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Brenda Della Casa

Internationally published author of Cinderella Was a Liar...

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Sue Blaney

Communications expert; empowers parents of teenagers

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Gay Hendricks

Founder of The Hendricks Institute

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Top 5 Things to Do

Whether it’s finessing the boss, rekindling your romantic relationship or reaching out to a family member, improving relationships requires perseverance. The tips below are the most important things to keep in mind as you begin the first 30 days of improving any relationship.

1. Make a commitment.

Many people go through life unhappy with their relationships and have resigned themselves to the status quo. Make the commitment to improve your relationship. Realize that this relationship is important to you and you want it to be at its best. Decide that you want and deserve a better relationship.

2. Assess the relationship.

Name the good things in this relationship and take some time to reflect on the positive. This will help you put the relationship in perspective. Now ask yourself, “What’s not working in this relationship? Why do I want it to change?” Only by identifying these problems can you begin to work for change.

3. Don’t play the blame game.

Take ownership of your role in this floundering relationship. This will prevent you from vilify the other person—or, conversely, accepting sole responsibility for the relationship’s failure or success.

4. Change only yourself.

We can only control our own attitudes and communication techniques. It’s unrealistic to expect an instantaneous change from your boss, partner or family member. Fortunately, once we begin to change, the other person may take notice and change, as well.

5. Celebrate the improvements.

Sometimes changes, especially during the first 30 days, are small and subtle. But they should be celebrated! If your spouse went a day without yelling, celebrate that. If you took time to show appreciation for your boss, give yourself a pat on the back (even if he or she didn’t notice). Take time to recognize changes in yourself and the relationship. This will keep you motivated to change well beyond 30 days.

Posted: 10/3/07