6 steps to create change in yourself—with your partner’s support

Creating change to solve these issues can be tough for anyone, but having a supportive and loving partner is key.

6 steps to create change in yourself—with your partner’s support

There comes a point in all of our lives when we’re ready to make a change.

Maybe we want to lose weight. Maybe we think we’re drinking too much. Maybe we’re spending way too much on eating out. Maybe we’re hiding a serious addiction and gambling thousands of dollars away, watching as our children’s college fund goes down the drain. Or maybe we’re missing dinner with our family every night because we’re staying at work later and later.

Whatever it might be, we’ll eventually recognize that we’re living out of alignment, and that we’re either ready for a change…or in desperate need of it.


But change is hard, right? And shifting a routine can feel nearly impossible at times – even when we’re fully committed to it.

So what do we do? How do we help ourselves? And how do we ask our partner to support us along the way?

Here are SIX tips to get you started:

1. Start the conversation.

Truth is, if we’re wanting to make a change (large or small), our partner has probably already noticed that it’s an “issue” for us too. Whether they’ve voiced it or kept it quiet, it’s likely that it’s been on their radar at some point.

So, a great place to start is by having a conversation that sheds light on “the issue”. Let your partner know that it’s something you want to change. No need to go into details just yet…just get the ball rolling.

“You may have noticed this already, but I’m not feeling great about __________. I want to make a change by doing ___________ instead, and I want your help.”

2. Schedule a time to talk more in depth.

We all want and need kind and compassionate support. We all know that creating change can be hard, but having support and a partner who lovingly challenges us and calls attention to it can really help.

Schedule a time to talk. When we’re prepared to speak and listen, the process has a better chance. Set an appointment. Make sure the time works for both of you. Then think about how you’ll present the change you want to make to your partner.

For example, “I’ve been thinking a lot about my growth recently, and I notice these things are getting in the way (list small or large issues that you want to change.) I want to tell you more about it. When is a good time for us to sit down and talk about it? Can we take an hour over the weekend at some point?”

3. Listen to understand, not to respond.

Oh it’s so easy for our partners to want to fix everything right then and there. “Tell me the problem and I’ll fix it!” “This is what you should do…it’s easy!” (Sound familiar?!) Even though they generally mean well, what’s often most effective is actually just listening to understand.

We all have a tendency to already be thinking about what it is we’ll say in response to a person before they’re even done speaking. Our minds are going a mile a minute, and unfortunately, we often miss a whole lot of what the person is sharing with us when we do that.

So...we all need to slow d o w n. Let your partner know that what you need is for them to just listen for right now, and that you’ll want help putting a plan together later.

Plus, we’re more willing to listen to advice from the people we believe understand us.

4. Come up with a plan together.

Now it’s time! Both of you should take some time to think about how you can make those changes? Are there simple shifts that can be made that come to mind? What are the things each of you thinks might get in the way? What can both of you do to make the change easier?

Come together and share your plan with your partner. Invite their help, thoughts, and suggestions.

“What do you think about this?” “Would you do anything differently?” “Am I missing anything?” “Where do you think I”ll struggle most?”

Write out a new plan together. Put pen to paper. Be as specific as you possibly can, and prepare that first week together. Doing this can hold us accountable. Take it week by week. Doing more than that can sometimes overwhelm us in the beginning.

5. Ask for support.

Think about how you want support from your partner, and be clear about those expectations. Remember, they’re not mind readers no matter how much you wish for that.

Be direct. Need a reminder text every day — ask them for it. Want your partner to ‘call you out’ when you slip up — invite them to do it gently by using compassionate and kind language. Need a check in at the end of the day to share how closely you were able to follow the plan — communicate that it’s what’s going to help you achieve your goals.

Be clear and direct. It will help your partner know exactly how to support you in the way that you need them to. Your needs are allowed to change, and something that you think you might want may not work at all. Nothing is set in stone. Flexibility is key!

6. Check in + give feedback.

Once that plan is in place and you’re working hard at it, check in with each other to see how the support and change is going. This is a beautiful space for transparency. This is where we have the opportunity to say “this is what I need more of” or, “this isn’t working for me…let’s try this instead.”

Some of this is trial and error. The two of you are learning how to best support each other, and you’re allowed to get things wrong. As long as you’re willing to give and receive feedback from one another — you should be in good shape.

Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help either. Sometimes the change we need to make takes more than our desire and the support from our partner. If you’re struggling with it, growing your support community should be seen as a positive. Challenge the part of you that feels embarrassed or ashamed. There are plenty of people who want to help and are ready or your call.

*An added tip!

Research from Dr. John Gottman shows that we need about 5:1 positive to negative exchanges with each other to have a healthy relationship. It’s normal (and healthy!) to have some negative interactions in the relationship, but positivity is what truly nourishes your love. Be mindful of this when delivering feedback, and share this with your partner so they can be aware too!

For example, “I know you’re working so hard at this, and I notice all of your effort, but I think you missed an opportunity to be better, sweetie. I’m so proud of you, though. I know how hard this is.”

You see how positive this exchange is even though they’re still calling their partner to be better?

Change is a critical time to be flooded with positivity. It helps us feel motivated and can push us forward. Be gentle with your own inner dialogue also. It’s not just about what others are saying to you, it has a lot to do with what you’re saying to you too.

Join Motherly

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

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With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

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Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


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Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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