Who Is Going To Hold You Accountable for Those New Year’s Resolutions?

by on December 30, 2010

Who Is Going To Hold You Accountable for

Those NewYear’s Resolutions?midlife transitions coach talks about new years resolutions

No matter whether you love them or hate them, or whether you usually make them or are avowed to not even consider making them, New Year’s resolutions basically involve the intention of making some sort of change.  Lasting change is not always easy to achieve often causing one to give up quickly on the changes they want to make in their life.  An approach that is beneficial and often can lead to success in making the change you desire is to be accountable to someone for the change to which you commit.  While the thought of being “accountable” to another can in an of itself make many a person cringe, when done with sincerity and true commitment to move forward with one’s life, it can be a valuable addition to one’s experience in the change process.

So, what makes a good accountability partner for one going through change?   Ideally the accountability partner is someone who is not a close friend or relative.   While close friends or relatives may mean well, they often have too much invested in the relationship with you.  They may have their own viewpoint as to what is right for you and not right for you.  Their view may be influenced by what the change you are looking to make will have as an impact on them.   The emotional investment you have in the relationship with them could also lead to exchanges throughout the change process which could lead to an undue strain on the relationship that may not already be there.

Who may that leave as a good accountability partner?   Certainly a coach is an excellent choice.  Coaches are trained to be good listeners.   They are also trained to be non-judgmental when listening to you as you go through the change process.  A coach is going to challenge you against what you have committed to do.   When looking to obtain information from you in terms of your thoughts going through the change process, the coach is going to seek to obtain that information through asking you open ended questions which will lead to you having to provide more detail than just a Yes or No answer.  Finally, since a coaching relationship usually requires an investment of resources on your part, (ie. money, time, exchange of some service for another), your commitment to the process you are undertaking becomes stronger since you have more at stake.

If however, you are not ready to commit to a coaching relationship, there are other avenues of accountability you can explore.  Bonding with an individual who is seeking to make a similar change such as you, may make for an excellent accountability partner.  In sharing your change experiences together, you can spur each other on.   An exchange of ideas may lead to one of you providing an idea to the other that helps each of you meet your goals.  While the other person may be your accountability partner, you too get the experience of being an accountability resource to your partner.  And, the relationship may actually spur a bit of competition between you and your accountability partner as you look to reach your respective goals.

A variation of the individual accountability partner which is gaining more and more popularity is to form a team of individuals, (perhaps in a group of approximately 4 to 7 people), to form what is known as a Mastermind Group.  For those unfamiliar with Mastermind groups it is a variation of the old saying “Two heads are better than one”.  In this case, each member of the group benefits from the collective wisdom of the group as they are going through the change process.   Issues are shared, a variety of solution types are suggested, and the person going through the change has the benefit of the wisdom of multiple viewpoints.  Much like the one on one accountability relationship, the key is seeking out individuals with similar interests and make sure all are committed to both helping the others in the group along with receiving help for yourself.  A coach can often be helpful with this dynamic if hired to be an independent facilitator to help run the group and keep it on track.

Whether you choose to work with a single individual, a team, a professional coach or a support group the key message to consider in making those 2011 changes is to not look to go it alone.  While independence is indeed admirable, and ultimately your success toward accomplishing those changes in your life does lie with you, to keep that which you desire all to yourself is not always the best.   When you lose your way toward what you are looking to accomplish there is no one to help set you back on your way.  While you may be a very bright individual and know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, you are losing out on ideas and thoughts of others which may appeal to you as you are making the changes you seek.  Most of all it is very easy when the change you seek to make gets tough to accomplish to just back away and give up on making the change you desire.   Backing away could be a proper decision toward that change you thought you desired.  However, having your support team (or support individual), to share with even on that perspective is just another aspect in your favor as you go through the change process.

So, whether you call them New Year’s resolutions, my 2011 goals, or just changes I am seeking to make in my life, give strong consideration as to whom you will use as your accountability support structure.  It may just provide you that extra added boost to achieve the changes you desire in the coming year.

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