Enlist the Help of an Accountability Partner
A great way to make progress toward your alpine goals is to enlist help from accountability partners. Such people can provide much-needed support, encouragement, and motivation when you’re feeling stuck or unsure how to move forward. While a workout partner might meet you at the trailhead to exercise with you, an accountability partner helps keep you on track by discussing how you’re doing, where you’re struggling, and what you want to accomplish. If you’ve been pursuing a goal and you feel your enthusiasm waning, partner up!
Who to Ask
First and foremost, look for someone you trust. The last thing you need is to reveal your dreams to someone who laughs about them or tries to discourage you. You may enlist a friend, family member, hiking buddy, or significant other as your partner, or you may feel more comfortable partnering with someone from the same gym or club who has reached a similar goal to yours and could provide advice.
You might also find a partner through online resources such as Meetup, Reddit, or Facebook groups, forums, or focus groups. In the Pacific Northwest, participating in Mountaineers trips, for example, can be a great way to meet potential accountability partners.
What to Ask For
An accountability partner will listen to you, provide feedback, and help you stay on track. They provide external motivation to complement your intrinsic or internal motivation. I use an accountability partner within the realm of writing. We correspond by email twice a week.
In each e-mail, we share successes from the previous 3-4 days and outline our goals for the next 3-4 days. By writing down such goals and committing to another person, I strengthen my resolve to follow through. I don’t want to let her down or confess that I didn’t do what I said I would. And in return, I offer her the same support and encouragement.
You can do the same for fitness by telling your partner what workouts or hikes you plan to do, what time you’ll go to sleep each night, or how many servings of protein you’ll consume each day – wherever you want to make progress. Accountability partners might also motivate friendly competition. My husband defines competition as “agreeing to perform better,” which is exactly what you’re looking for. Your goal is to support your buddy to meet her movement goals, not necessarily “win” anything or “beat” someone.
When To Enlist Help
Whenever you feel like you’re struggling or want added positive pressure is a good time to get help. Starting, you might feel like you need to check in with your partner every few days as you build a habit, then shift to weekly or monthly. If the first person isn’t a good fit, keep searching until you find someone who is. Remember that coaches, mentors, and teachers are usually paid, while accountability partners are free. Be sure to exchange equally so the relationship does not become one-sided.
Why Partner Up?
We are stronger in collaborative relationships than we are working by ourselves. It is harder to break promises we make to others we trust and respect than it is to break ones we make to ourselves. Commit to your partner, add your accountability practice to your calendar, follow through, and get to work making changes. Remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!