If you and your sweetheart are like most people, you start the New Year determined to live better, only to have your strength dissolve at the first whiff of a doughnut.
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How to help your partner keep his resolutions:
The first step to helping your man stand strong is making sure your support is wanted and welcome; some people prefer to tackle their resolutions solo. Once you've got the all-clear, agree on a tactic that will keep him accountable without starting World War III. Even if he's easygoing, phrases like, "Are you sure you need that cigarette?" can evoke shades of mom. Not sexy.
YourTango Expert Dr. Adam Sheck says the best approach is simple: "ASK your partner how they would like to be supported. Why guess or rely on experts when you can simply communicate?"
If your fellow wants help but takes criticism personally, give his resolution a code name and treat it like a shared project. If his spare tire is the issue, call it "Operation Michelin". If he wants to stop downing so much Captain Morgan, dub it "The Anti-Piracy Project". Handling his ambition as a shared goal that you're working toward together will and remind you that change comes with both setbacks and successes. It may even help you joke about the struggle!
When he breaks his resolution, handle it in a supportive, loving way. YourTango Dating Expert Julie Spira suggests helping your partner in moments of weakness by offering a compromise. "If he reaches for a doughnut, suggest that he cut it in half or only eat a bite or two. Everyone needs a little leeway. Let him know that you realize that it's OK to cheat every once in a while, but he'll reach goals more quickly if he does it in moderation."
It's also important to affirm positive behavior. Spira says, "Try rewarding your partner for when he stays on track instead of confronting him if he does not. Come up with a reward that you will each give each other when the goals are reached. Everyone wants to be the winner!"
YourTango Online Dating Expert Laurie Davis agrees. "Setting little goals is always preferable to making overly general resolutions. The little milestones along the way toward a bigger goal make resolutions themselves more attainable. The more you can keep resolutions fun and light, the better." 12 New Years Resolutions Every Couple Should Make
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If your partner seems to need a nudge, don't be afraid to support his resolution without bringing it up directly. Davis explains: "If he's trying to lose weight, say 'I found a great new sushi place that serves brown rice. I think you'll really like it.' You want to be proactive about the lifestyle that surrounds your partner's goals."
If he's breaking his resolution more often than keeping it, choose a neutral time to ask him about it. For example, if he's a smoker, don't corner him as he's heading out for a cig break. Stay away from judgmental "you" statements like "You're not keeping your resolutions." State your observations and ask questions instead: "You don't seem as committed to quitting smoking as you were on January 1st. Is there anything I can do to help?"