How to Achieve Your Goals with an Accountability Partner

How to Achieve Your Goals with an Accountability Partner
According to DiscoverHappyHabbits, of the Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them by the end of the year. So how do we become part of that successful 9%? I believe accountability partners are the secret to success. 

In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how we can achieve our goals with the help of accountability partners. 

Key Takeaways

We will cover the following key takeaways:

  1. Accountability partners keep us motivated and on track.
  2. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.
  3. Having an accountability partner can increase our chance of success to 95%.
  4. We should find an accountability partner who is reliable, admirable, consistent, encouraging, and brutally honest. 
  5. It can be a good idea to create consequences if we don’t meet our goals and rewards if we do. 

The Benefits of Accountability Partners 

For many years, I wanted to do a triathlon, but I never consistently trained enough that it was feasible for me. However, a few years ago, I found a few friends that were also training for a triathlon. They agreed to train with me and be my accountability partners. 

The first thing they had me do is purchase the registration for the triathlon months ahead of time. This way I knew I had to hit my goals. Then we set up recurring patterns where I would train and prepare for the event. This became the time in my adult life when I’ve been the most successful at reaching my fitness goals consistently and I completed the triathlon. I had a lot of fun doing it and I credit that success to my accountability partners who helped me through that process. 

Accountability partners help keep us motivated and on track. When we have someone there pushing us and giving us deadlines, it makes it easier to get things done than if we were doing it alone. 

Nika Stewart, an entrepreneur, set a goal for herself to double the sales of her business, Laptop Mom, an information-product consulting firm. To help her reach her goal, she decided to find an accountability partner. 

She said, “Through [my accountability partner’s] input, challenges and encouragement, I ended up taking a small piece of my old business and turning it into [a] new business — Ghost Tweeting, a social media service for small businesses. Within four months, I was earning multiple six figures — quadrupling my income.” (Source:

The American Society for Training and Development found that publicly committing your goals to someone gives you at least a 65% chance of success, but having an accountability partner increases your chance of success to 95%. When we have someone on our team with us, we become much more likely to achieve our goals. 

Thomas Monson, a church leader, said, “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.

When performance_Blog

Having accountability partners helps us avoid making excuses. It’s important that we pick an accountability partner who calls BS on us if we get off track. George Washington Carver said, “99% percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”  

99 percent _Blog

Picking an Accountability Partner 

When choosing an accountability partner, the first thing we should look for is a reliable partner we admire. If we admire them, we’ll be much more likely to keep our commitments, so we don’t harm that relationship with that person. 

It’s also important that we find a partner who can be brutally honest with us. If we’re failing or we’re making excuses, they need to call us out on it. If we get someone who lets us go all the time, we won’t be on track with reaching our goals. 

A partner that has strengths where we have weaknesses will help us be successful. Instead of finding someone who’s exactly like us, we can find someone who can fill in our weaknesses and make up that difference. 

It’s also very important that we find a partner who is excited for us and will root for us. It can’t be someone who will give up part way through the process; they should consistently support you in reaching your goal. 

Margo Aaron, the founder of Argotics, and Pam Yang, the founder of Dear Zero, bonded at a business-building event over their struggles to grow their marketing startups. They met up and decided to become accountability partners because they both had similar goals. They set out expectations and decided they were a good match. 

They weren’t friends previously so they also knew they could be objective and honest with each other. Then, they set a specific time to meet together. 

“I immediately liked Margo and only more so after our first meeting, but even after that we were very honest and said we’re not sure how this will work or if we’ll get value out of it, so we both started with a clear understanding that this was a test,” Yang said. “Everyone’s style and personality is so different, it’s important to find someone who works with yours.”

(Source: Insider)

It’s very important that we set clear expectations with our accountability partners just as Aaron and Yang did. We need to walk them through our goals and make sure that we are on the same page. It’s also important that we have scheduled check-in times when we meet with our accountability partner. This way we don’t forget or push off our meetings. 

I have an accountability mentor right now and I meet with her about every other week. I have a meeting coming up with her on Thursday and I haven’t done everything that I committed to do. My goals are right in the front of my mind, giving me motivation to make sure I get those things done before I meet with her. 

It’s also a good idea to track our goals. If we can’t meet in-person to give the accountability partner an update, we can make time for a phone call or text message. When we track our goals, it makes it easier to watch our progress and find areas we can improve on. 

One thing that’s worked really well for me is to create a consequence. If I don’t meet this goal, I will do X. For me, it tends to work well if it’s a financial goal. It can often be really good if we also create a reward, some benefit or prize, that we get when we achieve those goals.

I hope that as you’re setting new year’s resolutions, you’ll consider finding an accountability partner to help you achieve them. If you want to increase your chance of success up to 95%, finding an accountability partner is important. You can be an accountability partner for them and help them achieve their goals, and let them be an accountability partner for you and hold you accountable to radically increase the chance of your success. 

Next Steps

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    About the author

    Nathan Gwilliam

    Nathan Gwilliam

    I help organizations navigate tectonic shifts that are transforming the business landscape, so they can optimize marketing, accelerate profits, and make a greater difference for good.

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