As 2013 comes to a close, many of us are taking stock of the important things in our lives. Am I doing well at work? Am I healthy? Do I have enough money and am I saving as much as I can? Did I keep any of my New Year’s resolutions from last year?
I’d like to suggest that all mental reviews of 2013 also consider your relationships. There’s good scientific evidence that having meaningful and fulfilling high quality relationships is among the best predictors of happiness. I am not talking about simply having a great boyfriend or wife, I am talking about the whole enchilada of your relationship experiences—with your parents, your friends, your kids and your lovers.
All these relationships count toward your happiness. I’ve said this before in my columns, but it’s worth repeating: One of the best things you can do for your health and happiness is cultivate great relationships.
With this fact in mind and as the year comes to an end, it makes perfect sense to see if there are ways to improve your relationships for 2014. Great idea, but how should you go about this type of review? And, more importantly, what should you do if you need to make some changes?
Green Means Go
You can think of the review I am describing as an effort to “take the temperature” of your relationships—that is, do an assessment to get a read of what’s going well and what could be, or needs to be, changed. At the risk of mixing my metaphors, you can do this “temperature taking” by thinking about the three colors of a traffic stoplight.
Here’s the system:
1. Think about the relationships listed below:
2. For each person in a given type of relationship, ask yourself how you feel—take your emotional temperature for that specific relationship. Ask yourself:
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