Does this conversation sound familiar?
You: “I really want to lose weight.”
Your partner: “That’s great! I know you can do it! Do you want to split this piece of cake?”
As much as most of us hate to admit it, being in a relationship can get in the way of accomplishing our goals, particularly when those goals aren’t shared. And the truth is that it works both ways. We are just as often the hindrance to our partners, many times without even realizing it.
If a relationship is going to last, both sides need to take an interest in and learn to be supportive of each other’s goals. The healthiest relationships are those where each partner feels they are growing as an individual and as a couple. Here are five ways you can help your partner accomplish their goals and strengthen your relationship along the way.
Become Their Cheerleader
This may seem obvious, but research reported by Psychology Today proves that people who receive encouragement from their loved one are more likely to achieve their goals. Be reassuring and positive and let them know when you see them making strides. If your partner has a habit of getting sidetracked by potential obstacles, help them stay on track by focusing on the positive aspects of the goal and offer a practical counter view. Do your best not to become the obstacle.
Work Together on a Plan
Work with your partner to help them come up with a plan with specific, attainable tasks. If the goal is to finish a novel, instead of the general “write more,” try something achievable like “write 15 minutes in the morning and one hour every evening.” Once the plan is in place, find places where you can be helpful. If you want to help your partner write, create a space free of distractions during their writing time (distractions include kids, animals, TV, and you).
While it is important to allow your partner to have some autonomy in working toward their goals, it is also helpful to find ways that you can work on those goals together. Not only will that show that you are invested in your partner’s happiness, but will create accountability for your partner, which is a powerful motivator. If your partner wants to workout more, try going to the gym together. A gym like 24 Hour Fitness offers fitness classes. Pick a yoga or other fitness class each week that you would both enjoy.
Don’t Come to the Rescue
The tendency, when we see a loved one struggling, is to step in and fix things. But helping where it’s not wanted can make your partner feel like you don’t believe they can accomplish their goals. Give them space.
Remember to Work on Your Own Goals
A great way to help motivate your partner is to be motivated yourself. Not only is success catching, but if you are busy working toward your own goals, you’ll be less likely to become a distraction for your partner. Use the time while your partner is at their new cooking class to practice the Spanish you’ve been wanting to learn.