We’re only a few weeks into the new year and if you’ve resolved to improve your relationships this year, you’ll want to read through this list of ideas for doing just that. Relationships can be difficult, but they can also be improved.

The mother daughter relationship between Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher was notoriously difficult and challenging. In fact, they went for years without speaking. Much of their difficult relationship has been chronicled in books and movies. Over time, they reconciled and became so close they lived next door to one another. It’s been speculated that Debbie Reynolds was so distraught over the death of her daughter that she died of a broken heart the next day. Relationships are complicated, but they can be improved.

Whether you’d like to improve your relationship with your spouse, significant other, parent, child, sibling or best friend, these steps can go a long way to make your relationship more satisfying and meaningful.

Resolve to Improve your Relationships this Year

Listen – We all want to be heard and if you’re not hold up your end of the relationship bargain then it’s time to do something different. Listening is the key to all communication so there is no better time than now to improve that skill. If you struggle to really listen then try active listening. Have your friend or partner talk about something and after each sentence repeat back to them what you heard. It doesn’t have to be word for word, just the general gist of what they were saying. Let the speaker correct any misinterpretations. With enough practice you’ve become a master at listening.

Set Aside Time – We all have friends, and family members with whom we’d like to spend more time and yet we never make that time. Relationships are active and if they aren’t tended to will eventually fade away. If you want to keep any of your relationships on the front burner, you must make time for them. Connecting on social media, by text or phone call is great if you live far apart, but the best way to nurture a strong relationship is to be present in it. Set aside time to get together with the other person, you’ll find the bonds of any relationship can be improved this way.

Apologize – Contrary to that movie – Love Story – love does indeed mean saying your sorry. If you screw up make amends as soon as possible. Don’t let pride or ego get in the way of apologizing either. It’s too important to settle up and move on than to stew in anger, guilt or resentment.

Say Thank You – Taking someone for granted is a sure fire way to make the relationship one sided. Gratitude does wonders for all aspects of life, saying thank you whenever anyone does anything nice for you should be automatic. If it isn’t, start practicing gratitude so you don’t miss these opportunities anymore.

Seek Professional Assistance – Sometimes a difficult or estranged relationship needs a little more help than what is offered here. A professional can help you reestablish the bonds that were once firm. If you’re interested in repairing a relationship that has been compromised consider seeking the support of a trained professional therapist.