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.
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.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Accountability Partner?
- Why Should You Have an Accountability Partner?
- Qualities of an Accountability Partner
- Types of Accountability Partners
- How to Get Started with an Accountability Partner
- The Bottom Line
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:
- 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
- Budgeting and Saving
- Home organization
- Learning Development
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 get you re-motivated. That’s beautiful.
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 fault in your work.
Valuable Support and Advice
If you have ever undertaken any project from start to finish, you will understand why support and advice are such important factors. When I say any project, I mean any project at all. It could have even been leisure painting with crayons!
There are typical times where things start to get rough, and your thinking becomes cloudy. Many people are even close to giving up on everything and letting the whole project explode – I’ve been there. This point is a very delicate position as that can signal the end of the project if not properly managed.
Enter, accountability partners. They just never stop advising and supporting you in these trying times. Knowing there is someone that is constantly waiting on you to succeed and proving it with their actions is enough to drive you to success.
Note that this support and advice is not just for when you are down and low. Even after scoring huge wins and breakthroughs, you need someone to celebrate with. You need someone to be happy with. You need accountability partners.
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.
Drawbacks of Having an Accountability Partner
Imposing Ideas on You
One of the major cons of having accountability partners in them imposing ideas on you. If you are not very assertive, you will find yourself being swayed left and right. Worse still, some people may find their work losing all originality because of the imposition of the will and ideas of the accountability partners.
This is not saying these partners do it deliberately, as it may be genuinely unintentional at times. Whichever way, you need assertiveness, firmness, and the ability to make the final decision yourself.
Quarrels and Disagreements Can Be Damaging
Building a great relationship with accountability partners is definitely the goal. It may take months or even years, but the result is usually beautiful. Many people, in the course of working with accountability partners, even develop emotional attachments. While all these seem totally fine, there’s a problem – potential quarrels and disagreements.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying there will be quarrels and disagreements – I am saying, what happens if there are? Any quarrel or disagreement could signal not only the end of the relationship but the end of the whole project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Types of Accountability Partners
Now that you know the basics of what an accountability partner is, it’s also important to know the different types of partners you can choose from. This gives you the freedom to find someone that’ll fit your preferences or specific goals.
A professional is always a great way to find guidance in any field. They have a ton of experience that you can greatly benefit from to accomplish your dreams. They know how to help you find balance between your wants and needs, as well as between your emotions and your logic.
Senior Who Had a Similar Journey
Having a person who’s been through similar experiences as what you’re currently going through can be great, as they can give you proper tips for success. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be older than you; it could be someone younger who simply has more experience in a certain area.
This is another great idea for an accountability partner as a colleague or peer is going through a similar career path as you and may have similar interests. Having someone provide feedback from a neutral perspective can help you shape your career effectively and be better at work.
Friend or Family Member
Someone close to you will always have your best interests at heart and be genuinely interested in your success, which makes them a great choice for your accountability partner. Their advice and feedback will always be for your own good. Just make sure it’s someone who is willing to be brutally honest, even when it may cause you temporary discomfort.
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.
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.
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.
The PACT acronym means:
- 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 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.
Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com