You know the saying: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Or something like that. And long, perilous journeys can be difficult. They’re physically taxing, and mentally, too. But you know what can make a long journey easier, or at least more bearable? Bringing someone along with you—like an accountability partner.
Just imagine “The Lord of The Rings” with no Fellowship — only Frodo! It would be pretty boring…and Frodo definitely wouldn’t have made it to Mt. Doom. Instead, he brought along an accountability partner—numerous accountability partners, in fact.
Since getting your finances in order is a difficult, arduous task, it can be a good idea to assign yourself an accountability partner. While it’s no hike to Mt. Doom, you’ll be glad to have someone to lean on.
Why do you need an accountability partner?
As mentioned, becoming financially literate, and getting your financial life in order, is not going to happen overnight. There will be times where you want to give up, throw in the towel, or make an unwise financial decision—we all do it. But that’s where your accountability partner can come into play.
So, just what is an accountability partner? It’s a person who you will trust that can be a source of ideas, competition, and encouragement as you work toward achieving your goals. And you will do the same for your partner, too—that’s important to remember.
Together, you and your accountability partner will support each other, have regular check-ins to gauge your progress, and keep encouraging one another. It’s similar to a mentor-mentee relationship, but better! You’re both, in effect, leveraging peer pressure to improve yourselves.
Finding an accountability partner
The most important factor when deciding on who your accountability partner will be is whether you trust them. What you need to trust them to do is to actually hold you accountable to your goals, too, not merely let you slide when you get off track, or are feeling lazy.
Who can this person be? It’ll depend on you, your relationships, and your preferences. It may not be a good idea, for instance, to pick your brother, who is a notorious flake. Or even one of your close friends that constantly needs to be reminded of when to show up to class.
That’s not to say that it can’t be a trusted friend or relative, though. Or even a mentor! The most important thing you should look for in an accountability partner is that they care about your progress. There are times when this person is probably going to draw your ire (they are going to be pushing you, after all!), and they need to be okay with that.
Supporti, a company that provides accountability services (yes, that’s a thing!), actually conducted a survey to try and find out what qualities were the most important in an accountability partner to respondents. Here are the results:
- 80% said that someone who cares about their progress was the top quality they look for in a partner.
- 79.6% said trustworthiness is another important quality.
- 77.8% responded that a partner who gives positive reinforcement is near the top of the list.
- 66.5% added that having a nonjudgmental partner is critical.
- 64.2% said they want a partner who gives good advice.
- 48.9% of respondents said that dependability was a key trait, too.
Your accountability partner needs to be more focused on helping you achieve your goals than making sure that you’re always pleased with them. It’s not an easy task.
And remember, this goes both ways. If someone asks you to be their accountability partner, you should consider whether you’re up to the challenge of ensuring that person hits their goals. Because that’s the job!
If you’re having trouble finding a partner, or aren’t sure there’s anyone that is up to the task, let us know! The Money Vehicle team can substitute in—after all, seeing you reach your financial goals is our job!
How to use your accountability partner
Practically, how can you use your accountability partner? It’ll be up to the two of you, ultimately, but the important thing is to open the lines of communication, leave them open, and to be there when the other person needs you. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Stay in touch, and be transparent
Perhaps more than anything, you need to let your partner know what you need. You also need to be open to what they need, and do your best to deliver on it. If you’re outlining specific outcomes (for example, you don’t want to spend any money on take-out for a week), they need to know about it, so that they can keep you accountable. Of course, you want to be open and honest with them, too, if you fall short and end up at the Pita Pit late Friday night.
Test and push each other
You should be setting some type of goals against which you can measure your progress. You should also be an encouraging, positive voice in your partner’s ear helping them reach those goals. But you may want to go above and beyond, by testing their limits, and pushing them to go beyond their goals—within reason, of course.
For instance, if your partner’s goal for the week is to avoid making any purchases on their phone, why not push them—dare them, even—to see if they can go two weeks? Who knows—maybe after a couple of weeks, they won’t be so keen to let their streak drop, and will keep it going?
If your partner fails or otherwise comes up short, though, you should be empathetic to their plight. Pick them up (figuratively), dust them off, and send them back out there. You’re their partner, and their success is your success!
Prioritize, and track your progress
Finally, you should make sure that your partnership is a priority, as is reaching the goals you’ve set out for yourself. If it becomes clear to your partner that you aren’t taking things seriously, or seriously enough, it can sour the relationship. You want to avoid that.
Also, make sure you’re tracking your progress. Write things down. Use an app. Have daily or weekly check-ins with your partner. Whatever you need to do, just make sure you’re keeping track so you can tell if you’re getting closer to your goal!
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