You know that sticking to your plan is the key to success. You also know how difficult it is to fight doubt, excuses and procrastination : since you set your goal in private, nobody is going to blame, dismiss, encourage, congratulate you if you fail or succeed. To increase the chances of following through with your action steps, you need an accountability partner – a goal buddy.
First, a brief definition :
A goal buddy is a person who helps you stay committed to your goal by keeping you accountable. He will check your progress, provide positive reinforcement, play devil’s advocate or reprimand you when necessary.
A goal buddy doesn’t have to be a close friend or a member of your family. He can be a colleague or former co-worker, or somebody you only meet online. The important thing is to find a person who not only agrees to be your goal buddy, but who has set his own goal and wants you to be his goal buddy.
Both you and your buddy need to take your partnership seriously and get together on a regular basis to check each other’s progress, set deadlines, review accomplishments – and celebrate them.
Easier said than done. When you go public with your goal and ask your friends to hold you accountable, most of them will say «Great, I will !» and never give it another thought… unless you remind them of their promise. Now, this is NOT what a goal buddy is supposed to do.
When you start looking for an accountability partner, the fist step is to make a short list of people who may fit the definition. The following «do-not» rules will help you brainstorm your list and filter potential goal buddies BEFORE sharing your intentions.
1. DO NOT discuss your goals with just anyone.
Going public with your goal can be a disappointing experience (trust me, I know what I’m talking about), and you don’t need that right now, when your self confidence is still unsteady.
All your close friends and relatives most certainly love you and wish you the best. But some of them don’t strive to reach higher. Some live in the past (« I could have done this or that…»). Some live only in the future (« As soon as this or that happens, I will… »). Some others have problems finishing tasks and sticking to plans… Because of their own shortcomings, their subconscious mind cannot accept to visualize you as a successful person. Even if they don’t mean any harm, these people will try to drag you down and sabotage your efforts.
The keeper. Share your goals ONLY with people who have good results when faced with important choices, who can show you how to bring out your best, who are as «goal minded» and as serious about self growth as you are.
2. DO NOT announce your goal and action plan as accomplishments.
Going public with your goals gives you a «premature sense of completeness». Research has found that whenever an intention is acknowledged by others, your brain sees it already as a «social reality», even if the goal is far from achieved. Therefore, you are less motivated to follow through your action plan.
The keeper. Always announce your goals as challenges. Keep in mind that goal setting is not the solution to a problem, only the hypothesis. You still need to carry out the experiment before drawing the conclusion.
3. DO NOT consider that your goal buddy’s only raison d’être is to hold you accountable.
You must play the same role in his or her plan of action. Remember : you are partners, you swap services, you share your goals. This means you also share moments of frustration, steam loss, self sabotage. So make sure both of you are equal to the task.
The keeper. Don’t forget to be your goal buddy’s goal buddy. Having an accountability partner is like getting two birds with one stone. The first and obvious benefit of this partnership is the extra strength it will give you to accomplish your goal.
But there is also a second, greater benefit : working with a goal-buddy will boost your self-esteem, by proving yourself a reliable team-player, able to provide support to someone else during bad times and to celebrate with him during good times.
Having a goal buddy not only helps you become successful, it makes you feel you deserve to be successful.
Go to Part II :
discover the guidelines to a successful goal buddy system.
Your thoughts and experience about
choosing a reliable goal buddy.