While going through any sort of change is indeed a personal experience, there is deep value in sharing what is unfolding in your life with an accountability buddy, or better yet buddies. Whether you are embarking on significant personal change or simply adopting a new habit, having someone to communicate with about what you are experiencing will enhance your progress exponentially. An accountability buddy pushes you to take responsibility for the choices you make.
Therefore, it is truly vital to establish a support system and ideally in the form of a designated “accountability buddy” to be able to express in words how your life is transforming and to listen to others’ insight on their own progress. Having the opportunity to see things from a different perspective allows for a deeper awareness of ourselves and the people we connect with. And the ability to look at the bigger picture in any situation is in essence the ultimate state of being we should all be aiming for, to begin with.
Why having an accountability buddy counts…
When you can communicate your progress to someone that is supportive it helps to solidify the new actions you are implementing in your life. Having an understanding ear to discuss any challenges or frustrations you may face is therapeutic in itself and in many cases through discussing the situation alone, solutions can be found.
The best-case scenario is to have an accountability buddy that is going through a similar transition themselves in which case there is the unique opportunity to serve as a sounding board for one another to understand the methods that work best for you and to learn what has been most successful for them. Having a greater understanding of any process will allow you to continually optimize it, which is exactly how to reach you’re A-game in anything you do.
Awareness is the key to optimization
With an accountability buddy, you get to check in regularly and discuss the finer details of whatever it is you are embarking on to an eager and attentive audience. Many of us tend to hesitate to share the truly intimate details of what we struggle with, whereas when we are obliged to do so you will be surprised at just how gratifying an experience it is.
So, you not only get to consistently and thoroughly delve into discussing the new practices you are including in your life, but while doing so you will also be strengthening your relationship with both yourself and your accountability buddy. Through the opportunity of exchanging successes and ideas, you get to learn about what clicks for some people and why. And this knowledge alone is priceless for improving in whatever new challenge it is that you have set for yourself.
Reap the social benefits
An “Accountability Buddy” can be anyone, however, it does need to be someone that will be there for you to hold you accountable to your new task but in an approachable, friendly, and encouraging manner, in other words; as a peer. Hands down the best way to benefit from an accountability buddy is for everyone to actually be implementing the very same challenges.
However, if not, and even if your accountability buddy is not necessarily a peer, what matters most is that the exchange is nonconfrontational and devoid of a judgment of any kind. The communication should be intimate and solution-based and the exchange kind and non-performative, ie. real. See this as an opportunity to divulge your true authentic self to another and you will begin to crave the sessions you share together. And remember that after all being social, in any of its forms, is a significant contributor to our overall happiness and well-being.
Schedule in accountability buddy sessions
In practice, an accountability buddy could be one or more individuals that are actively making positive changes in their lives. Ideally, you would be scheduled to meet up at least once a week at a specific time and place, in person or online. Setting aside an hour is a good chunk of time to allow for truly exploring the methods you are both applying and their positive effects or challenges. Allow yourself to be open and honest and keep your comments directed at being supportive and offering constructive criticism. Trust me, the benefit of this mutual exchange will be multifold with rippling effects into many other areas of your life.
Your accountability buddy can be a complete stranger or a lifelong friend. Perhaps you are part of a personal development coaching program or maybe you simply want to start a morning walking routine with a friend. Either way, you will definitely see the benefits of this consistent communication that in many cases will involve discussing and tackling topics that go way beyond the initial task at hand.
The topics that can end up being discussed are limitless and you end up forming a unique bond with the people you sound off your ideas with. From the practical to the incredible, a discussion of how to best plan your day the next day, and for example, which tool or notebook to use in which to do so, could very well lead to a discussion of parental control and ways to prevent it to traditions of other countries and personal family stories told by your new accountability buddies. When you are open to vocalizing your ideas and advice and are willing to take the time to listen to others, you will see that the possibilities of connecting on a truly deeper level become endless.
Find the accountability format that works for you
While the best opportunity to truly engage with an accountability buddy is through a specifically-designed program aimed at encouraging such connections through time-blocking consistent sessions into your weekly schedule, there are multiple inventive ways for anyone to establish their own accountability routine.
From joining a club or course to simply establishing a walking or yoga pal, the possibilities are endless to hold yourself accountable to following your new guidelines in life. In many countries now there is ParkRun for example, which is a 5km walking and running event held every Saturday morning and includes a 2km spin-off for children. The social and community aspect of the event alone has been cited by many to be the driving factor they have adopted this as a new exercise regime.
If it is being more productive at work you seek then why not join an online co-working community or connect to other remote workers in the virtual world through programs such as Flow Club. Another creative way to solidify your intentions on your own is to use programs such as the Lazy Jar app, where for example if you are seeking to exercise more, you can set up your Fitbit with your credit card details that will make a donation to a charity of your choosing on your behalf should you veer from the target.
Celebrate your own and other’s successes!
The bottom line is, while we are all making individual changes in our lives, we do not have to do so alone. We all have room to change and incorporate constant improvements into our lifestyles and there is no greater joy than sharing those accomplishments with others and celebrating someone else’s success. Through the process, you gain greater insight into your own mindset and that of others, which is an awareness that will guide you to the best practices for your life. To be encouraging and to receive support in a mutual exchange is one of the highest forms of connecting with another being. Why not let this opportunity for further learning and growth be an integral part of any new habit or healthy practice you intend to make a part of your life.