We all share this struggle, I’m sure.
It’s the beginning of a new year and we dearly want to make positive changes in our lives.
The desire to change and the willingness to see it through have to be very strong in our minds in order to make it through the 30-some days they say it takes to create a habitual behavior.
Sadly, some of us start to notice, and focus on, the overwhelming lacking in others while we’re still struggling on our own goals.
Example: How do you not nag your partner when they promised to do some things, but won’t follow through with any level of consistency? Like keeping up with their side projects, making requested phone calls, throwing things away in the kitchen as opposed to leaving them on the counter, taking out the trash when they know it’s piling up, straightening up common areas, putting some of their stuff up on eBay, walking the dogs like they say they want to, working on taking care of their health, to name only a few. (Deep breath)
How do we motivate ourselves and our significant others to do things we and they know we and they should do, but both find ourselves faltering on less than a month in?
How do we not find ourselves on our significant other’s back when we just want to encourage?
Many of us who have tried to encourage positive steps towards mentioned intentions leave our others reacting with either apathy or like a truculent teen towards a parent.
We can try to do the “positive modeling” routine.
There have been many times in the past where I’ve been a dynamo at getting my stuff done, hoping all the while that he’d feel inspired to do the same. Sadly, with some, it doesn’t work and it may lead to those angry feelings, resentful thoughts and the almost inevitable Mexican Standoff.
I’m sometimes at a loss.
I find myself doing some positive things but not following through with them consistently either within a few days, so who am I to talk?
Example: realizing I need to not take on anything new and focus on the projects I’ve already started. Most of us want to make this year the year we make those changes count. We all feel that way at the start of a new year. I really want to lose weight so I can start dancing again fully. I really want to learn German this year. I really want to do more at my current job so I can feel that I’m moving forward, and not stuck in neutral or, even worse, heading slowly downhill on reverse.
When the stressors hit, we find our resolves weakened.
I look for ways to eat the whole box of Klondike bars in order to self-soothe, because it’s quicker and instantly more gratifying than sticking to my eating plan. I pass by the gym in the mornings because I can’t get myself to bed early enough to wake up on time, and get there so I can get the workout out of the way and leave me energized for the day! I do anything I can to avoid studying my German. I look at basic things, like the ever growing mound of laundry and think we have too many clothes, so I don’t do the wash even when I think about it.
It’s the mammoth size of the task that scares us into complacent, comforting behaviors.
So this year, set interim goals.
Ones that make you feel accomplished along the way. Don’t space them so far apart that you are mentally and emotionally starving for the reward. Make the reward something meaningful and share your system with your significant other.
Perhaps, realizing that you’ll both get at least a sleeve of Ritz crackers along the journey in between the buffets of reaching bigger goals will be enough to sustain you on the road ahead.
So, instead of getting into a standoff with your significant other, grab a few baked tortilla chips, whip up some fresh salsa and guacamole and work together at coming to a peace accord.
Set out steps for reaching your smaller goals and really define things that will give you the extra push when you need it or feel like your faltering.
Make a plan.
Be prepared, and most importantly…be willing to split the Klondike bar.
Author: Anna “Moxie” Rogers
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren