When you’re on the path to becoming healthier, there are always going to be obstacles that will trip you up. Perhaps your office is always stocked with tasty treats, or you’re super busy chasing kids around and you don’t have time to work out, or you’re tight on money.
Buying healthy foods may seem too pricey and too time consuming to make it work. A trip to McDonalds or Burger king is surely the easier route to take! These obstacles are the exact reason why you need an accountability partner.
What Does an Accountability Partner Look like?
Accountability partners can motivate and support, but how much motivation or support is given depends on the person as everyone has different needs. Some people need a motivator who is going to pep them up when they are feeling down and others need someone to kick them in the butt and get them out of bed for a morning run.
It is true that there are some days when we need to be pushed, and some days when we need to feel the support and told that it is okay to eat that brownie. A true accountability partner will be able to determine the best approach to take to keep us moving down the correct path.
The biggest misconception about accountability partners is that they are just there to judge you when you mess up. This could not be further from the truth! A true partner will be there when you mess up and encourage you to get back in the game. If you were planning on being perfect on your road to a healthier lifestyle you wouldn’t need to be held accountable anyway!
But Who Should I Get to Be My Accountability Partner?
- Spouse- For some people a spouse works extremely well, since they are around you a good bit and know better than anyone else what your strengths and weaknesses are. It is also a great way to bond with your significant other and a wonderful way to spend extra time with them.
- Siblings- For other people siblings are ideal, there is nothing quite as motivating as sibling rivalry, even if you are in your 20’s, 30’s, or beyond. Having four siblings of my own, I know how well this works. There have been days when I’ve gone out for a run only because I saw my little sister had already logged in a run for that day.
- Friends– Friends work the best for others. They are encouraging and are well trained in picking you up when your feeling down.
- Children- You can even use your kids to keep you accountable, just be wary as kids are likely to say exactly how they feel without any sugarcoating!
In all honesty anyone will work! As long as they are willing to push you when you need a push, cut you a little bit of slack when you need a break, and encourage you when you’re feeling unmotivated.
Why Does It Work?
Accountability partners work so well because peer pressure works. It’s very easy to justify to yourself the extra three cookies, but try selling it to your accountability buddy! Not so easy now is it?
As humans we are keenly aware of how others view us. A disapproving look can go a long way, as well as an encouraging comment about how good you look. I think everyone has probably experienced a situation where you are less inclined to go up for your third doughnut because the box is sitting in the middle of the room and everyone has seen you go up two times before.
As long as you are willing and able to reach out for help an accountability partner will definitely make a huge difference for you.
I’m a chocoholic to the core and I’ve had days where I could down a whole box of chocolates on my own. whenever I start feeling temptation I try to tell my husband (The Fiber Guardian Himself) to either keep an eye on me or hide the chocolate. He has literally hidden chocolate from me so I don’t overdue it on the sweets!
Recognizing the cues to when you’re about to make a big mistake is important, and even if you do mess up (which everyone inevitably does, see How To Survive A Lousy Dietary Decision) you can try to learn from that experience and learn to read the signals that are harbingers of trouble.
Teamwork and sharing a common goal also has a big part to do with accountability partners working so well. The power of teamwork is not something to ignore, as you’re much more likely to succeed in a fitness goal if you have someone else to push your limits.
My Personal Accountability Experience
As I said before, I have four siblings and when it comes to health & fitness my younger sister is always pushing me. She is upping her game constantly! She even convinced me to run my first 5k, introduced me to coconut oil, and just makes me want to try harder in general.
Although we never sat down and discussed being each others accountability partner and what that entails, it’s an unspoken understanding that works well, most of the time. There are occasions when I wish that she’d just be lazy and eat fast food so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about it, but it truly does help to have her to keep me motivated and moving forward in the right direction.
My husband has been incredibly supportive throughout our marriage with fitness and health. It took us a little while to get in the habit of working out regularly but now it is so ingrained in us we feel lazy if we go a day or two without sweating!
Living together gives you an understanding of how a person functions and we can tell when we’re grumpy simply because we haven’t pushed ourselves physically.
For us the harder part is eating healthy! And we honestly try to keep each other accountable but it’s still a learning process. The important part is that we keep trying and supporting each other even when we do mess up.
I hope after reading this article you feel inspired to find a buddy and go for a run or eat a healthy meal. It’s amazing what teamwork can do and if you don’t have somebody you can look to to hold you accountable I challenge you to go find someone, I promise you’ll be better off for it.
Do you already have an accountability partner? Is it working for you? Let us know in the comments below!
–The First Lady of Fiber–
Miranda Ring is a creative and passionate old soul. She enjoys frisbee, crocheting, and playing guitar. She is the video production director of www.fiberguardian.com of which she creates videos and blog images. She enjoys every minute she gets to spend with her husband working on these projects. For more on her projects check out her Etsy Page!