As soon as you enter a relationship, you no longer have just yourself to think about. You now have to keep in consideration the needs of your partner. In order for your relationship to be successful, you must know how to meet those needs in a way to best serve your partner. That goes along with know how to best serve the goals and aspirations of your partner as well. Since being in a relationship means that you are a cohesive unit, it is not only in your partner’s best interest, but yours as well to support them in whatever journey they embark on. Think of their success as your success. Their happiness as your happiness.
Usually when an individual thinks of their goals, they focus on how they can achieve an optimal outcome by themselves. This is important, of course, since they are the ones doing the work, but receiving support and help from their partner is just as important. Our partners can make or break our ability to achieve our goals, whether it is a diet, fitness goals, returning to school, discovering our spiritual side or anything else they wish to achieve. Research has shown that when we receive the proper support from our partner, we are more likely to reach our goals.
Each person has their own vision on how they expect their life to turn out. Now this may change over time as we reach different stages of our life, but we all have some sort of expectation. It could be that we want the stereotypical “American Dream” consisting of a white picket fence, house in the suburbs, two kids and a dog. Or it could be that we want to make partner at our place of employment. While focusing and growing the relationship is wonderful and necessary, the individuals that make up the relationship, and their aspirations, cannot be forgotten.
When we are struggling in life, we often internalize the struggle and try to power through rather than reaching out for support and help. Often this happens in a very subconscious manner and it shuts us off from our partner when we need them most. However, remember that you are a team. Use that to your advantage. Giving each other your support can allow your goals to suddenly seem more attainable. While you should make sure that your partner’s goals do not necessarily become your goals at the expense of your own personal goals, you can still help them.
Supporting your partner can be very easy and exists mainly in the details. Most often people just want understanding of their situation from their loved one. If you take the time to understand the goal, the support should come easier. While your partner’s goal may seem silly to you, to them, it is very real and very important. Keep reading for my 5 tips on how to best support your partner in reaching their individual goals.
5 Ways you can help your partner reach their goals
- Encouragement – This may seem pretty self explanatory, but like I stated earlier, research shows that having active encouragement from our partners makes us more likely to achieve our goals. A simple “how’s it going?” every couple days can go along way to show that you are interested in their journey. Negativity has no place in our relationship, in our lives in general really. You know that old proverb “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” That holds true. Don’t lie to your partner but if you don’t have something productive or positive to say about their progress, then keep it to yourself.
- Help them focus on the destination – There will be days when your partner doesn’t feel like they can put in any more effort or time and feel like they need to give up. Gently remind them of their goal and why they chose it. Reassure them that one bad day does not mean they can’t get to where they want to go. Maybe, help your partner put together a “vision board” which will serve as a physical source of inspiration and motivation.
- Listen – There will be bad days, really bad days that will make your partner question their path. Sometimes all your partner wants is empathy and to vent a little. They don’t need you to try and fix everything for them. Listen to them, ask questions, let them know that their feelings are valid. Often times, just doing those things will help them feel better. Once they feel heard and gotten, you can ask if they want any advice around how to get back on track with their goal.
- Don’t nag – Ask your partner how they want your help. If they want you to check to see if they’ve worked out, kept under their calories, or wrote that paper – great! If they don’t respond well to that but enjoy when you want to go on a walk together or do your own work in the same room, do that. Interfering too much or in a way that seems pushy or shaming can make your partner resist the task more, even subconsciously. Know that sometimes the best thing that you can do for the person you love is to give them some breathing room and time.
- Don’t undermine – Often times, achieving a goal will change how the household functions. If someone is trying to be healthier, that may mean that they will not want to have pizza every Friday. Sticking with that tradition presents your partner with unnecessary temptation and you could run the risk of an argument starting over the perceived lack of support. If a goal requires changes that affect you or others around you, sit down and work out a compromise. Maybe you can do Pizza Fridays as a lunch meal so your partner isn’t tempted, or maybe make pizzas at home so they’re healthier. There are always options.
Remember that ultimately, your partner’s success is you success. When you don’t support your partner in their goals and they are unable to achieve those goals, they will be unable to find satisfaction in their lives. Dissatisfaction will breed discontentment. If your partner isn’t happy it becomes challenging for them to be the type of person that you need. By supporting your partner, you are strengthening the bonds that hold you together.
Contact Solid Foundations Therapy today to schedule your appointment with one of our therapists so that you can learn how to better support your partner.