Accountability Partner And How To Pick One

Accountability Partner

Yesterday I was on the couch watching Netflix as usual when my mom asked me “So how are your Spanish lessons progressing?” I had to admit that I had made little progress.

6 months ago in a flurry of goal setting productivity, I had mentioned that I would be learning Spanish. I had planned a vacation to Spain and always wanted to learn a foreign language. With my vacation canceled, I lost the motivation. Yes, I know better than to rely on motivation when I preach How To Get Stuff Done Even When You Don’t Feel Like It. An Accountability partner would be great for such situations.

What is An Accountability Partner?

Accountability partner is another person with similar goals as you. And you both have mutually agreed to support each other to achieve your desired goals.

With an accountability partner, you both each agree to meet regularly. Share progress updates, provide feedback, brainstorm how to overcome your challenges.

Accountability is a mutually beneficial relationship and an excellent way to conquer your goals.

You might already be having an accountability partner without even realizing it. Or formalizing the relationship.

A gym buddy is the most common example of an accountability partner.

Usually I would not like going to the gym by myself. Because my gym buddy would be there; I would make sure I don’t skip any gym days.

Once in the gym, my gym buddy and I would spot each other when lifting weights. Motivate each other to lift more every session. Talk about our workout goals. Discuss our nutritional challenges. Share tips and tricks to control food cravings. Provide advice on nutrition timing and appropriate macro-nutrients to support our long term goals.

Why Do You Need An Accountability Partner?

Not everyone needs an accountability partner for all activities. But if you are struggling with a goal; an accountability partner can make it easier.

I am quite disciplined in areas I enjoy such as Finances. I rely on checklists such as the Financial Freedom Checklist to keep myself on track. But in other areas, I need an accountability partner.

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” 

Stephen Covey

The benefits you get from an accountability partnership are

  1. Accountability partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship.
  2. It is the best form of social peer pressure. It keeps you committed.
  3. You get motivated by watching your partner tackle their goals.
  4. Your performance will improve. Knowing that someone is counting on you will make you work harder.
  5. You have an opportunity to coach another person and receive feedback.
  6. Unlike mentors who are at a higher level, your accountability partner is your peer. And is going through similar challenges.
  7. You can learn from each other’s successes and failures. Learning something new leads to growth.
  8. They can understand your hopes, fears, dreams and goals better than anyone else.
  9. Accountability partnership doesn’t cost you anything.

How To Pick your Accountability Partner

Ideally, it would be someone who is tackling the same goal as you.

But often it is hard to find others working on a similar goal and starting at the same place as you.

When selecting an Accountability partner you need to make sure that both of you are on the same page.

Characteristics Of A Good Accountability Partner


You should feel comfortable with each other. Especially when you confess that you have not achieved what you had committed to do.

Calls you out

While you want someone nonjudgmental; you also do not want someone who accepts all your excuses. They should be able to call you out when you have done what you are supposed to do.

Complimentary Skills

Going back to my fitness example; I have more knowledge on nutrition. And my accountability partner knows more about working out. In this manner our skills are complimentary to help us both achieve our fitness goals.

Uncovers Blind Spots

When tackling goals, we are often deep into the weeds and can’t see something which is glaringly obvious. A good accountability partner should help us uncover our own blind spots.


A coach is an individual who knows what may come easily to them would need a greater effort on your part. They should be able to share their lessons learned.

I am able to eyeball my food and can approximately know how many calories I am eating daily. My gym buddy may not have the same skills. As a good accountability partner I should be aware of this. And encourage him to weigh all meals till he gets good at estimating calories visually.

We also signed up for HealthyWage. The HealthyWager program is an innovative tool that allows customers to tie financial incentives to their own personal health goals – the ULTIMATE motivation!

Set your weight loss goal (how much you want to lose and how much time you want to lose it). If you hit your goal at the end of your challenge, you win your prize! Why not make money when tackling your goals.


Someone with the ability to motivate you and push you forward would make a great accountability partner. They should understand what motivates you and how to get you across the finish line.

Available for check-ins

An accountability partner should be available for the periodic check-ins at the mutually agreed time. If they are not; then the entire process will fail.

Accountability Partner And How To Pick One

Individuals to Avoid As Accountability Partner

It is best to avoid certain individuals based on the power dynamic.

Work Peers

If you and your work peer are competing for the same goal such as a promotion; then it will not be a good fit. Your focus at work should be to improve Human Capital. Individuals working in other departments might be better accountability partner.

Your Boss

You cannot be vulnerable and honest with your boss. It would affect your performance evaluation and your job.

Your Employees

You will put them in an uncomfortable position. Due to the power dynamic; they would be unable to challenge you.

Your Best Friend or Family Member

This may not be true in all circumstances. It totally depends on your relationship with the individual. Maybe your best friend won’t be comfortable in calling out your excuses. Maybe your family member will not have the skills to coach you in the required areas.

Only you can make the honest choice before you assign your friend or family member the title of an accountability partner.

Where to Find An Accountability Partner?

Now that you have a good idea of the characteristics of a good accountability partner and power dynamics to avoid; let us figure out where to find your ideal accountability partner.

Since your goals need to match; the best place is someone who already is involved in the activity.

With my gym buddy it was easy since I would always go to the gym at a fixed time. When you ask someone to spot you on the heavy lifts; it is a natural fit.

If you go to a spin class or yoga; it is quite likely that many would be in the same class. Once you get an idea of the regulars it should be easy to get your accountability partner.

Since I am learning Spanish using an app; it gets slightly more complicated to find others in a similar situation. Of course, the app does provide support and connections to other people online and that could be one option.

The other option would be to choose my mom. I did mention to be cautious of family members as accountability partners. But, looking back I now realize that my mom has always been my “de facto” accountability partner. While both my mom and dad had impressed upon me the need to pursue education and get a “useful” degree; it has always been my mom holding me accountable.

Simple activities such as validating my homework after she came home from work. Or making sure my brother and I have tangible summer assignments during the holiday break. This ensured that we kept moving forward towards our educational goal.

For now I designated my mom and will need to let her know to check-in on me periodically.

How To Get Started With An Accountability Partner?

Define your Goals

Make sure you and your accountability partner have a clear vision of what you are trying to accomplish. Break it down into weekly or monthly goals.

Make sure you define SMART goals.

Specific – What needs to get gone

Measurable – How will you know it is done. Is there any objective measure of what “done” means?

Attainable – Can you achieve it in the defined period. The goal should be challenging enough to push you. But not audacious enough that it is not attainable. This will lead to frustration and abandonment of the goal.

Results based – The goals you chose should provide you with the necessary results to make your life better.

Time bound – It is good to have a realistic time-frame to achieve the goals

Norming session

Agree how often you will meet, what will you discuss when you meet, what is the level of support you need. Set expectations with each other on what help you want your accountability partner to provide.

Provide Feedback

Provide honest feedback on how the accountability partnership is working out for you. Do you need more space or you need to pushed more? Similarly, check the needs of your accountability partner often.

This is an ongoing progress and needs to happen on a regular basis.

Track Your Goals

The goals you defined at the onset of the accountability partnership need to be revisited periodically. Are they still relevant? Do they need to change?

How To Be A Great Accountability Partner?

Evaluate if you are exhibiting all the characteristics of the good accountability partner defined above.

Be open for feedback if your style is not working out and you need to change.

If your accountability partner decides that they need a new partner, don’t take it personally. This is specially true if you asked a friend or a family member to be your accountability partner.

Final Thoughts On Accountability Partner

Accountability partner offers a lot of benefits when tackling a challenging goal. If you have not used one in the past; I highly recommend this approach and turning it into a mutually beneficial relationship.

Everyone needs an accountability partner. Often we make grandiose plans. It could be in the form of new year resolutions such as I’ll get in better shape this year. Or it could be milestone goals such as I’ll visit 3 more countries by my next birthday. What ensures progress is someone checking on you periodically as making sure you are on track.

Since this is a Financial blog, I want to circle back and check how is everyone doing with their Financial goals. While money mantras work for some individuals, I prefer an accountability partner.

Have you determined by now what should be your nest egg to live off your passive income? What is your plan to accumulate assets and close the gap between your current nest egg and the desired nest egg?

In the spirit of accountability; go ahead and forward this email to someone with your goal. Ask them to be your accountability partner. Could be your spouse or partner. Or even a friend you trust.

And if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your financial dreams with others; drop a note in the comments or reply to my email with your goals.

I am happy to be your accountability partner. Let’s help each other move forward!

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