New research from Northwestern University found that, when we rely on someone to help us reach our goals, we stop working as hard to reach them ourselves. But that doesn’t mean you need to ditch your boyfriend when you’re trying to lose weight. Just use your partner and friends strategically. Here’s how:
Let’s say your goal is to drop 10 pounds. Don’t rely on your girlfriend to cook you healthy meals. That sort of help dilutes your responsibility. You’ll think, “well, she’s making stir fry tonight, so I guess I don’t have to hit the gym.” Instead, use your girlfriend as a cheerleader. If a partner makes positive comments about your goals, but doesn’t offer to help, you’ll feel more pressure to get on the treadmill and actually pay attention to your food choices.
Maybe your goal is to learn the guitar. Don’t have your husband teach you chords every Monday. Without realizing it, you’ll procrastinate Tuesday through Sunday, waiting for his lesson.
Instead, ask your husband to watch the kids while you practice. You’ll put in more hours that way than if you expect a weekly lesson.
And if your goal is a shared one, like getting the house organized, don’t expect your wife to sort through your power tools, if you’re the one who lives in the garage. Instead, divide and conquer. Each person should do and be responsible for what they’re good at. That’s what work managers do to raise productivity.