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Should You Have an Accountability Partner?

Do you struggle to follow through on your goals or find yourself regularly falling short of your expectations? If so, you may benefit from having an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who supports you to keep a commitment to a desired goal. This person is often a trusted friend or acquaintance who will check in with you about your progress in a particular area.

Sharing your goals and plans with an accountability partner can provide you with the external motivation to tip the scale toward success. When we are accountable to someone else, we are more likely to take action and remain focused. This can be a game changer when it comes to reaching your goals, especially academic ones like beating procrastination, spending more time studying, hitting milestones for major projects, or cutting bad habits!

Accountability partners can be one- or two-way relationships. In a one-way accountability partnership, one person acts as the "accountability partner" while the other person is the "accountability recipient." In a two-way accountability partnership, both individuals take on the role of being.

What Is an Accountability Partner?

A good accountability partner is someone who helps you stay on track for the goals and commitments you make to yourself. They can help you with discipline and motivation when you’re distracted or have fallen off-course.

You can meet with your accountability partner in person, virtually, or both. There are even different types of accountability software, such as surveillance apps that track your internet use and send reports to a predetermined accountability partner. If your goal is to spend more time on schoolwork and less on social media apps, this method could be useful.

If you're interested in finding an accountability partner, start by looking for someone who shares your interests. This could be a family member, friend, classmate, professional therapist, coach, trainer, counselor, or colleague. You can also join a community of like-minded individuals who are all committed to achieving similar goals.

Accountability partners can help each other not only with exams but also with studying more regularly, hitting important milestones, overcoming negative thoughts, attending classes or other activities, and making healthy lifestyle choices. By working together, you can provide each other with encouragement and support. 

When searching for an accountability partner, there are a few key things you should look for. Your partner should be kind, trustworthy, motivating, and genuinely interested in helping you on your journey to success. You’ll want to find someone you feel comfortable with sharing your struggles with and receiving feedback from.

Benefits of Having an Accountability Partner

An accountability partner can be useful to just about anyone, particularly for those who struggle to stay on course with their goals. One of the most significant advantages is their added motivation and support. Academic life is often challenging; having someone to count on to push you can be incredibly valuable. 

When you have an accountability partner, you have someone who is invested in your success and will encourage you to keep going even when things get tough. You can bounce ideas off each other, share resources to combat procrastination, discuss learning methods, and learn from each other's experiences. This collaboration will lead to a more efficient and effective approach to success.

Another benefit of having an accountability partner is that it can help you practice social skills, empathy, kindness, and responsibility. When someone else is relying on you to follow through on your commitments, you learn the importance of being dependable and keeping your promises. Reciprocity in this type of relationship will allow you to create meaningful connections with others and learn how to be a better friend, mentor, or supporter to those around you.

An accountability partner relationship can even turn into a great friendship! By working together toward a common goal, you can nurture a bond based on shared experiences and mutual support. This sense of community will inevitably make you feel more included and connected to those around you, which can positively impact your overall well-being. 

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Although accountability partnerships are a great way to ensure success, there are a few common challenges that you should be aware of. One of the most common challenges is finding the right accountability partner. For example, you may set up a relationship with a stranger and find that you don't get along well or aren't compatible. In such cases, it's best not to waste time and instead opt to continue searching for an accountability partner who offers you the right support.

Another common mistake is not having a trial period before agreeing to an accountability partnership. It's important to take the time to get to know your potential partner and understand their work ethic and communication style before committing to a long-term arrangement. This trial period helps you determine if your partner is reliable, honest, and someone you can trust. 

Differences in schedules are another common obstacle to success when it comes to accountability partnerships. It's essential to establish recurring times to connect and talk with your partner. You may have to adjust your schedule slightly to accommodate each other and ensure regular communication. Having a set schedule for check-ins will help you stay accountable to your specific goals. 

Setting up an Accountability Partnership

Once you’ve found the right person to be your accountability partner, the next step is to get the partnership started. There are specific steps you’ll need to keep in mind to ensure success.

1. Both partners need to agree on what they're working toward. The goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, and achievable within a realistic amount of time. Defining clear goals will help keep you both focused and motivated toward achieving them. 

2. You should agree on a regular cadence of meetings where you update each other on how you're doing, share ideas, and give feedback to your partner on their progress. The frequency and timing of these meetings will depend on the objectives and availability of both parties.

3. You need to agree on tasks to be completed before the next meeting. These tasks should be challenging yet achievable and designed to help you to move closer to your goals. 

It's important to find a communication method that works for both of you to hold you accountable for meeting your deadlines and making progress. Some people like to communicate by text or via a social media platform, while others prefer phone calls or in-person meetings. Find a method that works for both of you and stick to it.

Partnerships are most successful when each member has a similar schedule so that meetings can be mutually convenient. The frequency will depend on the objective. For example, if you're studying for an exam that's a month away, you might want to meet once a week. If the exam is only a few days away, you might want to meet every day. 

Setting up an accountability partnership can be a highly effective way to achieve your goals. By following the steps outlined above, you can start on the path toward a productive partnership that helps you stay motivated. Many WGU students pursue program mentors as accountability partners and have found it to be a valuable tool in their academic success! WGU program mentors help students set goals, create action plans, and stay on track, ensuring that they remain focused and motivated throughout their academic journey at WGU.

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