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Published on January 22, 2020

How to Build New Habits With An Accountability Partner

How to Build New Habits With An Accountability Partner

Are you struggling to build new habits?

While it’s important to first understand how the habit loop works, you should also start to collaborate with an accountability partner.

What Is an Accountability Partner?

An accountability partner can be likened to a partnership where you mutually consent to mentor each other and offer feedback on an agreed timeframe. Feedback could be shared daily or weekly.

The flow of communication between accountability partners shares a similarity with that of a mastermind session. The major difference is that communication focuses on the two accountability partners instead of on a group of individuals.

Here’s everything you need to learn about building new habits with an accountability partner.

Why Should You Have an Accountability Partner?

Accountability could be internal or external.

Internal accountability is synonymous with personal responsibility. However, I will focus on external accountability for this topic.

Collaborating with an accountability partner can assist you in forming new habits.

Naturally, human beings need to be pushed to make concerted efforts along the line of their goal. Achieving your goal may become a burden when you are isolated from a group.

Before I reveal how you can build new habits with an accountability partner, here are some benefits of working with an accountability partner:

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  • Accountability partnership provides you with an opportunity to mentor someone on habit formation while you also obtain value in exchange.
  • It allows you to bond with someone who shares your struggles, hopes, dreams, and goals.
  • It is easier to meet at a mutually suitable time. There’s no need to book an appointment as it is the case with professional coaching.
  • Since both accountability partners benefit mutually, you don’t pay any coaching fee.
  • The partnership keeps you committed.

So what about mastermind groups? Yes, they could be helpful, but each member of the group has a limited duration to share their challenges and insights. With an accountability partner, there is no limit to the amount of time.

An accountability partner can support you in building new habits in the following categories:

  • Diet or nutrition
  • Fitness training
  • Effective communication
  • Emotional Growth and Meditation
  • Parenting
  • Relationships
  • Budgeting and Saving
  • Home organization
  • Self-help
  • Learning Development
  • Writing
  • … and more

Imagine if you meet someone at the library every week, then you are laying a good foundation for building a solid accountability partnership.

How to Get Started with an Accountability Partner

Now, your goal is to locate someone who shares the same passion and commitment to building new habits. Create a list of potential individuals you trust and communicate your intention with them. The list should include individuals you hold in high esteem.

As a piece of advice, exclude your close friends, so the partnership does not end up into a chit chat. Every moment has to be deliberate and intentional. The essence of the relationship is to provide honest feedback and not to waste time.

Therefore, if you are ready to work with an accountability partner, factor in the following:

  • Is the prospect dependable? Can you depend on the individual to follow through and respect your recommendations?
  • Can he or she manage complicated conversations? Can you provide direct feedback, and not have to handle unnecessary excuses or defensiveness?
  • Does this individual have a bigger vision about his or her life? Do they possess aspirations that you resonate with?
  • Is this individual ready to act? Do they have a sense of commitment and are prepared to go beyond the status quo?

There might also be a need to go on self-introspection and be sincere with yourself. If you have not been committed, honest, and reliable in the past, acknowledge that.

You don’t have to deceive yourself; try to come to terms with your present reality and your future aspiration. This will enable you to focus on how your partner can succeed, as you can’t give what you lack.

Here are five steps to find an accountability partner:

Step 1: Look for the Right Individual

Where you search determines who you meet. You can search online or in person. You can also attend local meetups, TedxSessions, or reach out to serious friends who also need an accountability partner.

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Examples of platforms and tools you can leverage are:

  • Forums, websites, blogs relating to the habits you want to form.
  • Facebook groups(type the habits to search for groups around them).
  • Accountability apps such as coach.me and MyFitnessPal.
  • Local events and meetup groups.
  • Seminars and workshops.

You will find it easier to collaborate with the right prospects as soon as you decide on working with an accountability partner.

Step 2: Be Open to Prospects from a Different Background

Work with someone with the same level of achievement, but dynamic strengths as well as weaknesses that are different from yours.

For instance, eating healthily and working out contribute immensely to physical development. If you have mastered the habit of eating healthy foods but need motivation on how to exercise regularly, you can find a partner who has learned how to work out but is lacking in eating healthy foods. Both of you will complement each other, and the result will be remarkable.

Locating someone who is above your success level will challenge you and also establish a synergetic accountability relationship and not a coaching arrangement. Both of you will derive value for every moment shared, and forming new habits will become easier.

Step 3: Meet Your Preferred Candidate

As soon as you have settled for any of the prospects on the list, ask the person if he or she is interested in building new habits through an accountability partnership. Explain what it’s all about, how it works, and highlight the benefits of the relationship.

If none of you is uncertain about becoming an accountability partner, communicate for some time and decide having known each other.

Step 4: Select a Day and Time, and Form of Meeting

You can structure the meet up in diverse ways. It could be on the phone, via Skype, in person, or you could share updates via email, social media platforms, or text. The medium you utilize is less significant as long as you communicate and offer mutual accountability.

For accountability purposes, you can stick to a time and date that is suitable for both parties.

Also, it is paramount to maintain a consistent schedule. Both parties should compare their weekly activities and find a suitable time to achieve consistency.

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There is no doubt you will have to reschedule the meeting time, but it is crucial to fix a time that is constant and integrated into the week. Anytime you meet at a specific time, your mind can relive ideas and issues that require attention, which you can fix for the next meeting.

Step 5: Establish Weekly Statement of Accountability

The last point of action is to create what I call ‘accountability statements.’ These are actionable activities you will both complete before you meet again. They are like milestones, which are small activities that are part of a bigger objective.

To simplify this process, you need to make a PACT with yourself as far as the milestones are concerned.

The PACT acronym means:

  • P-Possible
  • A-Action-based
  • C- Clear
  • T- Time-bound

Let’s periscope into the four elements.

P – Possible

Are the milestones stated in the accountability statement attainable or feasible?

While it is an excellent idea to think big, your goal should be feasible so it can be executed within the set timeframe.

If you desire to write a guide on habit formation, for instance, “I will write 3000 words next week” is quite achievable if you are capable of writing 1000 words daily.

A – Actionable

Can you act on the goal?

I have seen several people who established goals beyond their capabilities.

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For instance, ‘I will write more kindle books in next month” is not feasible as it lacks clear actions to it.

This is a better statement of accountability: ” I will write 20 Kindle Ebooks on Habit Formation by hiring 20 Ghostwriters next month.”

This statement is not only specific; it establishes what you need to do to accomplish the goal.

C – Clear

Your accountability statement should bring clarity to the fore. It should exclude reasons the goal cannot be attained. It should be clear and concise.

For example, “I will write 3000 words next week” is better than “I will write 3000 words if I don’t have visitors next week.”

You should factor in potential hindrances when creating your accountability statement. If you’re going to have visitors next week, “I will hire a ghostwriter to write 3000 words next week” will be a perfect replacement.

T – Time-Bound

You should establish a clear deadline for every commitment. The next meeting will be the deadline. Nevertheless, if you both feel there would be a long break before the next meeting, you could agree to communicate online or agree on sharing results online.

The Bottom Line

You can’t overemphasize the benefits of working with an accountability partner when it comes to new habit formation.

Just ensure you follow the five steps highlighted above so you can both maximize the relationship.

Focus on the problem you both face and offer honest feedback to the other partner and leverage the PACT formula to create an accountability statement.

You will form new habits if you can break your major goal into milestones. And more importantly, two good heads are better than one. You can achieve the most prominent goals through an accountability partnership than by isolating yourself.

More to Make Your Habit Stick

Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on August 4, 2020

How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

SMART goal setting is one of the most valuable methods used by high achievers today to actualize their life goals time after time. SMART goal setting is the inverse of random or carefree goal setting without strategy.

Perhaps, you’ve always wished to get back in shape, get an annuity, or take control of your finances, but you failed to act. When you approach your goals with a care-free and nonchalant attitude, you’re less likely to achieve them.

You should have a strategic goal setting method in place, and learning how to set smart goals is imperative in this case. The method is time-tested and purposeful, meaning it can help you achieve your goals now.

To achieve your goals consistently and join the pack of high achievers out there who have consistently achieved many of their goals, you must be prepared to do what these people have been doing, and be ready to do the right thing: SMART goal setting.

What Is the SMART Model for Setting Goals?

SMART goal setting is a goal-setting method that considers certain factors about a goal relative to the person setting it. These factors are simply the five different letters in the SMART acronym for goal setting.

It is relative to the person setting the goal because what is true for A may not be true for B; or what is possible for A or within A’s ability to achieve may not be possible for B or within B’s ability to achieve.

What does the goal setting acronym SMART stand for?

  • S—Specific
  • M—Measurable
  • A—Achievable
  • R—Realistic/Relevant
  • T—Time-bound

Is it possible that this acronym can make a long lasting impact in your life?

Is it possible that a mere goal setting metric like SMART can help you achieve so many of your unfulfilled goals?

Is it possible that if you practice SMART goal setting, you will be able to have faster results, understand your goals better, overcome the habit of procrastination, and achieve a lot?

The power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

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It is important to extend the inquiry by asking: How many times have you said you’ll do “X,” but failed to do so?

We all have goals, and we all have 24 hours each day at our disposal. While some people find it easy to achieve their goals without procrastinating, some find it difficult to do so.

For some people who have succeeded again and again in achieving their goals, they have simply found an easy way of doing this. Is there something they know that you don’t?

How Smart Goal Setting Makes a Lasting Impact

Smart goal setting examples can be found all around you. Through SMART goal setting, Stephen Cooley was able to grow his real estate business to the point of closing at $110 million in sales when the average price point of homes was between $100,000 – $200,000 in South Carolina[1].

Through SMART goal setting, Steve Jobs was able to improve the fortunes of Apple and prevent the company from going bankrupt, even when it had barely 90 days left before being declared so.

SMART goal setting can make a lasting impact in your life in several ways.

Make Your Goal Clearer

When you use the SMART criteria to set goals, it is easier for you to understand the various phases of your goal.

By using SMART goal setting, you’re able to ask yourself relevant questions pertaining to your goal.

Motivate You Into Acting on Your Goals

When you use SMART goal setting and break down the goal into smaller goals or milestones, the bigger goal no longer looks intimidating or impossible.

Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, wrote in his book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be about how they applied the rule of five in marketing their book, Chicken Soup, and were able to make the book a best seller after some months[2]. The rule of five simply means doing five specific things every day that will move you closer to achieving your goal.

In order not to be overwhelmed, you would have to measure your performance using the right metrics. Here we are considering the Measurable and Achievable aspects of the SMART acronym. It is critical that you measure yourself in terms of lead measures.

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What are lead measures? They are the things you do that leads you closer to your goals. On the other hand, you would have to avoid “lag measures.”

While lag measures mean a successful outcome that you wished for and got, they can be emotionally draining and deceitful because, whenever they don’t happen, you can become discouraged.

Therefore, it is better to stick to lead measures.

Help You Save Time

You can achieve more when you use SMART model goal setting.

To be strategic, your goal would have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. If you can’t identify any of these points in your goal, you probably will be wasting your time on a wild goose chase.

When your goals are written down, it’s easier for you to go into action mode.

Improve Your Self-Discipline

Self-improvement is an important thing for everyone to do periodically. When you set SMART goals, it makes you realize that you have to sit up and work on achieving them.

How to Set SMART Goals

See the source image

    To make your SMART goals work, use the following tips:

    Specific

    Every goal ought to be specific. It is important to guard against making vague goals because even when they have been achieved, you may not know. This is because you weren’t specific enough.

    For example, “I will start planning toward retirement” is vague. Rather than write that, you could say, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan.” This is more specific.

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    When you are specific on your goal, it’s easier for you to identify all its components and work accordingly toward achieving it.

    Measurable

    Your goals must be measurable. When they are measurable, it’s easier for you to follow through.

    A goal like this is not measurable: “I want to make millions of dollars.” You can make it more measurable by saying, “I want to make one million dollars selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each.”

    Also, using our SMART goal setting examples while explaining the Specific acronym, you can make the goal more measurable by saying, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month.”

    Achievable

    How realistic or actionable is your goal? Is it practical enough to fit into a given time frame? Is it something you are able to achieve in your capacity?

    You would only be setting yourself up for failure if you sets goals that are not reasonable.

    A goal like this is highly unrealistic and, therefore, not achievable: “I want to be the Governor of Texas in six months,” especially since the elections will be coming up in three years.

    Goals must be written down relative to the experiences of the one setting them. They must resonate with you. It is important that you have at least some of the resources needed to actualize this goal.

    It is also important that you consider your time frame. When the time frame to achieve a complex goal is too short, it is rare that such goal will be completed.

    Thus, using our previous example, if you write “I want to make one million dollars in ten days selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each,” you would only be setting up yourself for failure.

    This is especially true if you’re not a popular author or if you’ve never sold even up to one thousand copies of any of your previous books, whether e-copy or in print.

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    Realistic/Relevant

    Before you proceed to making the commitment toward that goal, you need think about how realistic and relevant it is.

    Being realistic means you should be willing to make all the commitments required for that goal to be achieved. If your goal is relevant, it fits into the life you’ve imagined for yourself.

    Time-Bound

    Every goal must have a commencement date and an end date written down. It is also important that you break down your goals into phases, chunks, bits, or milestones.

    The act of having deadlines set to your goals is ample motivation that drives you into action. Without a deadline, it is not possible for you to know if you’re making headway with your goals.

    “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month for the next twenty five years” is a time-bound goal.

    Remember that some goals are short-term while some are long-term. It is important to always bear this in mind, because this will help you in making a clear and realistic strategy when SMART goal planning.

    Without SMART goal setting in view, much of our goals may likely end in our minds, on paper, or just midway into implementation. SMART goal setting reveals to us all the action points of our goals and helps us to have an awareness of every aspect of our goals.

    The Bottom Line

    What matters at the end of the day is what you do with the contents of this article because the power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

    It is not enough to have a goal. It is not enough to put it down in writing. It is important to have a strategy in mind while putting it down. This strategy is a guideline or set of rules that point you in the right direction. It is SMART goal setting in the given circumstance.

    After writing down your goals, you will have to be ready to take action. There should be a clear action point. Write down what you need to do on daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

    When your goals are realistic, they make them worth the chase. One of the things to bear in mind is that, in order not to be overwhelmed by the daunting nature of your goals, remember to always break them into milestones, chunks, or bits. In fact, take one day at a time.

    Do not bother yourself with the one-year, three-year, five-year or ten-year plan as this may likely overwhelm you with fear and doubt. Let your focus be on each day. What will I be doing today? Consider this and go for it.

    More on the SMART Model for Setting Goals

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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