The New Year’s Resolution Spouses Should Still Make

new years res blog editNo excuses on this one. It’s not too late for you and your spouse to make a New Year’s Resolution. If your annual New Year’s Resolution is to not make one, make an exception this year. If you think you have already made enough/too many resolutions, I promise you there is room for this one, too – and it just may be the only one you actually keep!

It is an amazingly simple concept that has been chatted about over the past couple of years. You may have heard it referred to as “The Jar.” But it could just as correctly be called The Can, The Box,  or The Cool Pottery Bowl. My husband, Steve, and I gave it a try in 2015, and enjoyed the result so much it will now be an annual tradition!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Grab the container of your choice and set it in a place where you will both see it often.
  2. When something of note occurs – your spouse gets a raise, you accomplish a new goal, a dear friend shows up for a surprise visit – jot it down on a slip of paper with the date and drop it into the container.
  3. Celebrate at year end by grabbing your favorite festive beverage, and take turns pulling notes out of the container to read to each other. In other words, remind yourselves of the highlights of the past year and the meaningful moments you might have otherwise forgotten!

The New Year's Resolution Spouses Should Still MakeAs we sat down to read on New Year’s Eve, I knew I’d find notes summarizing the wonderful visit we had with my folks in Florida, the articles I’d published, the award my husband received, the visitors we’d enjoyed, as well as a few challenges we’d encountered. But I’d forgotten so much! Like the night we had friends over for cards and one silly joke had the four of us doubled over with laughter, eyes streaming (which, of course, had Steve and I laughing all over again!) And the special day we had spent with Steve’s mother – one where signs of her dementia were minimal. And the movie that sparked a conversation between us that we would not have otherwise had.

I have to admit that Steve wasn’t as enthusiastic about the project as I was back in January of last year. But, he loves me – so he humors me on such things. However, after the enjoyable note-reading session that had us chuckling, quietly remembering, chatting about progress made and plans to come, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of those notes with his handwriting on them as we celebrate our next New Year’s Eve!

While it would be pretty hard to screw up “The Jar” resolution, here’s a few tips that we found made it work:

  • Keep the container in a place where it’s easy to get to and you both see it often. Out-of-sight really is out-of-mind in this case.
  • While any container will work, of course, I liked using the clear jar because existing notes served as reminders to write others and  I could see the memories adding up.
  • Avoid paper and pen hunts by keeping a pen and a mini notepad right in the container.

The New Year's Resolution Spouses Should Still MakeAn unexpected benefit of the project was the mindfulness we developed about looking out for special moments in our daily lives. As the year moved on, we actually referred to having “a jar moment,” said “there’s one for the jar,” and had friends ask us if an outing we enjoyed together was “going to make the jar.” While it took only seconds at a time to do throughout the months, we ended our year with a lasting gratitude as we unfolded and read reminders of a year filled with blessings.

What other New Year Resolution could you make that cost no money, takes almost no time, and has such an uplifting result??

 Here’s wishing you and your spouse a year filled with wonderful moments that “make the jar!”

Shel Harrington

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