I’ve been using accountability groups for a long time – especially to accomplish my business goals as part of a Mastermind group. I figured I could apply the same accountability practices in other parts of my life, and started a fitness accountability group about 5 years ago.
Because I have a small group of people holding me accountable, I find myself less likely to let others down and more likely be buoyed by others' successes. It’s not an accident that even after two kids I can still fit into my clothes from high school! =)
My results are backed up by research. A 2005 study by the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that individuals with an exercise buddy who successfully lost weight were more successful as well.
The benefits don’t stop there. When you say yes to accountability you:
- Get off the procrastination roller coaster – When you’re held accountable, it’s great motivation to stop putting things off.
- Get more done – You will not only stop procrastinating but you’ll be propelled to do more and do it well.
- Get solutions – You have the benefit of some else’s perspective to give you ideas and brainstorm solutions that get you over a hump.
- Get motivated – You and your partner will be creating synergy, which means you’ll be inspired to do even more!
Accountability is a useful tool because we are essentially hardwired to seek the “easy way out” whenever we can. Who hasn’t been tempted to skip a workout or pick up takeout for dinner?
That’s where having an accountability partner or group comes in. When you know you have to publicly report on your progress, you are much more likely to come to the table with good news.
Groups such as Weight Watchers work for so many people for this reason. But you don’t have to join a formalized group to get accountability. It can be as easy as finding just one or two friends or acquaintances – a woman from your mom’s group or your neighbor down the street – and forming your own group.
What to look for in an accountability partner/group
When you’re seeking a partner or group, you want to be sure it’s a good fit
- Availability & Reliability: You’re looking for support, so you want someone who is willing to be there to tell you to put down that Oreo and who won’t forget your workout date.
- Honesty: You want someone who will be honest with you and call you on your “stuff” when you’re not staying true to your goals.
- Similar goals: If you want to run a half marathon and your partner is trying to lose 50 pounds, do you have enough commonality in your goals to actively support each other?
Once you’ve got your accountability partner or group, then it’s time to get to work!
- Set expectations: What kind of support do you want? What don’t you want?
- Create consequences: What happens when you skip a workout? Do you owe your partner a latte? $20?
- Mark your calendar: Set regular times to check in with each other, either in person or online.
Motivated? Good! Now go out there and find yourself an accountability buddy!
Sources: (linked above)