One of the best decisions you can make if you want to achieve your goals and build better habits in 2020 is to seek accountability.
The Cambridge dictionary describes accountability as ‘the fact of being responsible for what you do and able to give a satisfactory reason for it, or the degree to which this happens.’
Often, we’re the worst judge of our own behavior. We accept weak excuses from ourselves, simply because it’s quite convenient.
Too quickly do we persuasively talk ourselves out of doing the things we actually need to do because we accept our own limiting beliefs, fears, and excuses.
Precisely for that reason, we need to get an accountability partner. Someone who sets a high standard and who won’t let us off the hook easily. Someone who supports us in the process of achieving our most worthwhile goals.
What Does An Accountability Partner Do?
The job of an accountability partner is to check up on your progress, make sure you’re doing what you said you were going to do, support and motivate you, and overall help you towards achieving your goals. This is, without a doubt, one of the best steps you can take in your journey to success.
When you try to go at it alone, you set yourself up for failure. With no one watching your progress, actions, and goals, you are much more likely to slack, procrastinate, and make undisciplined decisions. It’s when we know that other people are ‘watching’ us, we raise our game.
Where it’s one thing to justify our lack of performance to ourselves, it’s an entirely different ballgame when we have to explain it to our accountability partner.
Therefore, when we have to report our actions and results to someone else, we tend to give it more effort. This, in turn, leads to more productive behavior and higher levels of success.
For example, when I had set the goal of gaining more muscle mass, I hired a personal trainer (which is the ultimate form of accountability).
Because of his presence and regular check-ins, I’d go to the gym much more often — even on the days that I didn’t feel like it. I bet that if I tried to go at it alone, I would’ve talked myself out of going to the gym much more often as the consequences would be less painful. Therefore, my progress would’ve been much slower, and my results would’ve been worse.
Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily have to pay someone to get an accountability partner. You can always ask a like-minded friend or colleague to support you. As longs as it’s someone who has a high standard, won’t let you off the hook easily, has similar levels of ambition, and is motivating and uplifting.
Why Social Accountability Is So Effective
Where most of us don’t have that much trouble accepting a lie or excuse we tell ourselves, we do experience much more psychological ‘pain’ whenever we have to confess our lack of action to someone else — especially if we value that person’s opinion.
This is because, as humans, we are social creatures. Especially in the past, our survival depended highly on our social environment. Getting kicked out of the tribe usually meant great struggle or even death.
And even though society has evolved since then, our brain still runs on practically the same software. This is exactly why we’re wired to do anything that protects and enhances our social status. Nowadays, it ensures psychological survival.
This is why we care more about showing others that we’re productive, consistent, and reliable than we care about showing this to ourselves.
Subconsciously, we realize that our social status will enhance whenever others think highly of us. This way, we strengthen our social position within a group or relationship.
At the same time, this means we’d do anything to avoid that others might perceive us as lazy, inconsistent, or unreliable. Merely knowing that you have to explain why you procrastinated or didn’t make any progress can be a strong enough reason to prevent that from happening.
Using The Power Of Environment To Fuel Your Success
By seeking accountability, you create a system in your environment that helps you stay consistent, be more productive, and get better results. And using your environment to your advantage is a much more reliable way of achieving goals and building habits compared to just going at it alone.
Whenever you don’t feel like it, your social environment (in this case, your accountability partner) is there to lift you up and help you get the job done even though you don’t feel like it. On your own, you’d be much more likely to slack, procrastinate, and remain in your comfort zone.
I recommend scheduling a weekly or monthly accountability session (whether online or offline) where you share your progress, results, and goals with your accountability partner. This way, you consistently make use of the power of social accountability.
Now Do It
I highly encourage you to start using the power of accountability to your advantage. Whether it’s a friend, colleague, spouse, mentor, or coach, make sure to assign someone as your accountability partner to guarantee consistency in the pursuit of your goals.
In return, you could be an accountability partner for them. This way, you create a highly motivating and inspiring partnership that will accelerate your path to success.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
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