Forget resolutions like giving up chocolate, limiting your shoe spending, or joining that trendy new gym. If you are going to create any new and lasting habits for 2015, make sure at least one of them is aimed at creating a better relationship, according to relationship expert Julia McCurley

Schedule Time Together

We all lead such busy lives these days that sharing more quality time with our mate is easier said than done. It becomes something we always mean to do, yet all our other commitments seem to come first. So try getting a new diary or calendar, and make the first thing you write in it your ‘couple time’ for the upcoming months of 2015. Set aside an evening once a week, or a part of a day or the weekend, to spend some time together. You don’t need to plan a getaway or spend lots of money – simply find a special moment or experience to share. And it doesn’t need to be exclusive, either; perhaps you’d like to have people over for a dinner party. This can be a great way to celebrate your partnership as a team by creating a festive meal together and celebrating your entertainment skills. Once these plans are scheduled in, make them a priority. Treat them as you would an important appointment, and don’t give yourself the option to cancel.

Really Talk With Each Other

Really, talk with each other. Some of your time together should be spent discussing what you like and don’t like about the relationship, what you are thinking and feeling… basically, catching up with how the relationship is doing. Your shared world view is important to communicate.

Make sure to check in with each other about how your day is going, or funny things that might come up, or send thinking of you texts or emails during the day. Take 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted time together each day, sitting face to face with no distractions, and share your news and talk about anything that is concerning you. Whether you talk about work, your relationship, the extended family, or household matters, make time to be in touch with what’s going on in each other’s world at a deeper level.

Be Selfish. For Yourself And Others

If you feel stressed because you are not giving yourself enough attention, this will permeate into the relationship with your partner. If you feel like you need time on your own, try going for a walk, reading, or getting a massage. Make sure your partner understands that you need time to care for yourself – and that it is not because you want to get away from them.

It is unrealistic to expect to be together all the time, and happy couples understand that each partner will need some time on their own. Be considerate of your own self and your own need for private time. If you feel good because you are looking after yourself properly with a healthy lifestyle, that will show in your relationship. You’ll feel healthier and sexier, and your partner will benefit from that, too, so never feel guilty about enjoying some pampering.

The Good And Bad

It’s no good spending time together and communicating regularly if you don’t feel comfortable mentioning things you’re not happy with in the relationship. It is important to talk about what makes you happy and what you think works well between you, yet you need to be secure enough with your partner to speak up if something does not feel right. Often, couples form a ‘mutual appreciation society’ whereby they feel frightened to rock the boat. If you can’t say what’s making you unhappy, then the issue will fester – and it won’t sort itself out, either. Speak up clearly and fairly to resolve issues, and remember to listen to your partner as well.

Take A Break From The Children

Finding someone you can trust to look after your children on a regular basis is one of the biggest favors you can do for your relationship. Why? It is great a way to reclaim that valuable ‘you time,’ and it’s good for the children, too. Couples often get submerged under the demands of parenthood and they forget how to maintain a fulfilling partnership. A solid parental relationship is essential for a healthy family, so parents may want to retain some identity separate from their children. Plus, children need to know that Mommy and Daddy need time on their own, and that whenever they go away, they’ll always come back.

It’s a New Year, so try to treat it as a fresh start for a longer-lasting and more satisfying relationship. This success will echo into your other relationships, too; after all, as Burt Bacharach once crooned, What the world needs now is love, sweet love.