By Bev Bachel
Lost your goalsetting mojo now that the coronavirus has you stuck at home? Get it back with the help of a goal buddy.
A goal buddy is a person who cares about you and your goals and offers you the tools and support you need to succeed. A goal buddy benefits from your support, too.
A Joint Effort
Take Bobby and Mary Ann Gast, for instance. Married and in their mid-60s, they are goal buddies in recovering from surgery; Mary Ann had her left knee replaced in January, and Bobby his right knee in April.
In addition to caring for one another post-surgery, the two have buddied up to set physical activity goals. “The other day we went to a local state park and walked a nature trail that was both rocky and hilly,” says Mary Ann. “It challenged our knees, but we cheered each other along the way and that really helped.”
The two also encourage one another to eat healthier. “We’ve been following the keto diet for three years now,” says Mary Ann. “By holding ourselves and one another accountable, we’ve both lost weight and lowered our blood pressure and cholesterol levels, goals we wanted to achieve before Bobby retires in the next year or two.”
Found in Translation
While Mary Ann and Bobby share the same house, goal buddies Fred and Lourdes don’t even share the same continent. What they do share, however, is a goal of becoming more proficient in another language.
Fred, who grew up speaking Italian and now lives in San Antonio, wants to improve his written Spanish, while Lourdes, whose native language is Spanish, wants to improve her ability to read and write Italian.
They buddied up several years back via ConversationExchange.com, an online platform that pairs native speakers of one language with native speakers of another.
“It’s been great,” says Fred. “We’re not only helping one another achieve our language-related goals, we’ve become friends.”
Ready to Buddy Up?
Here are seven tips to help you find a goal buddy and ensure the success of your buddy-ship:
Tip #1: Zero in on your goal. Choose something that is both specific and measurable. A goal such as “I want to volunteer four hours a month” is a better goal than “I want to make a difference” because it makes it clear exactly what you plan to do. Also establish a deadline, a specific date by which you’ll be able to say, “I did it!”
Tip #2: Seek a like-minded buddy. Your goal buddy should be someone you trust and respect, a goal-getter who is serious about his or her own goals and willing to help you be serious about yours. Ideally, you should have enough in common so that you can relate to what’s going on in one another’s lives, yet be different enough that you don’t feel in direct competition.
Tip #3: Be open with your goals. Be willing to share your specific goals with your goal buddy: when you’d like to retire, if you plan to launch an encore career, where you’d like to live, how much time you want to spend with the grandkids, new hobbies you’d like to try, even your concerns about money. Also talk openly and honestly about how you’d like to see your life unfold, even if what you envision seems pie-in-the-sky today.
Tip #4: Agree on the rules. Will you check in once a week or once a month? Via Zoom, phone or email? Will you focus on career goals, family goals or both? What happens if one person needs a time out?
Tip #5: Track your progress. Whether you give yourself a gold star every time you crawl into bed without your phone or keep a running list of all the people you conduct informational interviews with, making your progress visible will keep your goals top of mind.
Tip #6: Ask for help. Talk to your goal buddy about your progress, what’s going well and what’s holding you back. Also ask for—and offer—help.
Tip #7: Celebrate success. Have you or your goal buddy reached an important milestone? Congratulations! Be sure to celebrate your success in whatever way is meaningful to you.
Bev Bachel is a freelance writer and editor, and the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It. She’s tapped into the power of her goal buddies to learn Spanish, pay off debt and run a marathon.
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