What percentage of people do you think achieve their New Year’s Resolutions? 50%? 30%? According to a recent study, it’s more like 8%. So what’s keeping 92% if people from meeting their goals? A big part of it is lack of accountability: they don’t have guidance in place to keep them on track.
Enter: the accountability buddy. Someone whose role is to help you stay accountable to those very goals you’re eager to achieve. But what is an accountability partner? And how does it all work? Today we’ll be diving into just that.
(I’ve been working with an blogging accountability partner for the past five months and it’s been fantastic. Lucy from Lucy Jo Home has been an incredible sounding board, support, and friend, and I feel so grateful to be working with her. Be sure to check out her blog if you’re interested in home decor, family, or faith!)
What is an accountability buddy?
At its core, an accountability partner is someone who helps you keep a commitment. And in cases where both individuals are seeking accountability, both people are responsible for keeping each other accountable. The partnership often includes elements of coaching, encouragement, and guidance.
My accountability partner is specifically for work (blogging), but this isn’t always the case. You can have an accountability buddy for your fitness goals, health goals, or even with trying to cut a bad habit.
What are the benefits of an accountability buddy?
There are many, but here are my favourite things about having an accountability partner.
First, working with an accountability buddy gives you greater incentive to achieve your goals. You’ve committed, out loud, to another person, that you’ll complete a certain task. Now you really have to do it!
Second, your ability to get clear on priorities will improve. If every meeting involves you committing to your next must-do, you’ll be practicing your prioritization and analytical skills. And you’ll get better at time management, since you’ll get into a habit of figuring out what you can realistically accomplish in each “sprint”. (Looking for more guidance on how to prioritize? Find advice here and download your free worksheet!)
Third, you benefit from having someone on your “team” with whom you can share your goals and who is rooting for your success. When you’re a solopreneur or working on a project alone, having an extended team is fantastic. It gives you someone to bounce ideas off, commiserate with, and celebrate with. This can be a great morale boost.
How do you find an accountability buddy?
There are several ways to find an accountability partner. Here are some ideas:
A colleague, mentor, or even your manager.
In the community
Others in the same network where you’re looking for accountability. Things like a friend from the gym (fitness goals) or a fellow entrepreneur (business goals). You can also find virtual communities of likeminded people. For example, my accountability buddy and I “met” in a Facebook group for the blogging course we’re both taking.
Friends, family, or your partner. In most cases, I would say these types of people are less ideal as accountability partners since you know them well personally and you may not feel as compelled to stick to your check ins and commitments.
This article from Ali Davies has some great ideas about how to go about assessing accountability partners and finding a good fit.
How and how often do you meet?
The frequency and format of your meetings should reflect what works for you and your accountability partner. I meet with mine once a week via phone call (since we’re in different countries and time zones!), and that works really well. It’s often enough to keep us accountable, but gives us enough time between meetings to make some headway. Each call is about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the day.
How do you structure your conversations?
While sometimes our conversations get a little off track, we try to cover these three areas:
- Sharing a highlight or win of the week. This often includes talking about following through on the to-do from the prior week.
- Talking about a lowlight or challenge of the week. If we didn’t meet our goal set out the prior week, we’ll talk about it here and work through the challenges that led to us not being able to follow through.
- Sharing our goal for the next week: one to three key items we commit to having completed by the next meeting.
How do you stay accountable?
Much of staying accountable, at least for me, is achieved by simply committing to do something. By telling my accountability partner that I’ll have something done by the next week, I feel compelled to follow through. I also find it to be relatively easy since I’m blogging full time and have the capacity to do these things.
Another part of staying accountable is making sure that at every meeting, you’re checking in on whether the goals from the prior meeting were met. If not, talk through the barriers that prevented success and how you can break them down for next time.
Having an accountability partner can really take your output to the next level. Have any more questions about how it works? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer! And please feel free to share any additional advice you have about accountability – I’d love to hear it.