I bet you have a few things you want to do and several goals you want to accomplish. You know what you want, you know what you need to do, but somehow things just do not get done.
If this scenario resonates with you, you might miss a crucial element in your life: accountability.
Accountability could be defined as the state of being responsible for one’s actions, thoughts, and emotions.
There are two kinds of accountability: internal and external. Internal entails being accountable to oneself, while external means is being responsible to others.
You exercise your internal accountability by committing to yourself and what is important to you. You promise to yourself to take some steps towards your goals and get stuff done.
However, we all are human. We tend to procrastinate, have lazy days, busy schedules, bad moods, or lose motivation.
As we encounter these mental obstacles, the chances of hitting a specific goal increase significantly if we combine our internal accountability with external accountability.
Many people shy away from accountability because it sounds demanding and stressful. However, you can add accountability to your life in a fun and exciting way by finding an accountability partner.
Who is an accountability partner?
An accountability partner is a person with whom you share your goals and your progress towards those goals. An accountability partnership is usually a mutually beneficial relationship, and it's your job to ensure that your partner stays committed to his/her own aspirations.
Most people find it easier to keep a promise to another person than to themselves. And that is the real power of having an accountability partner. It's great to know you have someone there that is counting on you to take action.
You and your accountability partner don’t need to have similar goals and interests. Actually, you can learn more from a person with a different background and skill set. You can ask your friend, family member, coworker, or even an acquaintance to be your accountability partner.
A great accountability partner is reliable and committed, with the same level of ambition and desire to be held accountable. Your partner will remind you to stay on track with your goals and encourage you to follow through on your plans. They will cheer you on so that you can remain committed but will also call you out for slacking off or getting distracted.
How to work with an accountability partner
It's up to you and your accountability partner to decide what kind of support each of you needs and how you want to stay connected. You can exchange text messages, speak on the phone or meet in person.
Most importantly, you need to regularly check in with one another to see how you are progressing on your tasks or goals. Some people prefer weekly check-ins, while others check in with their accountability partners once a month.
I prefer checking in with my accountability partner daily. Every morning I send a text sharing how many goals I accomplished the previous day and setting three to five new goals for the day. My accountability partner sends me a similar text with her progress and daily goals.
It feels nice to have someone to share with that I have accomplished my daily tasks. At the same time, it's helpful to have support if I start feeling overwhelmed.
How to set accountability goals
My daily goals usually comprise the tasks that require my focus and not the ones that are "automatic" and easy to do. I break down big goals into smaller tasks that I can get done during the day.
My daily goals may have specific outcomes, for example, finish a report. Alternatively, they can be defined by the time I'd like to spend on each task, for example, write for two hours.
My daily goals are usually challenging but not overwhelming. I admit that there are some days when I don't complete all the tasks on my daily accountability list. However, as I reflect on my daily progress, I become more aware of how I allocate my time during the day.
Since I've started working with my accountability partner, I feel more motivated and productive. I genuinely appreciate my progress towards my goals and the encouragement I get through the accountability relationship.
Accountability can be used as the catalyst for achieving your goals. When you have someone to stay accountable to, it will make you more productive and focused on the most critical tasks. You are much more likely to take action if someone is taking note and tracking your goals while also cheering you on along the way.
“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
Thomas S. Monson