Setting Up For Success

What is love?  Love is patient, love is kind and all that.  I’m realising more and more that Love sets up for success.

Over the past eighteen months my marriage has gone through a lot of ups and downs and change. One thing I needed to do to help things along was get my husband to engage more with our children.  And another was to take time out for myself. Luckily the two went hand in hand. So Wednesday and Friday mornings became my gym morning, and the morning my husband got the children up, dressed them, gave them breakfast etc so that when I got back nice and sweaty from the gym or a run, all I had to do (on a good day) was give them cuddles and run them to kindy.  Success all round.

This was our ‘life coach”s idea. After we’d started the routine I confessed to her that I had been getting the childrens’ clothes for the next day out the night before and leaving them ready.  She smiled ; “That’s because you care,” she said,” and you want him to succeed. Setting him up for success is exactly what you need to do right now.”  Setting my husband up for success worked for both of us.  So it was good for our marriage. And that was the general idea!

If I’m overtired and really need some extra sleep, the husband, once in a while, takes the children away to another part of the house so that I can sleep. That’s an easy way of setting my need for a nap up for success.  I might decide to read a book instead – that’s up to me. But he’s done what he can to give me what I need to succeed in getting some rest.

If he needs to concentrate on an important business document, I keep the kids away from him and try not to disturb him.  Maybe he’ll spend his time playing computer games or distracted by the internet. Up to him. But I’ve done my part. And that’s all I can do.

Same deal with friends. My opposite neighbour was going cold turkey from coffee and suffering horribly.  Guess what? I didn’t suggest we go out to the café for a while! If it was me, the smell of coffee would have been too much and I would have caved. I did suggest a couple of headache pills though. I’ve gone cold turkey from coffee myself before and seriously I’ve never had such horrible headaches.  It’s either cave on the caffeine or take a pill… So to me, taking the headache pill is the best way to get through cold turkey and succeed in giving up coffee.

Let’s not be taking friends who are trying to lose weight to the burger place, or out for greasy pizza. If they go there in their own time – so be it, but we’ve done our bit by guiding them to that fab new sushi place.  You never know, they might just choose to go there again.

We do it for children – set them up to succeed.  When my daughters were one, I didn’t give them a shape sorter with fifteen different shapes to figure out, I gave them one with three holes and three of each shape to put in. Once they’d mastered that, we moved on.  We give kids shoes with velcro, clothes without fasteners, then large buttons that their small fingers can manage.  We don’t want them to feel it’s all too hard and just give up – we want them to feel that it’s all possible, that they’re capable and want to do more.

Adults aren’t so different to children. We want to feel it’s possible. I do, anyway. And I don’t think I’m odd!  And sometimes it takes a little care and a little love to help us feel that we actually can do it.

When you give up smoking they remind you not to say “I’m giving up smoking,” but to decide not to smoke for, say, the next hour. And once you’ve done that, set another goal. Giving up drinking – same thing.  Bite sized chunks – making you feel capable; making it feel possible. And where love comes in is where your friends don’t offer you cigarettes or take you out to the pub! And when you say – “Oh stuff it, I’m off to get some ciggies” people who really care will say “No you’re not, you’re staying right here.” Good friends understand that you’re doing something difficult, and that you need their support.  Yes, you can sneak a ciggie when no one’s around – the guilt is yours to deal with. But knowing that the people who care about you really do care and have your back, is huge.

(c) Naomi Madelin

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