The New Year is always time for self-reflection and resolutions. But here are some resolutions any of us can keep in mind to try, and it doesn't even matter if we're with one partner, have many partners, just want to keep things cool with friends, or are loving the single life. We usually talk about sex her at Kinkly and while many of these tips don't apply directly, a healthier, happier, more balanced life tends to be one with more room for intimacy as well. Happy New Year!

Communication

Anyone can work on communication, even though improving communication can be difficult as each of us may express emotions differently. One person may express "I love you" through doing the washing up. Another person may express "I care for you" by saying those words exactly. But acknowledging the importance someone has in your life, as well as learning how to communicate your own needs to others, is a simple way to make life better and easier.

Tips to Get Started

Start with communicating your own boundaries, your own discomfort, your own needs. It might take practice, but you know yourself best. Do not rely on only one person to do all of your emotional labor for you. No one person can possibly meet every emotional need for someone else; expecting someone to do that can get unhealthy.

To improve your communication to your partners and friends, find out what "I love you" or "I value you" looks like or sounds like to them. Once you find out, do that thing (if possible) to let them know how much they mean to you in a way they can understand.

Health

Your health is important - and not just your sexual health. In addition to getting checked for STIs regularly if you're sexually active and using the right form of contraception for you, consider checking up on hormone levels too. Take care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying hydrated, and maintain your mental health by being kind to yourself and getting therapy when you need it.

Tips to Get Started

It's difficult to be happy, healthy - and feel sexy - when you're tired all the time. Make that appointment for that physical, make a point to remind yourself to get some sleep, and try to reduce stress. Apps like Calm can help you find mindfulness and calm in busy moments, while apps like Brain.fm or Rainy Mood can make it easier for you to gently focus, relax, or go to sleep by using ambient sounds. Services like ZocDoc can help you find an available doctor near you.

Advocacy

The easier it is to talk about your boundaries, the easier it becomes to advocate for your needs and to end toxic elements in your life.

Tips to Get Started

Maybe limiting toxicity means limiting the news, or social media. Maybe it means discarding "friends" who only seem to like you when you're at the bar or club. Maybe it's not taking that job that pays you thousands less than what you are worth. To improve establishing boundaries and working through feelings, Psychology Today has some tips, and Bustle has some guidelines on behaviors that may be red flags indicating a toxic person.

Balance

Life isn't just sleep and work. Humans have basic needs (think Maslow's pyramid of needs) - all of us. We crave belonging to some group, some affiliation. And having interests other than work is healthy, so find ways to have more fun.

Tips to Get Started

Take an improv class or theater class. Try a new fitness routine. Check community college dance classes or your local art scene. If online classes are up your alley, check out Future Learn or the list of free classes available via Open Culture.

Rewards

All these changes may seem like a lot. And they are, if done all at once. But if you reward yourself and take small steps, you are much more likely to make the little changes that'll have a huge impact on your health and happiness. When you get it right, reward yourself. Find an occasion to buy that book or get a pedicure. Build in small rewards to help keep you moving forward.

Tips to Get Started

If you use a calendar or tool to track your progress, build in reward tiers - maybe a small reward every week, with greater rewards for bigger milestones every few months.

A Brand-New Year

These tips might sound generic, but you know your own life best. Keeping in mind these five domains, though, can help you tailor your own made-to-measure program to see the changes you want to see in the new year.

What would this look like in practice? Let's look at an example. We'll call her Alice. Alice wants to improve her social life so she doesn't just work and sleep, but also wants to ensure she stays on top of her health checkups. She uses a physical planner as well as a notes application on her phone to keep track of to-dos. She finds that her local library has weekly knitting sessions, with nearly all materials provided. The library is close by, and has other events like author talks or movie nights. She reminds herself to try dropping in on a knitting class, and even though she is waiting for her health insurance to kick in so she can investigate doctors in-network, Alice does make several notes that she needs to bring up about replacing her birth control implant this year. In the meantime, she asks for leads on community clinics, and also uses an application on her phone to help her have some idea of how much sleep she gets per night, so she has this information when she goes to get her physical. After the first doctor's appointment, Alice makes a point to "reward" herself by buying herself a frozen yogurt on the way home. Maybe she will have a greater reward later, when she feels confident she has a knitting project in hand, but for now she is doing her best to manage known issues, advocate for herself and live the best life she can in the new year.

Happy New Year!