Do You Need an Accountability Partner or a Cheerleader?


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It has been shown that having an accountability partner when you are reaching for any type of goal can increase your odds of successfully reaching that goal.

This post is Day 3 of 31 Days to Better Nutrition. One key that helps me stay on track with my eating plan is to have people around me who can help me stay strong in the face of temptation.

Casual Accountability

For some things I have an official accountability partner and other times it’s not so official. For example, I try to steer clear of processed sugar. Once I get started with “just one piece” or “just one bite” it starts a vicious cycle for me. It happened to me a couple of days ago. One little piece of Halloween candy out of an innocent looking pumpkin bucket at work and before I knew it I had eaten 5. I only stopped because I finally realized what I was doing. I announced to my group of coworkers that the next day I would eat NO candy and they could hold me accountable. They not only held me accountable but one of them joined me in the challenge to avoid the candy. Sometimes I have to put a safety net of accountability in place for times when my willpower peters out.

The Accountability Partner

Other times we need a more official accountability partner for a level of accountability that goes deeper than the example above. What exactly is expected of an accountability partner? Is it just another glorified word for a cheerleader? Is it someone in your corner cheering you on? For real success it needs to be more than that. There are some specific things that are needed when you are choosing your accountability partner.

You need someone who’s not afraid to ask the tough questions.

There’s always a place for the cheerleading and high-fiving in an accountability partnership, but to be effective it needs to go deeper than that. Have a conversation with your partner early on about how you would like them to handle it when you slack off. We usually start strong when we’re excited and everything seems possible. But when real life creeps in, your partner needs to have permission to help push you beyond the obstacles and excuses. Have a conversation ahead of time about what that would look like. Talk about what barriers you might face and about how you want them to call you on it if you aren’t doing what you committed to.

 Mutual Respect

We walk a fine line when we push someone out of their comfort zone. Start off with ensuring that the partner you choose is someone you respect and someone who respects you. You want them to ask the tough questions but you don’t need them to police your every move and make you feel bad about your progress.

Personal Accountability

You can’t use your accountability partner as your excuse for why you didn’t achieve your goals. Your partner can be a powerful asset to keeping you headed in the right direction but you can’t afford to allow them to derail you either. If your partner goes on a two-week vacation, you should not take that as your excuse for eating pizza and bon bons every night. Stay on track and have a great report to give your partner when they return.

You may need more than one

Depending on your goals you may need more than one accountability partner. You may have a friend coaching you on your fitness but they may not be the best person to help you with your nutrition. It’s a beautiful thing where we can find someone who

This post is day 3 of 31 Days to Better Nutrition. You can see a listing of all the posts so far by clicking here.


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