If you’re working on hitting some new goals this year, you might find it hard to stick to them. Life happens, things come up, and sometimes our personal goals end up on the backburner.
But one thing that can really help you stick to any big goals of yours this year? Getting an accountability partner.
Read on to see why accountability might be a good idea for you to stick to new resolutions and goals, how to find your own accountability partner, and how the two of you can make the most of your journey together.
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Outer accountability matters for our goals
First of all, let’s talk about why accountability matters – and why you, of all people, might really need it.
A best-selling human nature researcher and author, Gretchen Rubin, first talked about the Four Tendencies framework, which can tell you how well we respond to inner and outer “expectations.
In a nutshell, inner expectations are things like resolutions or new habits and goals we set for ourselves. And outer expectations are things like favors, work deadlines, and any expectation from others around us.
The Four Tendencies framework tells us our own Tendency – whether we’re Upholders, Questions, Obligers, or Rebels. For a quick summary, the framework is illustrated below.
According to Rubin, the most common Tendency is that of Obligers – who have great difficulty meeting any inner expectations for themselves. Because so many people belonging to this Tendency have a hard time sticking to better resolutions, habits, and goals, Rubin suggests the only true way they can stick to these is with outer accountability.
And indeed, most everyone can benefit from having outer accountability, Obliger or not. Because someone depends on you to meet your goals, it’s harder to fall off the wagon.
You get the right kind of support that you might not get from other people, and it’s just nice to have somebody on the same journey with you.
Ready to get some real accountability? Then it’s time to find yourself an accountability partner.
Steps to find a great accountability partner
An accountability partner is someone dedicated to helping you stay on track with any new goals or resolutions you might have. It’s not enough to have just anyone be your accountability partner, though. Here are 5 steps that will help you find the best person to stay with you on your journey.
Determine what kind of accountability partner you want
Are you looking for an accountability partner for your fitness goals? Or perhaps reading goals?
Whatever it is, it’s more helpful to choose an accountability partner who has a similar goal as you. This way, you both can relate with one another and cheer each other on when times get tough.
Once you know what kind of accountability partner you’d like to have, it’s easier to narrow down your search.
Ask around in your local community.
Look around you. Do you know anyone in your neighborhood or community or interest groups who could be a great accountability partner?
Maybe you have a gym membership and can find a fellow cardio-hater to stay accountable for hitting that running goal you set yourself. Or maybe another mom at your kids’ school would love to join you in your goal to write and complete a book.
You might just be surprised who you find when you start asking.
Check on virtual communities, groups, and forums
If you can’t find anyone in your local community, try going virtual. Look at any forums and online groups for people who have similar passions or goals as you do and start a conversation for getting an accountability partner.
Check Facebook groups, Reddit threads, or look in the comments of your favorite niche bloggers.
Join an accountability group
By joining in this kind of group, you had the further advantage of this relationship’s power by building accountability with many people at once. Every member of the accountability group holds each other members for following through on their commitments.
They are more persuasive than an accountability partner because any mistakes you made will cause you to lose face with several people instead of a single person. Also, with more people to answer, you will be more obliged to achieve your set goal.
Avoid choosing a close friend or significant other
When choosing an accountability partner, one thing to note is avoiding a sweetheart, spouse, or close friend.
People who are incredibly close to us may not always be the best accountability partners because, according to Rubin’s personal explanation, expectations from people like spouses often feel like inner expectations that you can ignore.
This isn’t to say you can never ask a family member to be your accountability partner, however. You might have a sister-in-law or aunt who’s working towards the same goals, and you can ask them.
But if anyone feels too close to you and you doubt they’d keep you accountable, it’s best to choose somebody else.
How to succeed together as accountability partners
After finding an accountability partner, there are a few ways you can make the most of your time together. Here are some steps to help you succeed as accountability partners making huge progress on your individual goals.
Set goals you want to achieve and stay accountable to
When communicating with your accountability partner, be specific about the goals you want to achieve together. You might both be looking to get into better, healthier habits like working out more.
Instead of keeping your goals vague – “read more,” “write more,” “run more” – set a realistic goal.
For example, both of you can commit to running at least three times per week. Try to frame your goal as a habit instead of a metric, i.e., “I want to run three times per week” versus “I want to lose 20lbs running,” so it’s easier to manage and stick to.
Send weekly (or even daily) updates
Decide with your accountability partner how often you want to update one another. Is sending a weekly message enough? Or perhaps you want to send a text and photo the minute you’ve accomplished what you set out to do?
Constant communication is key – you can stick to goals if you both stay committed to updating one another about how you’re doing.
Cheer each other on (but don’t be afraid to show some tough love)
Life happens. Things get in the way. They’re a part of life. You and your accountability partner should cheer each other on during rougher times, giving each other the motivation to stick to your goals until the end.
Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some tough love too. Commit to one another that you’ll call each other out for your excuses.
Find out what’s working and what isn’t
Last but not least, as you go through your next few weeks or months as accountability partners, it’s important to see what is or isn’t working.
Maybe you find out you need daily accountability updates to stay committed to your goal. Or maybe you’d like to create a little reward system as an extra incentive for both of you.
Whichever the case, talk together to see what’s working in your journey together. Your partners are working towards a specific goal, after all, so supporting each other requires adjustments however you need.
Now get accountable
Finding an accountability partner doesn’t need to be complicated. Know what you want to work on, find someone on a similar path, and stick together. You’re both closer to your goals when you work towards them together