Accountability Buddy

January 8, 2011

Right after Thanksgiving, I emailed a friend with a proposition to become Accountability Buddies. We are both actively pursuing lives with big goals for ourselves.

When you are setting out to accomplish your goals, it can be at times difficult to stay on track. How do you stick with those goals and how do you evaluate if those goals are good, achievable progressive steps for you to take? what happens if you don’t meet those goals? what if you need a push? what if you need to refocus? This is where an accountability buddy comes in handy. It’s a bit like having a workout partner I suppose.

Actor, Entrepreneur, Politico, Hooligan

This is Ben. He is my Accountability Buddy and I am his. Ben is an actor, entrepreneur, politico and hooligan. One day you will hear about Ben Whitehair on the big screen, doing an interview on a late show promoting his film and he will appear to be an overnight success, but as just about any overnight success can tell you, it’s a journey that takes years.

So how does this whole Accountability Buddy thing work anyway?

We started by outlining what our big goals are for the year and then set up our 30 day, 60 day, 90 day and 6 month goals as benchmarks. (If you want some good resources on goal planning – check here for 2 guides I find really useful). Ben also recommends these free weekly planners. Next, we determined a regular check in schedule. We opted for 2 weeks and emailed each other our mini goals for the next 2 weeks.

How’s it working so far?

Mikita – So far, so good. Usually a few days to a week before our 2 week goals are due, we email each other reminding one another of the goals we set for ourselves and asking how things are going. This is the time to make note of what you accomplished already and what still lies ahead.

This has also led to moments of discussion and evaluation. I had set one of my first 2 week goals in December to blog once a week. I did not meet this goal. I managed to get 1 post in on December 31st. I reflected on this and thought more about why I wasn’t reaching that goal. Was it a worthwhile goal to have? Maybe I needed to focus on other things and let the blog go for a bit?

I reassessed and determined that I was always just planning to blog with hopes of having something to talk about instead of outlining some topics and setting a schedule. (Like meaning to go to the gym to workout, but never getting your gym clothes, water bottle and towel ready.) So that’s what I did. I changed one of my 2 week goals to set up a list of blog topics to pull from and thought about when during the week I would have a regular block of time I could set aside for blogging. I chose Saturday mornings.

I reached my goal with my first blog post of the new year and my new schedule that has blog topics schedule through March, so with about an hour’s worth of planning last week, I am now set up for the first quarter!

Ben – When you have ambitious goals, having some sort of accountability system in place is imperative. For me, that system needs to include another (or several) human beings to keep me on track. It’s all too easy to tell myself that “I’ll workout tomorrow” but if you have someone you have to report to it’s a lot easier. Beyond that, having another pair of eyes on your plans and goals helps to refine them and keep you closer to your target on an ongoing basis, while building in time to review your own goals in an consistent manner.

Having had an accountability buddy for a few weeks now, I can say that my productivity has markedly improved. I’ve been exposed to ideas that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and taken a closer examination of what I want to focus on than I would have.

Get your own Accountability Buddy

Find a friend or an acquaintance who is at a similar stage as you are. Reach out and ask them if they would interested in being accountability buddies. Set a schedule that works for you and then go with it. If you don’t have someone in your circle of peers, you can reach out to the internet at large by going to stickK. stickK is an online commitment store founded by a Yale professor. stickK uses Commitment Contracts.

I know as we continue in 2011, Ben and I will sometimes be a guidepost, a needed push, a coach, a compatriot, a cheerleader, or a swift kick in the ass for one another.

I would love to hear if any of you have an accountability buddy or commitment contract for goal(s) in your life for 2011.

Love,

Mikita

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