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Habit, Productivity

Finding an Accountability Partner: Why and How

Written by Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack
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Are you struggling to build new habits or reaching your goals?

Here’s the thing: knowing how habits form is great, but it’s even better to team up with an accountability partner.

Research by the American Society of Training and Development shows that having a partner makes you 65% more likely to achieve your goals after you commit to them.

What Is an Accountability Partner?

An accountability partner is someone working solely to keep us in check and accountable. It can be more than one person who will keep you focused and committed to your goals and make sure that you take the right steps on your way to success.

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:

  • 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

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

Find out more about the importance of having dependable accountability:

Benefits of Having an Accountability Partner

Keep You Motivated

Many times over the course of any life mission, people lose motivation. This is nothing to be ashamed or scared of – it can happen to anyone, even the best of us. However, losing motivation at critical points of your journey can derail the whole journey. In fact, many people give up entirely, and that marks the end of whatever mission they set out to accomplish.

This is where accountability partners enter the discussion. They constantly keep you motivated, helping with their words and actions. It really is amazing how much the right words can do for your motivation. Accountability partners don’t give up on you when you start losing motivation; rather, they find how to get you re-motivated. That’s beautiful.


Constant Improvement

Improvement is one of the few areas of life where there isn’t a limit. Even after accomplishing everything you set out to achieve, there is always still a chance for improvement – and accountability partners are always on the lookout for ways you can improve yourself. So, even if what you have done is so brilliant, there is always a way to improve on it.

The accountability partners may do this by offering another perspective to doing what you did. They may also just thoroughly scrutinize the whole process to uncover areas of weaknesses and faults in your work.

Valuable Support and Advice

If you’ve ever managed a project from start to finish, you know the critical role of support and advice. Yes, any project—think about doodling with crayons!

There’s always a point where things get tough, and it feels easier to just give up. That’s a dangerous moment, where projects can fall apart without careful handling.

Enter, accountability partners. Their continual support and advice during these tough times can be the difference between faltering and flourishing. They’re not just there for the struggles; they celebrate your successes too, proving their commitment through their actions.


For example, our editorial interns work as accountability partners. They meet weekly to monitor their progress, tackle challenges, and provide feedback. This not only ensures articles are up to standard and on time but also fosters personal and professional growth.

Whether you’re riding high or feeling low, having someone in your corner can make all the difference. You need accountability partners.

Honest Feedback

Honest feedback is something that is difficult to get. Usually, people surround themselves with their friends and relatives during the course of a project or program. Many times, these your friends and relatives don’t want to hurt your feelings or see you sad, so they withhold the whole truth of the matter.

Let me be real with you – those people won’t help you unlock your potentials or get to the next level. They will keep you mediocre if you let them “protect” you. Accountability partners, on the other hand, are concerned about your true growth. These partners will give honest feedback on your work, irrespective of how hurtful they may be. This honest feedback may be the difference between failure and success.

Qualities of an Accountability Partner

Finding a suitable accounting partner is as important as having one. It is essential to note that you don’t want someone who is going to bring you down, as this would make matters worse.

If you’re wondering how to find the right person to keep you in check, here are some of the things you should look for in an accountability partner.


1. Disciplined

Discipline is an important quality to have in everyone, and accountability partners are not excluded. You must ensure that the people you have around you as partners are disciplined because indiscipline on their paths may rub negatively on you.

There are times where we feel down and motivation is needed. If your partner can offer you that drive to bring you up, they are the right person for you, and your partnership will flourish. They can pull you out of your stress and bring you back on the right path with a discussion and some motivation.

Working with an accountability partner who can motivate you is also going to help you stay away from procrastination when it comes time to act on your goals. 

2. Challenging

Accountability partners should not be content with mediocrity. They always want to see you improve and move to the next level. They challenge you to work harder when you start to relax and fall behind.

It is always important to know your limits and push yourself forward. If the same ideology is shared between you and your accountability partner, it will greatly benefit both of you.

However, it is crucial to not overdo it as this can harm you. Knowing where you stand and using your accountability partnership as a basis for improvement is the best move.


3. Patient

An accountability partner must be patient with you. They don’t jump to conclusions, and neither do they rush you into decisions. They understand, even in times of urgency, how being patient can help you make the best decisions.

Another important thing in an accountability partner is their openness to constant and frequent discussions. Your partner should be able to provide you with regular or weekly feedback and have enough time and dedication to do so.

Having an accountability partner who gives you feedback in months is similar to having no partner at all. Also, it is essential to have constant accountability for every major decision you make.

4. Supportive

Supportive – of course, of course. Oprah Winfrey once described Maya Angelou as “there for me always.” Any good accountability partner must always be there for support and words of encouragement.

This is an important trait you should look for in your partner, as it is crucial to have someone who wants the best for you. Their intentions need to be pure and for your betterment.

If the person in your partnership does not have the best intentions, then your partnership will be negative and only keep you further away from your goal. This is worse than having no partner at all. Make sure you find someone who makes you a better and more successful person.


5. Able to Give Constructive Criticism

This part is often neglected today. An accountability partner must know how to give honest feedback and constructive criticism. Note the use of the word “constructive.” This means they should know how to criticize without bringing down the person in question.

An accountability partner with plenty of experience can guide you on your decisions. They can tell from experience if a certain business idea will succeed or if a new diet will be doable.

To have such a person in your corner can be the reason for your success. You can take advantage of their experience and utilize it in your story to achieve anything.

How to Find Your Accountability Partner

When searching for an accountability partner, you’ve got options. Understanding the different types can help you find the right match for your specific needs.

Types of Accountability Partner

  • Professional Counselor: A professional brings a wealth of experience and can guide you towards balancing your desires, emotions, and logic to achieve your dreams.
  • Experienced Peer: Someone who has navigated a similar path can offer invaluable insights and practical advice, regardless of their age.
  • Colleague: A colleague or peer, sharing your career trajectory and possibly your interests, can offer objective feedback that shapes your professional growth.
  • Friend or Family Member: Choosing someone close ensures they care deeply about your success. Opt for someone honest, even if their truths are hard to swallow.

Each type offers unique benefits, so consider what kind of support you need to thrive.

Choosing the Right Partner

Your task is to find someone who matches your enthusiasm for developing new habits or achieving goals. Compile a list of trustworthy individuals. This relationship should be about straightforward, valuable feedback, not wasting time on casual chats.

When evaluating potential partners, ask yourself:

  • Dependability: Can this person reliably follow through and respect your suggestions?
  • Communication: Are they capable of handling tough conversations without excuses or defensiveness?
  • Vision: Does their broader life vision align with your values and goals?
  • Action-oriented: Are they ready and willing to challenge the status quo?

Be honest with yourself about your own reliability and commitment too. Recognize your past behaviors and current realities to ensure you’re prepared to contribute positively to this partnership.

Consider different venues for finding the right person, whether online or in person—through websites, Facebook groups focused on your goals, accountability apps like coach.me or MyFitnessPal, or local events and workshops.

You can also consider partnering with someone who matches your level of achievement but brings different strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re great at eating healthy but struggle with regular exercise, team up with someone who’s the opposite. This way, you complement each other, enhancing both your results.

Choosing a partner who’s slightly ahead can push you further, fostering a symbiotic relationship rather than a coaching dynamic. With each bringing unique value, forming new habits becomes more straightforward and effective.

Connecting with Your Partner

Once you’ve picked a candidate, reach out and see if they’re interested in forming new habits together as accountability partners. Explain the concept, how it functions, and the benefits you both stand to gain.

If there’s any hesitation, take some time to talk it over and get to know each other better before deciding. This ensures both of you are on the same page and committed to the partnership.


How to Get Started with an Accountability Partner

Starting a journey with an accountability partner is a game-changer. It’s a promise to someone else that you’ll do what you said you’d do. This commitment alone can greatly boost your chances of success. Here’s how to work with the right partner to elevate your efforts:

Step 1: 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.

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 2: 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.

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.

For instance, ‘I will write more kindle books 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.

Step 3: Establish Clear Communication Rules

Set up clear communication protocols to handle common challenges effectively:

Avoiding Imposed Ideas

A big drawback with accountability partners can be them imposing their ideas on you. If you’re not assertive, you might find your work drifting from its original intent under their influence. This isn’t usually intentional, but you’ll need to be firm and confident in making your own decisions.

Handling Disputes

While the aim is to build a strong relationship with your accountability partner, which might even lead to emotional bonds, disputes can arise. It’s not a given that there will be disagreements, but it’s crucial to consider how you’d handle them.

A serious quarrel could endanger not just your relationship but your entire project. Make sure you have strategies in place to manage and resolve conflicts.

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.

Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com

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