Is there something that you do or some way that you function that could use some improvement? Are there personality characteristics you wish that you could (or would) change about yourself, yet when confronted with them, you make the same ole decisions? It has happened to me. Thankfully, I have a mate who is willing and able to help; all I have to do is ask.
For example, as I write this blog in the wee hours of the morning, I’m wishing yet again that I would get myself on a better sleep schedule. Every day, I think to myself, “It sure would be nice if I got to bed earlier tonight than usual.” I dream of an 11:00 PM bedtime – and the extra restfulness and energy that come with the extra sleep. But I find ways to distract myself in the evenings, and before I realize it, the clock says it’s 1:00 AM.
Clearly, despite wishing and hoping that I would change this about myself, I’m not making much progress. So, to address this issue, I can say to my mate, “Would you give me a gentle reminder at or near 11:00 to get my butt in the bed?” She’ll do her best to accommodate. Sometimes she does it; other times she forgets. But I can tell you from past experience that when I have had her support on similar issues, I have netted better results.
Teamwork makes implementing personal growth easier, and you can make the effort fun, playful and enjoyable together (just like having a work-out buddy). It is a beautiful thing when we create relationships/agreements with our partners that can help us make desirable changes – in other words, when we allow them to help us be the people we want to be.
Of course, a very important part of this equation is that I ask my mate for her help in these situations. If she decided for me that I needed more sleep and took it upon herself to tell me to go to bed at 11:00, I would not feel supported, nor would I appreciate her help. I would feel that she was treating me like one of our children. Few adults want to be given a bedtime. I also don’t want her to nag or get angry with me when I choose to stay up late anyway. I’m only asking her for a gentle reminder.
On the other hand, when you are the one asking for support, don’t make it the other person’s responsibility or pass the blame if you miss your mark/deadline, even if your partner says he/she will remind you and doesn’t. Changing your behavior is your responsibility. You are asking your partner for help, not to be parented.
So, if you’re struggling to meet some personal goal, consider asking your mate for back up. It’s as easy as saying, “Dear, if I am not noticeably moving towards my goal of eating more fruit each day, would you check in and remind me of my commitment to myself?” It will not only strengthen your ability to meet your individual goal, but it could also strengthen your ability to work together as a team.