There are two types of support when you’re pursuing a challenging goal: Cheerleaders and your Team. Your partner can be a great Cheerleader, but does not belong on your Team.
Cheerleaders are the people in your life that, well… cheer you on. They praise you and congratulate you for your work and progress. They can offer positive peer pressure, too, especially if you live with that person and see them every day. Telling your roomie that you’re committing to something can help keep you accountable to a certain extent.
But, your Team is the people that are out on the field slogging it out with you. They know just what you’re going through because they’re in it too. These are your colleagues when you’re working on a project, other members in a support group for your area of interest, the other ladies in your spin class that know how grueling that last minute of the climb can be. Together your mission is to show up every day, get down to business, march forward, grind it out. The Team goal is to win.
Your partner should not be on your Team.
Even if you’re making the same change at the same time, I’m going to say that your partner should not be on your team.
They’re too close. And because they’re so close their influence is too great. It’s like having a shareholder with significant control. He or she will count for a huge portion of the pull of your Team if you allow it.
Add their 25% stake in your team to your day when you’re feeling less motivated to stay on track and you’re like enough to bend. Having a Team that holds you up on your lowest days is key to your success. Stack that deck in your favor, friend!
Here’s something else to think about. You two probably have a history of enabling each other in the past. Believe me when I say that I know, because I’ve been there.
It used to be fun and cute. My husband and I were always a team in making habit changes. Losing a couple lbs before bathing suit season? We’ll be accountability buddies! Cutting down on weekday drinks? I’m with you! In it together forever, baby!! And when someone wanted to go off plan, the other one went, too. It’s us guys against the world. Doesn’t matter if we win or lose – we’re in this thing together!
But now, it’s different. This thing you want to accomplish is so important that you’re willing to dig in and trudge on, even if your better half doesn’t. You don’t want to be tempted into a day off, but you don’t want to deal with a day where you have to tell your boo that you’re playing on without him.
You’d be telling him he’s off the team.
And that’s hard. So hard, in fact, that most people give up their goal rather than have that hard conversation.
Your mate can love you, praise you, be supportive of your goal. Maybe even take part in activities around your change, like not drinking, training for a 5K, or banishing Doritos from your house. But if she should decide to bend the rules and have that one drink, skip the run, buy some Cool Ranch on her grocery trip – or worse, bow out of the commitment to change completely – your Team needs to remain intact and strong.
You need a clean Team. Wipe the slate and get started without your history.
You have a game to win. You need to keep advancing on that goal.
When I was learning to break my alcohol habit, if my husband was on my Team while I was taking a 30-day break from drinking and, let’s say, he decided to sit down with a beer after yard work… I know exactly what story my own urge machine would tell: Your Team is on time out. We can’t play the game if we’re a man down, right? Come on, take a break with him. Don’t worry, you’ll be back on track tomorrow.
NO!! When the goal means too much to quit – when the promise to yourself means too much to break – it’s okay to say:
Darling, we can be each other’s Cheerleader, but I have my own Team.