Whatever your plans are for the coming year, your friends can help.
You might be reluctant to let them. Perhaps you feel that accepting help will lessen your own achievement – or you’re worried that your friends might laugh at your goals and ambitions. You might think that asking for help is futile: the people you know might not possess the skills or knowledge that would be valuable to you.
The truth is, no-one achieves much if they work entirely alone. And by allowing others to help, you not only increase your chances of success, you also reinforce your relationship with them.
Even if your friends can’t offer advice about your new venture, they can still support you. Here are three key ways in which friends (and family, and co-workers) can help you reach your goals.
Friends don’t need to share your goals in order to be encouraging. Your best friend might not know much about nutrition and exercise, but he can cheer you on when you’re trying to lose weight. Your sister may have no interest in writing a novel herself, but she can ask you how yours is going.
Some friends are naturally encouraging; make sure you let them know about your plans and your progress. They’ll probably be delighted for you, and keen to find out how you’re getting on.
If you’ve got a strong friendship group online, perhaps on Twitter or Facebook, that’s a great place to turn for encouragement and for accountability. You might want to post your weekly weight loss or your weekly word count or some other meaningful metric related to your goal.
#2: Practical Support
Although encouragement can be a huge boost to your motivation, it often isn’t enough to get you to your goal. Practical support is invaluable, and may well make the difference between success and failure.
This type of support might help free up time: your friend could babysits your kids on a Thursday night so you can go to Weight Watchers, or your spouse takes care of the chores so you can study. It could also involve resources: a co-worker lends you a useful book, or your friend gives you some exercise equipment that they no longer want.
This final type of help is directly related to your goal. Good advice can save you lots of time, money and energy. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member who’s pursued a similar goal, or who has expertise in this area, don’t be afraid to ask them for advice.
If you’re starting up your own business, for instance, and you have a cousin who did something similar five years ago, ask them what they wish they’d known then. People will usually be very happy to talk about their experiences and to share their knowledge.
Your Wider Network
Unless your friendship circles revolve around a shared set of goals or hobbies, you’ll probably find that you have some plans that no-one seems to be able to help with. Perhaps you’re keen to go to grad school, but none of your friends and family can offer any practical support or advice, or you want to learn the guitar but don’t know where to begin.
Start to look beyond your own circle, towards friends of friends. Although you might not know anyone who can help, your friend might have a relative or a contact who can lend a hand. Tell everyone what sort of information or support you’re looking for, and ask if they know anyone who can help.
You might feel nervous about approaching friends of friends. A great way is through a short, friendly email. Be specific about how they can help. You might write something like:
“John Smith suggested that I get in touch with you. I’m starting up my own small business as a graphic designer and I’m struggling to set my rates. Would you recommend charging by the project or by the hour? Do you have any tips for giving accurate quotations? Thanks so much.”
One of the best ways to achieve your goals faster is to let others help you. Who could you turn to today for encouragement, practical support or advice?