So much of life is as simple as doing the things we know we should do. So often, however, we make it so much harder than it needs to be with avoidance, distraction, and perfectionism.
Having an Accountability Buddy is sort of like taking out an insurance policy. You are planning ahead to make it harder to avoid doing the things you know you should do, knowing there will be times when you lack motivation. If this sounds like something you would benefit from, (and trust me, you would,) then you have stumbled upon the right blog. I am here to help you hold yourself accountable, and there is no better way to start than with the nitty gritty details of what, exactly, an Accountability Buddy is and why you definitely need one.
So, what is an Accountability Buddy?
An Accountability Buddy is a person who helps make sure you do the things you know you should do.
Why do you need an Accountability Buddy?
We need Accountability Buddies because none of us are perfect. You are probably aware of this because you have felt the effects when you sit on the couch for an hour doing absolutely nothing, segment your laundry into “clean” and “dirty” piles rather than actually putting it away, or put off grocery shopping all week because you just don’t feel like going. So many frivolous tasks occupy our lives and our brains, and avoiding the ones we do not want to do is far too easy. Even the most disciplined among us cannot be at 100% all the time, and this is precisely where your Accountability Buddy comes into play.
What makes a good Accountability Buddy?
Accountability Buddies are split into two categories: Buddies with similar goals, and Buddies without similar goals. If you find yourself skipping out on the gym too often, and you know someone who also wants to exercise more, you can use these similar goals to hold each other accountable by going together or ensuring you both go by, for example, requiring the other to send a daily gym selfie.
Buddies without similar goals can come in many forms:
- Someone else who needs an Accountability Buddy: You can still help hold each other accountable, even with different goals!
- Someone who cares about you: A friend, family member, or significant other who cares a lot about you will probably be excited to help you succeed.
- Someone responsible: Most of us have at least one friend who just seems on top of things. They make for great Accountability Buddies, when they have the time.
- Someone who pesters you: Everyone has a friend or family member, they can count on to pester them when they’ve been slacking. Their persistence makes them a very effective Accountability Buddy.
- If you want a more professional relationship with your Accountability Buddy, I can be your Accountability Buddy! Well, I already am, but if you message me on Instagram, I can offer more personalized help and reminders.
Hopefully, someone came to mind as a good candidate to be your Accountability Buddy.
How it works
There are many different ways an Accountability Buddy can effectively hold you accountable, and the best method largely depends on your relationship with your Buddy. Hopefully, the examples will help you think of a method that will work for you and your Buddy:
- Do it together: This works well for those Buddies who share similar goals. I used this method when I set a New Year’s Resolution. I committed to reading more, and so did my brother and two of my friends. We created a group resolution and touch base at the end of each month, tracking the number of books we read in an app.
- House call: This is when you ask your Buddy to check on your progress after a certain amount of time and is flexible, but works best with someone comfortable nagging you. A friend of mine recently needed work done on her car, but kept forgetting, or, at least allowing herself to believe she forgot. She came to me, asking me to make sure she got it done by the end of the week. I texted or called her at least once a day, effectively annoying her into getting it done.
- X, Y, and Z: This method involves using plans to incentivize work completion, or, in other words, completing X and Y before your Buddy allows you to do Z. This works best when you see your Buddy regularly and with infrequent tasks. I typically do my dishes each night, but on one especially busy night, I let them pile up for several days and become unsightly and a little smelly. Since I live alone, I spend a significant amount of time at an apartment a few doors down the hall, where I am friends with all four residents. In our group chat, I asked that they not let me in until my dishes were done and the counters clean. At the onset of loneliness, I got to work.
- Swear Jar: You have probably heard about the ambiguous swear jar, in which you are required to deposit a quarter or a dollar upon each instance of using foul language. This method is based on the same concept, and works best when either (A) your Accountability Buddy is forgetful or unreliable or (B) you ignore the house call or ditch your XYZ plans in expert task avoidance. If you tell your Accountability Buddy you will Venmo them a dollar (or ten) each day they don’t receive a gym selfie from you, you’ll be a lot more inclined to make it to the gym, and they’ll notice if you don’t.
The reality is, we all live different lives with unique responsibilities. A real life Accountability Buddy is personalized and, yes, able to pester you. Don’t worry, though– I’m not going anywhere! I will continue to help you hold yourself accountable with once-a-month posts that I hope will give you an extra boost of motivation. And in between, I hope my Instagram posts disrupt your addicted scrolling with helpful reminders.
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