While having a 24/7, on-demand, in-house cuddle buddy is arguably the greatest perk of being in a relationship, there are other responsibilities that come with the "spouse" job description. A big one? Supporting your partner's goals and being their number one cheerleader throughout the journey to whatever success they're seeking. Considering the fact that your partner returns the favor for you when you need a little extra TLC, being present for their New Year's resolutions (or any other goal they've recently set) is a healthy way to illustrate your commitment. Not sure how you can actually make a difference in their path? Here, experts share their insights.
Ask Them Questions About Their Goal
Resolutions are personal endeavors, and usually stem from an area where your partner might feel a bit vulnerable. When you're talking about what you hope to accomplish during your next lap around the sun, relationship expert and law of attraction coach Christy Whitman recommends exercising your curiosity bone. After all, it's important to understand your partner's motivations so you know how to best support him or her. "Two people can have vastly different motivations for setting the same goal. Resolving to exercise regularly, for example, could be motivated by a desire to fit into a new pair of jeans or by a commitment to be a fit and active parent for their children. The more you understand your partner's driving intent, the more support you'll be able to offer," she explains.
Encourage Your Partner Daily
Health and wellness coach Kevin Bailey says that while actions sometimes speak louder than words, positive reinforcement is a big contributor to maintain stamina and morale. The more you outwardly praise your partner's efforts, the more motivated they will be to continue resisting old habits from the previous year. "Tell them how proud you are of them and how much you believe in them. Let them know that they can definitely reach this goal; that if anyone can do it, they can," he recommends. "This will build their confidence to a point that they will believe it, and the magic happens only when they truly believe. With so much doubt, fear, and negativity we are exposed to on a daily basis, we need as much encouragement and positive words to focus on."
Be Their Best Accountability Partner
If you've ever made a pact to learn a new skill or to save a certain amount of money, you might have enlisted the help of a trusted best friend to be your voice of reason when you want to throw in the towel. Now it's your turn to help your partner stay on track. The key to tough love? Walking the fine line between loving adjectives and stern verbs. "During this journey for your spouse to achieve their resolution, they will need someone to hold them accountable in a firm, but loving way, in order to help them reach their goal," Bailey says. "The brain wants to think, feel, and behave in ways that they are accustomed. When we try to start something new or different, it's difficult and we have to retrain our brain to do it."
Celebrate Milestones, No Matter How Small
No matter how small—or significant—a milestone is, Bailey encourages spouses to celebrate every achievement along the way. This reinforces your undying love and support. "Send your wife some beautiful roses, or purchase your husband a nice golf shirt, anything that lets them know that you are proud of their accomplishment. You can even do something as simple as cleaning the kitchen at night so that she can go to bed earlier, since you know she's been waking up early to hit a workout goal," he suggests.
Remind Them You're There If They Fail
Even if they manage to cut out sugar for a whole 29 days before they give in to that donut at the bakery, it's still necessary to be hopeful and positive for your partner. If he or she begins to feel like they can't admit defeat or express their internal or physical struggles with you, then you won't be able to connect with them along the road to their resolution.