25 Resolutions for Couples
You don’t smoke or drink. You work out and are in a relationship. So what do you have to resolve? Rather than make another unfulfilled promise, here’s your new resolution: Make one with someone else. Anything that was once tedious to do on your own now becomes a more enjoyable, cooperative effort. Taking a walk after dinner or a class together are solid but obvious moves. Here are some others to consider for a healthier and more efficient new year:
1. Assess your home. A good resolution doesn’t require you to add any more to your life. It can just optimize what already exists. Start by looking at your existing space. The spare room is nice for guests, but it may be better purposed for a stationary bike. Also, determine what gear and equipment are constants and make them constantly accessible. “Take every obstacle out of the equation,” says Anthony Slater, director of performance at Core Performance.
2. Do something epic every month. Whether it’s a hike or mountain bike ride, the bigger the undertaking, the more memories that you’ll create, giving you both a story to chime in on. Also, when the endeavor is majestic—and done with someone—it’s not such a grind, but more an experience. “It’s easier to suffer with someone,” says Darcy Norman, a performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance.
3. Use a single tool. At the gym, pick one piece of equipment, and, whether it’s a barbell or medicine ball, see how much you can do, either individually or together. With the limitation, you’re forced to be more creative. The workout will be more fun, and, especially at resolution time, it’ll require less space and resources in a crowded gym, says Brett Bartholomew, a performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance.
4. Play with vegetables. Alternate picking a kind each week that you’ll use in 2 meals a day. You’ll be forced to research dishes and try different preparations. If you want to increase the challenge, see who can eat the most vegetables each day. At the end of the week, there’s either a non-food reward, or, better yet, a consequence, such as having to run 2 miles. Winning is fun, but that’s not always the best motivator. “People don’t like losing,” says Denise Barry, R.D., a performance nutritionist at Athletes’ Performance.
5. Take a walk to the park. Once there, do intervals, with moderately-paced walking combined with 15- to 30-second bursts of sprinting. Intervals can be a great workout. They vary your heart rate, regulate your nervous system and improve your mood, says Dr. Roy Sugarman, director of applied neuroscience at Athletes’ Performance. They can be tedious as a solo endeavor, but with a partner, they can be fun, or, at least, less awful. It’s fine to keep to a 2:1 rest-to-work ratio, but feel free to have either one of you randomly call when it’s time to start moving to keep things unpredictable.
6. Create a competition. It could be with your partner or co-worker but see who can do more miles per week, with money or a free meal as the prize. Then publicize the bet. You have both support, competition, some trash talk if needed, and the risk of being publicly shamed if you fail, Bartholomew says.
7. Talk when you run. The focus is immediately off the run itself, and, while you can still talk, maintaining a good pace will force you to not waste any words. “You get out the negative energy and come up with good ideas,” Norman says. If you decide to run to a destination—also a good diversionary tactic—you’ll be rewarded with a cup of coffee halfway through, Norman says.
8. Chop vegetables on Sunday. Any salad or stir fry is much easier to make when a good chunk of the preparation has already been done. While you work, you can talk about the upcoming week and plan out the menu. Both of you have buy-in to the meals, and, because there’s forethought and a list, when you go and shop, you won’t buy in excess, Norman says.
9. Then cook a meal together. You’re collaborating, avoiding processed foods, and, in researching dishes, you’ll learn about what’s in them and eat with more awareness. Cooking is a relatively harmless, low-stress pursuit that still requires attention to detail. “You’re focusing on the task. It’s kind of meditative and you have a shared mindfulness where you can push the rest of the world away,” Sugarman says.
10. Go rock climbing twice a month. It’ll provide variety and a total-body workout, and the activity requires complete focus, causing you to shut out all other stresses and distractions. You and your partner also can be at different levels but not only do it together, but have to do it together, requiring constant communication, Slater says.
11. Give each other aliases. Make sure that they’re appropriate for public use, because you want to yell them out during a workout. Encouragement gives motivation. Doing it with a nickname makes it fun and provides an extra push, Barry says.
12. Focus on essential chores. Look at the ones that impact exercise and split them up for each day or week—doing laundry, making protein shakes, having tomorrow’s workout clothes at the door. You’re sharing the load, supporting each other and removing excuses, Norman says.
13. Do morning yoga at home. Start the day together with 15 minutes of a DVD. Don’t worry that the time may be short. “Five minute a day is much better than 50 minutes once a week,” Norman says. Wake up before the kids and it’ll just be your time when you don’t have to be parents. With no one else in a class to bother, you can talk, encourage, and, if earned, high five each other at the end.
14. Keep the workout moving. As soon as one person finishes a set, the other person starts his or hers. You can support and cheerlead while you’re resting, but the program becomes like interval training, with a consistently modest pace and short burst of activity to work your endurance while not wasting any time, Slater says.
15. Go get coffee. Find a co-worker and leave the building in the afternoon. There’s the social aspect, and being outside for 20 minutes also increases vitamin D production, which helps with cognitive function and bone strength. The coffee itself is rich in antioxidants and the caffeine helps combat the natural post-lunch letdown, Sugarman says.
16. Bring your running shoes on vacation. On your first morning, take a jog. It’ll help reset your clock and you’ll be able to see more of the neighboring areas, and where you’d like to return to, than you would just on foot or from a car, Norman says.
17. Do a meal makeover. Pick any recipe and see who can make it healthier. You’re becoming aware of ingredients. You’re competing, and you end up with stuff to eat. Have a neutral third party judge the winner with the requisite non-food reward, Barry says.
18. Split the chauffeuring. Kids’ schedules can kill exercise time, so when your child has a game, have your wife drive him and you run there. On the return, you drive and your wife runs home. You’ve used time more efficiently and the run isn’t so bad since you have a destination, Norman says.
19. Celebrate together. Having long-term goals is great, but don’t gloss over short-term achievements. Plan an occasion every two weeks. You not only have something to look forward to, but you also establish the mindset that you’re expecting success and building self-fulfilling momentum, Slater says.
20. Go to a sporting good store together and take advantage of any buy-two-pairs-of-shoes deals. You each want to have an extra pair for the car—along with clothes—so whenever you get the gift of extra time or a last-minute opportunity to exercise, you have all the stuff that you need, Slater says.
21. Publicize your consistency. Send texts to each other during the day, announcing that you just hit the gym or asking what he had for lunch. You’re holding yourself accountable, but you’re also putting out a little friendly, productive pressure to make your partner keep up with your intended goals, Slater says.
22. Have a glass of water on each bed stand. And then drink it. You’re starting the day together and water is an easily overlooked element. Downing a morning glass helps stave off dehydration that can limit performance. Do the same thing at the end of the day. The ritual not only helps physically, but also with your head. “The routine quiets the noise. You can then take in new information,” Slater says.
23. Alternate planning the workouts. You can each take two days or be responsible for the whole week. When it’s not your turn, you have the freedom to just show up and train hard without having to figure out anything. You’ve also created a friendly competition about who can come up with better programs, Slater says.
24. Make Sundays electronic-free. No internet. No checking of e-mail. You’ve detached from outside demands and stimuli that usually can wait until Monday. With the silence, you’ll end up talking more with your partner. Your stress will go down and you now have more time for other pursuits, Bartholomew says.
25. Sign up for a race together. With a specific goal, training takes on more focus. There’s also the accountability factor—you need to show up or the penalty is receiving a hard time for the day through any and all social media. If you want to increase the competition, do a sprint triathlon so you can shoot for beating each other’s time, Barry says.
About The Author
Steve Calechman – Steve Calechman is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com. He has published articles for Men's Health, Natural Health, The Robb Report and Women's Health magazine.