For many of us, 2016 was a doozy, but we here at Brit + Co are ready to hit refresh in 2017! Follow our Hit Refresh series through January for new ideas, hacks and skills that will help you achieve (and maintain!) those New Year’s resolutions.

Ah, 2016: the year that iconic celebs like David Bowie, Alan Rickman and, most recently, Carrie Fisher, passed away. The year of a stressful, dramatic election and ugly fashion trends we won’t miss. But “that year” (as we’ll refer to it), also brought us some really heartwarming moments, like a historic World Series win by the Chicago Cubs and ah-dorable baby announcements. Still, 2016 left us a bit on edge. That stress definitely affects our relationships, so when 2017 throws the first curveball of the year at us, we’re preparing to take it on — not take it out on our S.O. — by making these seven good person/good girlfriend resolutions.

Enthusiastic brunette couple hugging on beach

1. Listen more. The old saying goes that we were given two ears and one mouth in order to listen more than we speak. While listening is still difficult (okay, it’s the hardest) to master, it’s the most effective skill you can have in relationships. Even if you resolve simply to interrupt less, your S.O. will thank you for it.

2. Exercise selfless love. The hardest form of affection is that which doesn’t directly benefit you. Doing the dishes after you two make dinner doesn’t necessarily make you happier, but these little acts of selflessness will go a long way in making your partner feel loved. Here’s the key to executing them well: Do them and expect absolutely nothing in return.

Affectionate lesbian couple relaxing on sofa

3. But put yourself first. Just because you act selflessly in your relationship doesn’t mean your partner should always come before you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Continue to take time for your goals, friends and the solo activities you love. It’s amazing how much being fulfilled outside of your relationship will strengthen the bond between you and your boo.

4. Start with the little things. Big, lofty resolutions are hard to accomplish, sometimes simply because of their vagueness. Instead of resolving to “be a better partner,” pledge to keep a shared space tidier or to spend less time on your phone while together.

5. But focus on the big picture. While little measurable goals are optimal for creating change, keeping your big ideals and hopes in mind when executing them will help keep your relationship heading in the direction you want it to. Perhaps you need to check in with your partner about where you want things to go, or are ready for a new life stage such as co-living or an engagement. Whatever stage you’re at, being open about your long-term goals will put the short-term ones in much greater perspective.

Sharing my life with my best friend!

6. Say you’re sorry and mean it. The ability to apologize ranks high on the list of relationship deal-breakers. One tangible way to up your game as an S.O. is to improve your ability to admit when you’re wrong. Your relationship will be much more enjoyable for you and your boo if you both promise to wholeheartedly apologize.

7. Forgive. Apologies are null if not for forgiveness. Just as you’d hope for your partner to accept your apology, exercise forgiveness when it’s their turn to say sorry. Don’t just add their mistakes to a growing list you bring up during every fight.

8. Love yourself too. There are a million ways to be a better partner. However, these are totally void if you don’t first love yourself. Plain and simple. If you can’t achieve the above resolutions all at once, don’t beat yourself up! Trying to be a better partner is a worthy goal to continue pursuing, but don’t make it so much of a priority that you forget to practice self-love.

What 2017 resolutions do you have for your relationship? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)