Accountability Partners

Accountability. If this word makes you sweat you are not alone. Do not turn off the device that you have open reading this blog and run for the hills. It’s not that type of post, whew!!!

I would say the majority of us set our alarm the night before with the intention that when it goes off we will begin all of the things that we promised ourselves we would get done tomorrow as we got into bed.  I guess I am assuming that I am not the only one lying in bed beating myself up for all that I didn’t get done that day and then making promises to myself to make a change first thing in the morning!  And even though I wake up with good intentions, the snooze button can be hit, putting the morning routine out of whack, and before we know it we are at the end of the day again having missed all of our opportunities to make the changes we intended.  Why does this happen and why do we continuously set ourselves up to feel bad at the end of the day?

A lot of times simply taking a moment or two to make a plan or draw up a schedule will help us find the time to fit in that healthier breakfast or to finally go to that first exercise class, or carve out the time to sit down and finish up those taxes!

There are some magical people who can state what they will do and it get done.  Some people simply write it down and then will complete it just so they can cross it off the to do list.  Some of us or some goals might require enlisting the help of our family, friends, co-workers, etc.  These accountability partners can be amazing resources, but like all things going blindly into it can result in spinning wheels instead of actually getting the work done. To help find an accountability partner who is right for you, consider the following:

  1. Do they understand your goal and are they passionate about helping you reach it?  When I finally made fitness and health a priority in my life I decided to start with running.   I set a goal then called my (bossiest) sister and told her I wanted to run a 5k in the spring.  She not only held me accountable to my training by calling me daily to check in, she also became my sounding board, my cheerleader, and my reminder alarm that the goal was coming and she wasn’t going to let me avoid it or push it back.  Not only did she keep me in check, she increased the distance and before I knew it I wasn’t just running my first road race or 5k, I was running my first 10k.  I needed the accountability, and I purposefully picked her because of her love for running and because she would call me out without apology.
  2. Do they have the knowledge base to get you information on how to meet your goals? I have written before about my goal to get over my fear of learning how to ride horses.  I started that with a friend who knew where to go for lessons and knew more about riding then I did.  She then passed me off to trainers that could assist me in being safe and learning more about riding so that I could begin to overcome that fear.  Had I simply found someone with a horse that would let me ride it, within a week not only would I have quit working towards the goal, I would have probably ended up frustrated and even more fearful.
  3. Do they have the same goal as you?  Often people end up working together and becoming each other’s accountability partners.  I am currently working with a group of guys that decided they needed to start exercising.  The ring leader knew that individually the likelihood of them doing this was slim, so he set up the classes, created the physical space, got an instructor, and then made them come by setting a wager.  They all knew that they wanted this and needed both the physical and mental release, but making that happen outside of the group was to hard to fit into already busy schedules.  Once it was all set up, they knew they would hold each other accountable (these guys use shaming which isn’t necessarily suggested but seems to be effective for them!).  Finding a friend or your spouse to work with can be a game changer in meeting your goals.
  4. How long can you be an accountability partner or how long can you ask of someone to be your partner?  This one is tricky.  The best answer is it depends.  It depends on the goal.  It depends on the progress towards the goal.  I’m sure many of us have had that friend or family member that wants and needs positive changes in their lives, but no matter how much support the change just doesn’t happen, and we are left feeling sucked dry.  This may be time to move on as an accountability partner.  You may not be the right person for the job…or they may not really be ready to do the work.  On the other side I have several friends that continue to be my accountability partners.  Some of them may be very aware of their job (just like Steph is for me with things like writing blog post! 😉  and some of them may not be as aware as I only mention action plans or goals in passing, but regardless they are who I go to to hold me accountable.
  5. BE CLEAR.  If you are being asked or asking someone to help you be accountable then make sure that both of you understand the goal, understand the amount of support expected, and have clear understanding of when the goal is met or maybe needs to be put aside for another time.
  6. Leave it to Catalyst…. 🙂 One of the reasons that Catalyst is structured with small classes is because we want to be there for each and everyone of you.  We want to hear what you want to achieve regardless of whether it’s a fitness goal, awareness goals, nutritional goals, or meeting new and like-minded people.  We love to be this part of your life. That said it can be a little overwhelming to get started.  So for those of you that are currently members, grab that friend that has been saying they want to check it out and bring them with you this Saturday for our Partner Workout!  We have spots opening in March, and we would love to expand our group!

author: Cara Flynn