Tell me, when it comes to your goals, do you always do what you say you’re going to do?
Probably not. (I know I don’t.)
If you’re anything like me, you’re able to lay out all sorts of plans to achieve your goals. (That part is easy.) You also have the right intentions in mind, but, somehow, you still just end up getting distracted by other things.
Sadly, just wanting something isn’t enough – you actually have to follow-through on the goal. (Who knew.)
Why is Accountability Important?
Without accountability, there’s no consequence for the times you don’t follow through on your goal. You’re your own “Judge, Jury, Executioner,” which requires you to hold yourself to the consequences you came up with in case you don’t stick to your goal.
Seriously, how hard do you enforce a consequence on yourself?
You probably rationalize your way out of it because you have the AMAZING ability to talk yourself into or out of nearly anything – you’re just wired that way. (Just accept it and move on.) You do everything in your power to tell yourself all the reasons why you shouldn’t be doing this or that.
If you’re only accountable to yourself, then I got bad news for you – you’re making a BIG mistake (and probably a number of other mistakes as well.)
Instead of relying only on personal accountability, you should build an accountability system into your life to support you to follow through with your goals.
There are 2 ways to create an accountability system.
You can do it publicly OR privately.
Public accountability is when you put your goals out there, either through social media or by telling family, friends, and co-workers about it.
I did something similar to this when I challenged myself to eat gluten free for 30 days. I knew that if I told those around me about it, there’s no way I could get away with not completing the 30 days.
Not comfortable with this idea? Or maybe you’ve tried it before, but it didn’t work.
That’s fine. We’ll try something else. Let’s give private accountability a shot with an accountability partner.
What’s an accountability partner, you ask?
An accountability partner is someone who will hold you to your commitment. They’ll keep you responsible to the goals you said you want to accomplish and when you plan to have them done.
At the same time, they’ll support you through the process by checking in on you and encouraging you to keep going when you feel like quitting. The keyword is “partnership”. They’re there for you, and you’re there for them!An accountability partner will push you when you can't push yourself. Click To Tweet
Think of them as a Frankenstein mashup of a mentor, a sponsor, a cheerleader, and a coach.
When you’ve found an accountability partner, how do you know that person is RIGHT for you? (Not just anybody will do!!)
The 5 Things to Look for in an Accountability Partner
When finding your PERFECT accountability partner, make sure they meet the following criteria:
Reliable – There’ll be times when you’ll need to reach out to your partner. You don’t want your accountability partner to be someone who’s stretched too thin where they’re struggling to find time to support you. This will make you feel bad or cause you to resent them, which is bad for everyone involved.
Responsible – Your buddy should be someone you look up to, inspires you, or has accomplish the goal you’re striving for. You want someone whose opinion you value and whose words hold weight. They need to be someone who’ll stay on top of you and your goals.
Honest – Honesty is SO important when it comes to choosing an accountability partner since this person will need to be straightforward with you. You need to have a partnership where you both feel free to be honest when one another when things get off track.
Caring – If this person doesn’t care about you as a person then, they suck! Your buddy should want the best for you, and though they should challenge you, they shouldn’t condemn you when you slip up.
Like-Minded – Your accountability partner doesn’t have to have the same goals that you have, but it helps if their goals are similar. They’ll be more understanding of what you’re going through and identify with you. You’ll both be able to relate to one another’s triumphs and struggles.
Now that you’re armed with this info, you can set out to find your perfect accountability partner. Don’t choose someone just because they’re your friend. Make sure to find someone who’ll commit to helping you move forward. They need to be someone willing to be accountable for you just as you are willing to be accountable to them.You want to find someone who has the characteristics of the person you want to be. Click To Tweet
Oh, and if you’re in a relationship and your significant other isn’t your accountability partner – it’d be best if you told them so they don’t think you’re off having an affair or something.
When you’ve identified your accountability partner, don’t make things weird when you ask them to be your accountability partner. You don’t need to (and really shouldn’t) get on one knee and propose to them!
Just have a convo and see if this is something they’re interested in doing. Explain to them the benefits for you and for them. If the individual meets the criteria above, most likely they’ll agree and be eager to help you out!
Above all else, you both need to openly communicate with each other. Your accountability partner should know your goals, your weaknesses, and your biggest potential pitfalls (and vice versa). Be open about your goal and the results you are looking to achieve. Without open communication, this partnership is bound to fail.
How to Keep Each Other Accountable
Once you find yourself a buddy, you’ll need a way to keep each other accountable. I’ve found that developing a list of specific questions to ask each other works the best.
This will require you both to focus and prevent the conversation from being derailed by other things like Game of Thrones or the crazy 3 pointer that Steph Curry put up the night before (go dubs).
When you go through your list of questions, don’t turn it into an interrogation. You don’t have to shine a blinding light in their face and play “Good Cop, Bad Cop”.
Be clear with your accountability partner that the questions aren’t meant to make either of you feel guilty. It’s just a way for you both to know how the other has been doing and how you can support each other.
The last piece of the puzzle is the CONSEQUENCE for not sticking to your goal.
(Be afraid..very afraid…)
Consequences work because they push you forward. No one likes to suffer and we try to avoid it at all cost, so consequences motivate us to follow through on tasks or goals to avoid any suffering.
If you’re being real with yourself, the ultimate consequence is that you’re wasting your potential and time (and we hate seeing that). However, for consequences to work, they have to be a little more tangible than “potential”. A good consequence needs to hurt a little bit or else you’ll reason that it’s okay to not achieve your goal.
There’s always the money route. Maybe something like:
“If I don’t stick to my goal, I’ll donate $500 to Donald Trump’s campaign.”
Would you rather follow through on your habit or give money to this guy?
Habit? Or this guy?
Goal? Or this guy?
Don’t know about you, but I’ll do everything I can to make sure he never receives a dime from me.
The example above deals with money, but it doesn’t have to. It just has to be something you love or care about, and don’t want to lose. It could be something like reading a book genre that you don’t like – maybe something like:
“If I don’t meet my goal, I’ll read 50 Shades of Grey.” (If you really want to torture yourself, you’d watch the movie. #notmychristian)
Where to Go from Here
How do you stay motivated?
How do you become the person you want to be?
How do you keep commitments to yourself?
You want all of these things, but you can’t seem to stick with something. You want to commit, but every time you try to start something it doesn’t really go anywhere and you just give up and move on.
If you’re wonder why this is, it may be that you don’t have an accountability system that sometimes gives you a gentle push to follow through on your goals. If you know someone is going to ask you, “Did you do that?” you’ll be far more likely to do it.
An accountability partner may just be the spark you need to get you going!
One size does not fit all
An accountability partner can come in any shape or size. It could be a friend, a random stranger, or a coach. Whoever it is, make sure they meet the criteria above so they can actually help you accomplish your goal.The right accountability partner has the potential to launch your success. Click To Tweet
If you’ve never had an accountability partner before, then this whole idea probably seem really uncomfortable to you. (That’s okay.) The feeling is your brain resisting or it’s afraid of failing or being rejected. Embrace those feelings of discomfort and put yourself out there. If you’ve surrounded yourself with people who know you and love you, those feelings of discomfort will quickly vanish.
Accountability is great for getting started, but it really comes in handy when you hit roadblocks that could derail you. You probably won’t see it coming, and that’s the moment when accountability truly makes the difference.
So, if you want to get stuff done, get yourself an accountability partner!
Thanks for Reading!
If you enjoyed this, share it with a friend. Maybe you guys can become accountability partners 🙂