How Being in a Relationship Can Help you Meet Your Goals - Kelly Hoffman
1. Approach the goal as a team: In team sports, one player doesn't run all the plays, It would never yield results like winning. But when we join our lives with another person, sometimes people find it hard to switch from playing singles tennis to doubles. There is an entirely different strategy to it, though it is the same game. Same with life, approaching goals as a team requires an entirely different outlook. Make sure you realize this.
2. Asses each other's strength's and weaknesses: Say your goal is finishing graduate school, maybe your partner is really good at planning and organization. Sit down together and have a meeting about your assignments, how long each will take and and when you will set aside time for specific tasks. Not only does this utilize your partner's strengths but it also gives them an investment and they probably will be more undertstanding when you have to sacrifice date night for study time. Same thing with dieting or work related goals. Figure out where your partner has strengths and utilze them to help you achieve your goals. While you should always treat each other as partners and be respectful, there is nothing wrong with viewing their skill set as a potential employer would. Only remember, you are contracting them not enslaving them.
3. Listen to their advice. Really listen. If you hire a consultant it is a ridiculous waste of your time and theirs not to consider their advice. And since you are only asking your partner for help with things that they are better than you at, you should consider them an expert. Ask Questions if you are not on board. do not be confrontational, be inquisitive. Their style might not totally suit you, but you can adapt it and learn something. Be sensitive to the fact that they care about you and your opinion, so do not be dismissive especially if you don't think they are on track with what you need. discuss it more. Problem solving is GOOD for relationships, but only when there is no harmful confrontation. This is an excellent opportunity to practice these skills outside of an emergency or stressful situation.
.4. Have ongoing evaluations: Your partner should not be your task master, NEVER put in charge of "making" them do something. Your partner can help, cheer, hold you accountable but it is NEVER their fault when things go wrong for you, It is yours, always, no exceptions. If something goes wrong, talk about it, but accept your personal responsibility because ultimately, you were the one who did it.
5. Use consequences and rewards: I like using both sides of the motivation stick. The temptation or reward, to really look forward to and keep me thinking of the long term gain, and the consequence to keep me on track in moments of weakness or temptation. For example, I go to a gym for group crossfit training classes. The instructors are great, and I asked one of my coaches to hold me accountable for staying with a personal goal. I told him it wasn't his job to check in with me, I just wanted to know that there was someone I was going to tell if I ever failed to honor my commitment. I wanted to give up sugar, and every time I reached for a sweet treat I thought about how I did NOT want to tell my trainer I couldn't do it. Oh yeah, and I added a penalty of doing 200 burpees if I ate sugar. These two things together are all the deterrent I needed. So talk with your partner and see what kind of rewards and consequences motivate you, and see how you can structure something for accountability. Maybe you don't want to be accountable to your spouse, ( I wasn't to mine) but they can be involved in your decision making, they KNOW you, better than almost everyone except your mom. Also, sometimes I find that I don't mind taking a consequence myself, but I mind inflicting it on someone else. Maybe your partner's contribution is that they do the burpees (or whatever you come up with) with you. I know that is a great motivator for me. Consequences are behavior changes and are not supposed to be negative. We have an ongoing consquence for niceness in our home. everyone has to do it if they are not nice (myself included). I found however, that my sons are more on board if I do it with them, and its a small price to pay to have them motivated not to be mean to each other, so I do it. You need a "how can we do this together" attitude. We are a team and we can do anything together.
6. Celebrate good times: Of course having your partner as your helper opens up all kinds of fun possibilities for incentives, but the main thing is to celebrate together. Whether it is a high five or a night out on the town, if you agree to it, follow through on it, no matter what. Its important, and if you don't honor the reward commitments to yourself, you won't honor your commitments towards your goals.