.  I want to start (almost) every sentence and action from a place of love. Maybe it sounds a bit cheesy, but I want to consciously ask myself how I can move a relationship forward with everything I say and do. The more I do this, the easier it will become because practice makes perfect.

7.  I’m going to stop being so hard on myself. This is a tough one, but I have to build a healthy relationship with myself in order to cultivate happy relationships with others. And those of us who are hard on ourselves tend to also be tough on others. This means I have to accept that I will screw up sometimes. I will say things that are motivated by emotions other than love. I will have weeks when I don’t make enough time for my loved ones and I will have days when I’m more Blackberry-dependent than others. But it’s okay, because I’m human and I’m doing my best (most days).

8.  I will spread love in the big city! Not that kind of love! Get your head out of the gutter. I’m talking about small acts that make others happy. Holding a door (even if you have to wait a few seconds to do so), offering a seat on public transit, a friendly smile and a warm hello can go a long way to warm up a wintery urban centre. And every interaction, however brief, constitutes a relationship in my books. I often think to myself, “I should buy that secretary or concierge a coffee the next time I’m here”, but I don’t follow through and I’m not sure it’s always the thought that counts in this respect. In 2012, I will be more of a doer and less of a thinker. Thinking hurts my brain anyway. Kidding!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2012! You deserve it!

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly is a board-certified sexologist committed to helping clients enjoy healthy, pleasurable sex lives. She has completed her PhD in human sexuality with a focus on training teachers to deliver effective sex education. She loves her work (obviously!) and splits her time between public speaking engagements, freelance writing, program development and consulting in the field of sexual health.Learn more at www.jessicaoreilly.com

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1 comment

1 The Futurista { 11.08.12 at 3:29 am }

I applaud these great examples of good New Year´s resolutions! They will make your mind healthier the same way as many resolutions make your body more healthy! I myself also want to include an ethical resolution this year, promising to change one of my habits to live in a more ethical way (= stopping the constant upgrade of my phone). I think it is more inspiring to stick to resolutions if you make them less selfish and more about changing your ways for others sake.

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