Having an accountability partner is one of the most reliable strategies to achieve your goals. Read this article to find out why that’s the case!
Everyone has their own unique, sure-fire way to reach a goal. Still, even the best strategies can only get the average Joe so far, particularly when it comes to achieving long-term goals. That’s why on average a minority of all goals are ever finalized.
There is one practice that bucks this unfortunate trend – accountability partnerships! Getting an accountability partner and committing to the practice will raise the probability of your goal achievement to insanely high levels.
Stick until the end of this blog post to find out why getting an accountability partner will be among the best decisions you ever make.
An accountability partner is a person who holds you accountable for the pledges you have made. The idea is that if there is someone else involved in your goal achievement process, you will be more inclined to get the thing done rather than explain why you didn’t or couldn’t.
Usually you are held accountable every week during scheduled meetings to report on your progress. If the accountability partnership goes both ways (e.g. two friends help each other), both check on each other’s progress during the meetings.
Does this simple method really help?
The American Society of Training and Development did research on how likely people are to meet a goal under different scenarios and/or levels of commitment. The following statistics are mind-blowing to say the least:
This has major implications for anyone undertaking a goal. Simply committing to another person makes you 65% likelier to meet a goal. Actually having a specific accountability partner to guide you along the way brings you close to a 100% success rate.
The reason is that accountability partners do wonders to your motivation. They inspire and keep you focused, energized, positive, and committed. This alone should make accountability partnerships a must-have, but there are far more benefits to come.
While motivation is a major benefit, there are all sorts of good things that can happen if two people are involved in reaching a goal. Here are just some of them:
1) They offer honest, independent feedback. Let’s face it – we will justify just about anything to make us feel better. Accountability partners have no such qualms. They can uncover some inconvenient truths or point out things that are holding us back. Likewise they will easily spot and encourage things that are working. Even if you think you are the bee’s knees, a second pair of eyes will be invaluable.
2) They help you plan ahead. As independent observers that witness your successes and setbacks, accountability partners can help devise a winning strategy to get to goal completion. Who better to help you plan for success than the person who follows your journey regularly and knows your strengths and weaknesses?
3) They keep you on course. While you might create a plan for yourself, accountability partners are there to keep you focused and committed. When you lose energy, they will be there to motivate you to get back up and reach that daily/weekly goal. An accountability partner will also keep you from getting distracted or bogged down in irrelevant or unrelated activities.
4) They foster a collaborative environment. While accountability partners come in all shapes and sizes, most often they themselves are looking for an accountability buddy in your person. This creates a wonderfully motivating and encouraging environment in which you share in each others’ achievements and setbacks. Learning from the other person’s experience is an awesome way to boost your performance, avoid pitfalls, and test a variety of different scenarios.
By this point getting an accountability partner really should be a no-brainer. The real question is who should you pick?
There are two realistic options – (1) someone close to you (like a family member or a close friend) or (2) someone more distant (an acquaintance or a stranger). Since everyone is different, it’s impossible to pick the best choice for you. That being said, here are some tips that might help you figure things out.
Having a spouse, friend, or family member as your accountability partner is easy practicality-wise. I mean, you are talking a lot anyway. Plus, they know your strengths and weaknesses, not to mention the things that inspire you. That can definitely come in handy when working on a best approach/strategy. Finally, there is plenty of trust to go around which facilitates communication.
That being said, there are some pitfalls. Someone close to you may go easy, not giving you the tough love needed for progress. On the other extreme, if they tend to get critical or even harsh, that might cause some tension in the relationship. Imagine if you are trying to lose weight and your significant other is constantly counting the cookies you eat. Yikes!
The relationship strain is really the main thing to keep in mind. If your accountability partner is someone close to you, reaching that goal might overshadow other aspects of the relationship. In that case, if something doesn’t work out with the goal and if it has become such an important part of your lives, things can fall apart.
Now this shouldn’t discourage you! Reaching a goal, especially if both of you are in it together can also strengthen a relationship. And as I said – nothing beats a close friend or a family member practicality-wise. Just remember the risks and try to mitigate them!
Now it might seem strange at first, but there are plenty of things going for this option. You are likely to take things less personally with someone you know only for this purpose. The meetings will be shorter and more to the point as there is nothing else to talk about. And then there is always the fresh perspective and different approaches someone new might offer. Who knows – if you’re each others’ accountability partners, the shared experience might lead to a new and profound friendship.
There are challenges, of course. Trust is essential for an accountability partnership to work. Unless it comes naturally, building it takes time and effort. As you don’t know each other, it will take time to understand what motivates and drives the other person, as well as discover their strengths and weaknesses. In the end you might realize that you either don’t like the other person well enough to continue or just don’t find enough compassion to care about their insights or their progress reports.
Finally, an acquaintance or even a stranger might be somewhat difficult to find. It’s not an overwhelming hurdle nowadays, but it still requires you to go outside your social bubble.
Once you’ve settled on the best accountability partner, all that’s left is to get the ball rolling. Luckily for us, accountability partnerships are just as easy as they are helpful. The six simple steps to effective accountability partnerships are:
6) If necessary, make amendments to the goal implementation plan.
And repeat steps 3-6 until the goal is reached. It’s that simple!
As you can see there is really no reason not to get an accountability partner. It is cheap, easy, and impressively effective. Just find your best way and go for it!
Author: Lote Steina