“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.” —Thomas S. Monson
Even if you do not like the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions, chances are you still have some things you want to do and goals you want to accomplish. You know what you want, you know what you need to do to accomplish your goals, but somehow things just do not get done.
If this scenario resonates with you, you might be missing a crucial element in your life: accountability.
Accountability could be defined as the state of being responsible for your actions, thoughts and emotions.
There are two kinds of accountability: internal and external. Internal accountability entails being accountable to oneself, while external accountability is being accountable to others.
You exercise your internal accountability by making commitment to yourself and what is important to you and promising yourself to take some action towards your goal.
However, we all are human. We tend to procrastinate, have lazy days, busy schedules, bad moods or just lose motivation. As we encounter these mental obstacles, the chances of hitting a specific goal increase greatly if we combine our internal accountability with external accountability.
Many people shy away from accountability because it sounds demanding and stressful. However, you can add accountability to your life in a fun and exciting way by finding an accountability partner.
Who is an accountability partner?
An accountability partner is a person with whom you share your goals and your progress towards those goals. Accountability partnership is usually a mutually beneficial relationship and it’s your job to ensure that your partner stays committed to his/her own goals.
Most people find it easier to keep a promise to another person than to themselves. And that is the real power of having an accountability partner. It’s great to know you have someone there that is counting on you to take action.
You and your accountability partner do not need to have similar goals and interests. Actually, you can learn more from a person with a different background and skillset. You can ask your friend, family member, co-worker, or even an acquaintance to be your accountability partner.
A great accountability partner is someone reliable and committed, who has the same level of ambition and desire to be held accountable.
Your partner will remind you to stay on track with your goals and encourage you to follow through on your plans. They will cheer you on so that you can stay committed, but will also call you on slacking off or getting distracted.
How to work with an accountability partner?
It’s up to you and your accountability partner to decide what kind of support each of you need and how you want to stay connected. You can exchange text messages, speak on the phone, or meet in person.
Most importantly, you need to ensure to check in with one another regularly to see how each of you are doing on your tasks or goals. Some people prefer weekly check-ins, while others checks in with their accountability partners once a month.
Personally, I prefer checking in with my accountability partners daily. Every morning I send a text sharing how many goals I accomplished the prior day and setting three to five goals for the day. My accountability partners send me similar texts with their progress and daily goals.
It feels nice to have someone to share with that I have accomplished my daily tasks. At the same time, it’s helpful to have someone there if I am starting to feel overwhelmed and they can bring me back to reality.
My daily goals usually comprise the tasks that require my focus and not the ones that are “automatic” and easy to do. I break down big goals into smaller tasks that I can get done during the day. My daily goals may have specific outcomes (for example, finish a blog post) or they may be defined by the time spent on each task (for example, write a blog post for two hours).
When I focus on creating a new habit (for example, doing meditation before going to bed), adding it to my accountability list helps me to stay on track and establish a new habit sooner.
My daily goals are usually challenging, but not overwhelming. I admit that there are some days when I don’t complete all the tasks on my daily accountability list, but that makes me reflect on my daily progress and makes me more aware how I allocate my time.
Since I’ve started working with my accountability partners, I feel challenged on a daily basis to do more than I ever imagined. I’m motivated to work hard and I truly appreciate the encouragement I get through the process.
Accountability is the catalyst for achieving our goals. Having someone to stay accountable to makes us more productive and focused on the most important tasks. At the end of the day, we are much more likely to take actions if someone is taking note and tracking our goals, while also cheering us on along the way.