Naturally there’s no time quite like the beginning of a brand new year to get your life started in an exciting new direction. However, there’s more to New Year’s resolutions than vowing to lose weight, hit the gym more often, or be more organized. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to recharge your relationship with a fresh new start as well.

Maybe you and your partner have been going through stressful times lately. Maybe your sex life could use a little spicing up. Or maybe everything’s absolutely fabulous at the moment and you just want to make sure it stays that way. Whatever the case may be, the following tips can help any couple make sure they’re focusing on the right things.

  1. Compliment more than you criticize

When you first get together with someone, complimenting them enough probably isn’t much of a problem. You always seem to be noticing how sexy they look in the clothes they wear, how smart they are, or how they’re always making you laugh. Once you’re together a while though, the compliments don’t come as freely or as often, especially once you also become more comfortable criticizing one other.

This year, be more mindful of the way you talk to your partner. To be more specific, try to compliment them significantly more often than you criticize them. According to science, the ideal ratio of compliments to criticisms is 6:1, so shoot for delivering a minimum of six compliments to every criticism. You’ll love what it does for your dynamic.

  1. Conquer a mutual bad habit as a couple

If you’re like most people, the new year already has you in the spirit to turn over a new leaf in one area of your life or another. Couples that have been together awhile often share a lot of the same vices and bad habits. Now is the perfect time to sit down together and pick one to overcome as a couple in 2018.

Your habit of choice can be anything you want it to be. Quit smoking together. Cut back on alcohol or junk food. Start a new exercise routine as a couple or decide that this is the year you finally settle on a budget and stick to it. Not only will you stand a better chance of succeeding if you tackle things as a team, but the entire process will bring you closer together as well.

  1. Have sex more often

It’s already been scientifically proven that sex brings a given couple closer together. It’s also something all of us crave and would probably like to be doing more often. As you no doubt already know though, life tends to get in the way. By the time you spend all day every day working or chasing children around, feeling sexy can be challenging at best.

Make it a point to do whatever it takes to have sex more often this year. If you have to, you might even want to try scheduling it the same as you would any other top priority. Making more room in your lives and your budget for romantic getaways that are all about reconnecting as a couple hardly hurts either.

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  1. Try something new in the bedroom

Speaking of sex, this year might be a good year to finally make good on your promises to spice things up and try something new in the bedroom. Try planning a day to sit down with your partner for a “no judgment” talk about what you might each be interested in trying. Take turns exchanging fantasies and come up with a list of ideas you both like the sounds of.

Don’t underestimate the wow factor the right toys can bring to the table either. If you’re new to toy play, start small with something like a cock ring or a small waterproof bullet vibe. Such options are economical, versatile, and approachable even to those that aren’t sure how to integrate toys into the mix yet. If you both enjoy the experience, consider shopping together for additional options to try. Start an entire toy chest that you continue to add to if you like!

  1. Serve your community together

If you and your partner make it a point to volunteer or help out in your community around the holidays, you should definitely be commended. However, there’s no reason why you can’t keep that warm, fuzzy feeling going all year round. After all, lots of people feel generous around the holidays, but communities need help from volunteers that care all year round.

Get together with your partner and choose an activity (or several) that you like the sounds of. Then choose one day a month (or more, if you prefer) to volunteer your services. If you like, you can use 2018 to explore a variety of volunteer opportunities available in your area. Anything goes from serving at a soup kitchen, to picking up trash on the beach, to planting trees in the springtime. Not only will you both be doing something amazing for the community you love, but you’ll become closer as a couple as well.

  1. Make date nights a priority

One of the best ways to instantly make any relationship better is to make regular date nights a priority. Not only do date nights help the two of you stay connected, but they ensure you’re doing enough things together that are all about having fun as a couple. (Sorry, weekend outings with the kids in tow totally don’t count. Neither do those bimonthly dinners at your in-laws’ house.)

Choose one day per week or month that works for both of you. Then choose an activity you both enjoy. It can be absolutely anything from going out dancing, doing dinner and a movie, or spending the entire night enjoying beers and snacks in front of Netflix. The only requirement is that it be just the two of you. No kids, no family, and no friends allowed.

  1. Embrace new ways of having fun separately as well

Yes, it’s important to make sure you do enough things together as a couple, but it’s important to be healthy and happy as individuals as well. Make sure 2018 finds the two of you focusing on being content as separate people as well.

Take a moment to sit down with yourself sometime soon and decide on thing you’ll be doing in the year to come that’s all about you. It can be anything from finally signing up for that yoga class you’ve been wanting to take, to learning a new language, to taking on a reading challenge. Have your partner do the same so that you each have something meaningful to focus on when it’s “me” time. Not only will you be more fulfilled as people, but you’ll be stronger as a couple as well.

  1. Flirt with your partner more often

Here’s another tip for getting closer to your partner this year. Flirt with them and not just when you’re in the mood to get frisky either. Make flirting a regular part of how you interact with one another on a daily basis. If you’ve lost that old familiar spark over the years, it’s a wonderful way to get it back. If it’s still alive and well, flirting on the regular is a great way to keep it alive.

Make it a point to kiss and caress your partner lovingly when they head out to work. Text them or email them every so often to let them know they’re missed and thought about. If you’re in a sexy mood (or are hoping to get something started later on that night), don’t be afraid to make your messages a little racy. A flirty or spicy selfie here and there doesn’t exactly hurt either. Be creative!

  1. Check in with each other more often

Last but definitely not least, every couple should consider whether or not the communication in their relationship is up to par. It’s hardly uncommon for one person to think everything’s going well when maybe the other person doesn’t and isn’t sure how to bring it up. Checking in with your partner on a regular basis is a great way to make sure nothing important is ever going unsaid.

Weekly or monthly check-ins aren’t just a great way to make sure your relationship is healthy and that your partner is in a good place with where things are at. It can also be an excellent opportunity to praise one another and acknowledge all the little things partners do for one another on a regular basis. It’s a great time to ask each other for anything you might need as well.

Of course, these are just a few of the many ways you and your beloved can focus on making 2018 an excellent year for love, sex, and connection. Which suggestions will you be adding to your own list of resolutions? What are your secrets for making sure mutual attraction, good will, and respect are alive and well in your relationship?