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The Benefits of an Accountability Partner

Several years ago, an acquaintance of mine, Joan, told me that she does squats every single day. Without fail. Now, this may not seem like a big achievement to some, but Joan happens to be 92 years old. And she looks fabulous!

I decided, on the spot, that I need to do squats every single day, if for no other reason than to look and feel as good, in my 90s, as Joan does today. I figured I’d start with 25 squats/day and then work my way up to whatever number was achievable to my, then, 62 year old body. Here’s the thing, though: doing anything consistently, every day–especially something new that may not be much fun–can sometimes be a challenge. And if we’re talking about squats, well . . . I’m sure you get it.

So I got an Accountability Partner, and it made all the difference. Here’s how it works:

After telling my friend Gina about Joan, she was equally inspired to get back into a daily exercise routine. We agreed to hold each other accountable for our individual fitness goals. Every morning, as soon as I finished my workout (which then included 25 squats!), I’d text “Done!” to Gina. When she finished her workout, she’d text me back. On the days when I felt like I didn’t have time, or I felt especially lazy, I’d remember Gina and how it would look if she didn’t get my daily “Done!” text. That’s all it took. I always found the time and always had enough energy to do what I promised to do. Hence, the magic of the Accountability Partner!

The daily “accountability check-ins'' stopped when they were no longer necessary. Twenty-five squats eventually increased to anywhere between 80 and 100 each morning. Two years later, squats are part of my daily routine, and they’re as natural to me as brushing my teeth. It actually feels good to do them. The best part? I know that consistently doing exercise is a gift to my future self, and that’s the person for whom I feel most accountable.

Recently, I decided to embark on a professional development goal–one that I’m super excited about, but also one that will take a great deal of time, effort, and mental energy. So, it’s only natural that when I recently set this high-bar goal for myself, I reached out to my friend Gina to see if she’d like to collaborate again. Turns out, she also has a semi-lofty goal and was immediately IN! I feel lucky to have such a supportive friend.

We’ve already had a few check-ins, and things are going great. . . Look out, World, here we come!

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