Subscribe via RSS or e-mail      

How to Support Someone in Pursuing Their Goal

Strategies and goals


Have you ever listened as a friend talked excitedly about a new goal–a diet, an organization system, a new way of talking to their kids–and worried that they might not make it? Since it’s easy for motivation obstacles to derail even the best initial efforts, often someone working on a new goal will soon give up or lose their way.

But motivation is easier when there’s someone supporting you. This post talks about a few effective ways to provide that support.

Work Alongside Them
One of the most helpful things anyone can do to help another person make progress toward a goal is to work alongside them. You’re offering a variety of benefits when you go out and exercise with someone who’s starting an exercise program, or sit down and read or study along with someone who’s trying to learn a new skill or subject, for instance. Doing these things with the person you’re supporting provides more structure, heightens awareness of how much and how often they’re working on their goal, offers someone to talk to if things get difficult, creates expectations they can aim to fulfill, and shows sympathy and support.

Share Goals and Progress
If you’re working on a completely different kind of goal than the person you’re supporting–for instance, they’re trying to declutter their house and you’re trying to start up a part-time consulting business–you can get together regularly to talk about how you’ve each been doing–your successes and failures, insights and questions. In addition to being an excellent way to establish a feedback loop, these kinds of conversations provide a low-pressure way each of you can talk frankly about how you’re doing to someone who understands how much work it can be to change your life.

Ask Them About It–Often
Simply asking about someone’s progress and listening uncritically, not offering advice unless asked and encouraging them to build on any successes or good ideas, can be of enormous value. When someone asks me about a project I’m working on, it forces me to ask myself how I’m doing with it, reminds me of my own priorities, makes it clear that other people care about my goals (usually because they care about me), and helps encourage me to make progress so as to be able to have positive things to report the next time I’m asked.

Help Make it Easier
Particularly if someone has good morale but limited resources, it can be helpful to assist them by providing necessities. They might appreciate help getting space to work in; some uninterrupted time; healthy foods; access to exercise equipment; helpful resources from the library, bookstore, or Web; or even just items that make the effort more pleasant. If they work in a particular area, you could provide something that makes that area more efficient, comfortable, or appealing, like a better chair or some art you know they’ll like, which can help support their motivation by increasing the appeal of their day-to-day work on their goal.

Learn More About What They’re Doing
Especially if you already talk with the person you’re supporting about what they’re doing, it can help to study up on the subject so as to be able to have meaningful conversations, ask good questions, know what kinds of support they might need, and point them to good information. Depending on what their goal is, there are good materials available on the Web, in the library, from people who are already successful doing what they want to do, and in many cases on this site (like my eBook on Writing Motivation if you want to help support someone with their writing, or my posts on weight loss for people working on fitness).

Photo by Photo Gallery

1 Comment

No Comments

1 Trackback

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: