Accountability is the quality of demonstrating integrity by sharing relevant details about your life with appropriate partners so that you can better achieve your goals and obligations.

Who Might Be a Good Partner?

What you want to see is an array of trusted friends who can help you succeed in life and whom you can also encourage and build up. You could find a good accountability partner in any of these existing relationships:

  • Spouse
  • Friend
  • Neighbor
  • Parent
  • Brother or sister
  • Member of your church
  • Colleague at work or via a professional network
  • A trusted friend on social media

You might have different accountability partners for different areas of your life. For example, you might have a partner that you share your exercise and fitness goals with, and you might have a different partner to help you win with your money. You could have someone else help you with spiritual or work-related commitments.

Be careful about enlisting people who know you perhaps too well. They might not be objective about your successes and failures. They might have emotional or other obstacles—possibly influenced by your past failures—that would prevent them from assisting you. Close family members and friends also might not want to hurt you with the truth and so would hold back necessary correction.

How to Ask Someone to Be a Partner

How you approach someone to be a partner depends on the level of accountability you are seeking to establish. Having someone simply receive status reports from you would be different than someone you invite to evaluate your progress and ask questions. So think through what you are asking the person to do so they can make a wise decision.

You could approach a prospective partner by saying, “I am working to [describe your goal]. May I give you regular updates on my success to encourage me to persevere?” If you want them to evaluate your progress and ask you questions, be sure to make that clear to them. Specify also how often you would expect to talk about your commitment and if you’ll meet face-to-face or via some other means.

Evaluate the relationship after a month. Is the person available, reliable, and responsive? Does the partner treat this as a priority? Are they being helpful to your progress? If your partner consistently fails to meet expectations, you may need to find a different partner who is more committed and/or compatible.

Do More with Others

Working with a good accountability partner can bring you many benefits. Gather a team of supporters who will help you succeed and accomplish your obligations and goals.