It’s that time of year again when we hear about our friends New Year’s Resolutions. 

Eat healthy.  Work out more. Give up that terrible vice.  There are so many and they’re so personal.  But for 2015, I’d like to suggest one that could be the most important of them all.  One that could be the domino that knocks all of them into action:  Developing your best relationships.

Yes, your best relationships.  Think about who you interact with each week.  Friends, family, bosses, lovers… you could be sitting on a gold mine!  Old and new relationships could be the missing component for changes you’ve been craving in your life.  Lets learn how these folks can help activate your brain and body to get moving – whether you’re conscious of it or not.

There have been several studies that have come out in the past decade that look at what generates happiness and longevity of life span.  Do you know what was the common denominator?  Relationships.  Yes, if you have lots of family, friends, neighbors and communities that you’re connected to – you get lots of benefits.  You can have improved mood, increased sense of security and less sick days. 

But more important than the health benefits is the power of social support.  Most people overlook how much positive relationships motivate us to do our best.  Think about the last time you did something fun with a friend.  Did you love the camaraderie or the laughter?  Did that person see more positive in you than you see in yourself? Maybe, like at a exercise class, you appreciated the peer pressure to participate and finish till the last minute of class.   Social support can make resolutions come to life with joy and increased drive. 

Yes, taking action with others may be the only way some of us can start resolutions, and turn them into completed projects.  Part of how you can super boost this support is a word switch.  Speak or write your new years intentions, which are more powerful then resolutions.  Why, you ask?  Because you can’t fail with intentions.  It’s directing your thoughts and energy, and your friends can feel that power of that without any shame that can come from “not completing” something.  Plus sharing intentions is a great way to get closer to someone.

So now that you know how relationships can help you live happier, healthier and intentionally in the new year, how would you rate your relationships?  I don’t mean on a scale of 1-10, but instead, how is the quality of your social, romantic and sexual relationships?  I’m sure you have a sense of how to maintain, but how about deepen and foster mutual inspiration together? Take a moment to ponder these keys to a relationship revolution:

Start with your own happiness.  Many people think that relationships will make them happier.  That’s true! They will.  There’s nothing like feeling connected.  However, research shows that individuals who are take care of themselves and do joyful things with themselves end up in more satisfying relationships down the road.  

Work through the past.  It’s easier said than done to let go of past hurts and trauma, but absolutely necessary to have fulfilling relationships.  Many of my clients come in wanting to work letting go of jealousy, fear or depression – but we usually end up connecting back to early wounds that were never addressed.  Suddenly relationships improve!

Break through the walls.  Everyone has them.  In the psychology world we call them defenses.  Their the thoughts, emotions or behaviors that keep us from connecting with others.  What are the ways that you notice yourself or your relationships hide from getting more intimate?  For gay or bi men, this can often look like performing the campy comedy stick in group settings as a way of not feeling uncomfortable feelings. 

Surround yourself with the best.  Are your friends encouraging, supportive and the types of people you strive to be?  If not, it may be time to redirect your energy towards those who do.  The people we surround ourselves with are unconsciously influencing us all the time.  What’s most important to you? Someone who’s empathetic, successful, caring or commited to growing? You deserve the best.

So instead of resolutions that will leave you discouraged, set one intention this year.  Resolve to develop the best relationships of your life.  Take some time to enjoy the pleasure of your current relationships.  Open yourself to cultivating more that lift you up.  Take time to enjoy the present and create a fabulous 2015.