Dear Harlan: My husband makes the same New Year’s resolution every year. He says he’s going to lose weight and go to the gym. Every year he goes for two weeks and then loses interest. There is always a reason that comes up. He’s talking about it again. I don’t want him to waste his money and pretend he’s going to do this. He looks for me to encourage him. Should I tell him how I really feel, or watch from the sideline as he goes through his yearly ritual of getting excited about something he never finishes?
— Good Wife
Dear Good Wife: What if he actually follows through with this? What if he ends up getting obsessed with fitness? What if he asks you to join him? What if he wants to plan hiking trips, and spa getaways, and fitness trips? What if this is the best thing that ever happens to him and you? I know. It’s hard to get your expectations up. And really, why will this be any different? But if you’re telling the story of him failing, he’s going to fail. But if you change your story and make this a positive experience, who knows what will happen? Probably nothing, but something could happen. Go into this as a “YES AND” wife. Ask what his specific plan is for this year. Suggest he put together a timeline. Encourage him to do it in a group. Suggest he get a trainer. Do it with him. Encourage him to do something different this time around. Get what I’m saying? Instead of planning on him failing, give him permission to succeed. If you’re going to offer input, make it positive and supportive. He needs people in his corner who will encourage him, not shame him.