54: Getting Partner Buy In – When Trying To Make a Change.

Written by Jonathan

For those of you that don’t know Tiffany is my wife and I use our relationship as some of the examples in this episode. So, here’s a real world problem that I had to solve with Tiffany.  Tiffany really likes chips and chocolate. She frequently buys these types of treats, so they are readily available in our house all the time.  Tiffany can exhibit a lot of control, she can eat a little bowl of chips or a tiny piece of chocolate and that is enough to satisfy her cravings, I however need to all of it and am unable to control myself the same way she does.  This is a problem, so I asked her not to buy these things because I can’t control myself, so she said okay, but then continued to buy them, because she wanted them and it’s not her fault I can’t control my eating. So we had to make a compromise and that compromise was, in the middle of the day when I still have lots of willpower if I open the pantry and see the junk food, I throw it up to the top shelf out of sight and then forget it’s there.  This was a big win at first because she thought I was eating it because it was disappearing, so she couldn’t eat it as often, now it’s only a medium win because she found out where it was hiding which is an awkward place for her to reach, so she is not as likely to get it, directly after dinner.  Which means I can escape to my office to work so I don’t see her eating it, if she chooses to do so. 

My point for this story is this, unless you and your partner together decide to make a change or live a certain way, you probably won’t get buy-in from your partner, so you need to find work arounds if you want to stay with that person. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned you can’t change someone that doesn’t want to change, and most people don’t want to, but here’s my best guess for how you can make it work.

Start by making changes that don’t involve your partner, so pick something you have full control over, like what you eat for breakfast everyday or working out at lunch, this will help you get into the swing of change without any interference from your partner.

Alright, If you’re making a change that involves them, ask them for their input and give them every opportunity to contribute to the solution, if they feel like they are a part of it you have a higher chance of making it work, especially if they’re generally a supportive.  Let’s say you want to cut back on sugar but your partner does the groceries most of the time, give them some substitutes they could get instead, like cherries instead of chocolate.      

The Third thing you need to consider is, actions speak louder than words, so if you say you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, you’re partner will see that you don’t care enough about that thing you’re trying to change to be committed to it. As an example for a few months I told Tiffany I wanted to start going to bed earlier between 8 and 9 because I get up between 4 and 5 most mornings and she made an effort to help me do this because she still wanted to stay up until 10, however I very rarely get to bed before 10 because I usually work until 9:30 or later so she stopped taking the change seriously because I’m obviously not committed enough to making that change happen.

Getting partner buy-in is really hard at best and impossible at worst, unless you can decide on the changes and come up with mutually beneficial solutions together.  Otherwise focus on the things that you have a lot more control over first and spin your changes from there, if you’re taking positive action your partner will start to notice. 

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