It is no secret that the secret to success is to have an accountability partner. In fact, in a frequently quoted statistic, the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that people have a 65% of completing a goal if they commit to someone, and increase your chance of success by up to 95% if they have a specific accountability appointment.
The only issue with this is that no one actually tells you how to find one. I’ve tried many accountability partners to help me with a plethora aspects of my life: exercising, nutrition, projects, etc.. And for the most part, they were failures. My goals were never completed, and they acted more as a hinderance (two lazy people encouraging each other in their laziness) than a real asset. I wasn’t seeing any goal completion of 65%.
But all of this taught me and gave me more experience on how to find a really good accountability partner. By this, I mean the one that inspires you, challenges you, and really pushes you to where you need to go.
In three steps, you’ll get closer and closer to finding your perfect accountability partner.
Step 1: Get in the Room
The first thing that you need to do is get started. Whatever your goals are, just start doing it. If you want to lose weight, go to the gym or start running outside. If you want to learn to code, start doing some exercises on freecodecamp.
Now, you may be asking me, why would I be looking for an accountability partner if I’m already completing my goals?
The answer is you’re not completing your goals. You’re just showing up. And showing up is always the hardest part of completing any goal. But, not only does showing up get you significantly closer to accomplishing your own goals, it puts you in the same room as others who have made this pivotal step themselves.
If you’re exercising, you’re showing up to the gym. If you’re learning to code, you’re showing up to the discussion boards. If you’re building a business, you’re showing up to the meet-ups and online communities.
Let’s be honest, your friend sitting on the couch right next to you eating Cheetos and binging Netflix will probably not make the best gym partner.
I’ve tried partnering with so many friends in the past to start exercising. What ends up happening is we may go a couple times, but eventually one day they don’t want to go. Then the next day I don’t want to go. Then we just stop going altogether. They never helped me succeed in a consistent gym habit.
Contrast this with first going to the gym yourself. The gym is filled with people who have already taken their first steps towards achieving their habits. Take note of the regulars you see in HIIT (high intensity interval training) class. Ask the people at the free weights for some weightlifting plans.
Build relationships. Find a partner.
Step 2: Be Vocal
So, you’ve completed Step 1. You’ve started going to the gym or learning to code or signed up for an account on Medium. Now, you need to share the good news.
Share it with everyone. Slip into conversations how you compiled a list of recipes in order to start your new smoothie diet. Or the topic of the last blog post you just posted.
I promise you, most people won’t care. And you’ll see their disinterest on their face. But there will be a small segment who does. But if you followed Step 1, you’ll be in a room where there’s a higher concentration of people who care.
Stay alert and be attentive to those who are really interested in what you do. You can tell this by the type of questions that ask. Are they taking your words at face value or are they digging deep into your thoughts and strategies? Are they giving you constructive feedback and advice on how to improve? Even better, are they sharing their own experiences in the subject matter?
The last point is a nice to have, but not necessary. I don’t believe that your accountability partner needs to be pursuing the same goals as you. As long as they can challenge you on your own goals, they’ll be great.
When I told a coworker of mine that I started blogging, she became a real asset in providing feedback on my tone of voice and writing style. And every time we would have time to chat, she would check up on how I was doing and keeping up with my posts. She organically became a partner. But if I had never shared with anyone that I was blogging, I would never have found her.
Step 3: Become an Accountability Partner
While you’re going around having these conversations, I hope the talks are going both ways. You should listen to what’s going on in their lives, as well.
I don’t believe that you should fake interest in people’s lives. If you’re not interested, then that’s fine. An accountability partnership will have to work both ways, so you need to have as much interest in them as they have in you.
In general, you should look for people whose stories inspire you and make you feel excited to help them achieve their goals. Again, they don’t have to be pursuing the same goals as you, but both of you should have the same passion for each other.
Now, that you’ve found that potential match, you can spark an accountability relationship by first being an amazing partner yourself. Check in on them from time to time and ask for an update on their goals. Keep them accountable for actions that they have stated they would do in the past.
Eventually, they will begin to reciprocate, and BOOM! the initial sparks of a partnership are created. From there, if you choose to make the partnership formal, you can choose a time to meet daily or weekly in order to catch up on each other’s goals. Or you can keep the partnership informal and just check up on each other in normal conversation.
Either way, you’ve found your partner who will actually bring about the success that you’ve been dreaming of.