Many of us spent January learning new habits and focusing on new goals, but we’ve entered that dreaded time of year when we get tired of pushing through. This is when an accountability partner helps! It can be the deciding factor between making our dreams a reality or letting yet another resolution fall by the wayside. So, what’s accountability exactly and why is it so important to goal-crushing?
Accountability at Its Core
When you are held accountable, you have a responsibility to your words and actions. You own up to a fault or you make sure a job is done. You have a responsibility and you either live up to it or it’s up to you, just you, to explain why you didn’t. Being held accountable is being held responsible.
Accountability doesn’t work with only you. If you were to promise yourself to read for an hour each day, but no one knew and no one asked you about it, how much easier is it to shirk that promise? You need someone or something to hold you to it. This is what makes or breaks accountability.
Karson McGinley writes, “When you hold yourself accountable to your goals, you are communicating to the universe (and to yourself) that the goal is a priority—it’s not just something that may or may not get done. If you don’t share your goals in some way, you aren’t truly committing to them. It’s too easy to give up because it’s like they never really existed.” (Accountability: The Key to Reaching Your Goals, Chopra, 2020)
When you know someone is prodding you to do something, or you know someone is relying on you, you’re more likely to accomplish a task. Having an accountability partner makes us more likely to stick to our plan. If no one knows our goals, who’s going to care if we sleep in or skip the gym or eat a little more? Our accountability partner makes all the difference. So, let’s get into how to choose an accountability partner?
What an Accountability Partner Is:
- Your accountability partner is your champion, cheering you on with positivity from the sidelines.
- This person will be consistently asking how you’re doing, not just on the task, but sometimes how you are doing/feeling/etc.
- This person will remind you of your goals, why you chose them, what your plans are.
- If things change, this person will champion you finding new ways to achieve those goals and not let you give up on them easily. Things happen, but your partner is still rooting for you!
What an Accountability Partner Is Not:
- Your accountability partner will not insult you or drag you down with negativity. This doesn’t promote healthy motivation.
- This person will not harass you but stick to a planned amount of checking in. It is ultimately up to you to decide if you’ll follow through.
- This person will not insert their own ideas, goals, or reasons as to what you should do and why.
- If things change, this person will not encourage giving up out of defeat, or giving up on you. It’s not about judgment but about responsibility!
Having an accountability partner means commitment and dedication to one’s goals and to oneself. It also means accepting vulnerability. You say your goals out loud, then to a person, allowing that person to see you, the real you, through trial and error, success and failure, no matter the outcome. Effort counts and sometimes effort is ugly. Real ugly. Your partner is there to encourage you and see you through, even if things aren’t looking good from time to time.
Perhaps the best way to connect with an accountability partner is to reciprocate. It doesn’t work in all cases, but choosing someone who you can hold accountable in turn may just help your cause. Imagine you working along towards your goals and feeling the struggle. Your accountability partner is checking in on you, but you’re getting frustrated. Now, it’s your turn to check on that person as well. Encouraging them and pushing them along, seeing their struggles, is helping you to realize you’re not alone. You can do this – together!
More Tips on Accountability
There’s so many benefits to having an accountability partner. Deep Patel writes a list of tips in his article, 8 Ways to Stay Accountable with Your Goals (Entrepreneur, 2019). In short, they are as follows (but check the article for more details):
- Be brutally honest with yourself. Honesty helps. Stop hiding from yourself!
- Commit to a schedule. This helps you stay on track.
- Create micro-goals. Small goals lead to big changes.
- Get an accountability partner. See above!
- Overcome self-sabotage. Are you limiting your success? Dive into why and how and overcome that!
- Know your “why.” Review the reasons for your goals to renew your desire to achieve them.
- Celebrate each little win. Small celebrations give us a boost of energy.
- Review how you’re doing. This helps you realign with your goals and see if any adjustment is needed. At the very least, it helps you to see how far you’ve come.
Every goal is different. Every person is different. Finding a good accountability partner for yourself to help you stay focused will help lead you to your goals. What can you accomplish? Who are you going to choose?