Habit Hack: Find accountability buddies and grow together
Humans are social creatures, so why do we so often try to achieve tough personal goals alone? Sure, we can hire language tutors or personal trainers to help us learn or get fit, and in some cases it’s important to work with an expert. But when it comes to other forms of self improvement, such as waking up early, getting more steps, reading more books, or cutting back on needless spending, why don’t we take advantage of the support and encouragement that can be offered by others?
One reason may be personal shame at being unable to do such “simple” actions without a babysitter. However, all it takes is a glance at any of the dozens of subreddits devoted to self improvement to see that you’re not alone in finding it tough to make personal changes purely through your own motivation. Maybe you’re not into posting to online forums, but the good news is that there are lots of ways to get accountability from others to help you achieve your goals. Here are some things to try.
Announce your goals in public
Whether it’s via a platform like Facebook or Instagram, or just in a group chat with your friends, telling others about the habit you’re trying to build is an excellent start to better accountability. Not only will you likely get a nice mood boost from the positive feedback people send your way, but you’ll also be setting yourself up to ask for a bit of encouragement when things get tough. You might even find others in your social circle who want to join you in your quest. Up the ante, literally, by using a platform like stickK or Beeminder to put some bucks behind your commitment to your goal, and share a public link to let others follow your progress!
Join a group dedicated to your goal
This can be online or off, depending on where you live and how comfortable you feel with meeting strangers. Lots of folks find the consistency of participating in a writing group or a morning running club to be the key to getting started and actually continuing with a new habit. If you prefer virtual interactions, plenty of Reddit subs host weekly accountability threads, and there are dedicated forums to every habit under the sun if you spend a little time Googling.
Schedule a work session with a stranger
Sometimes the obstacle to sticking to a new habit is that you haven’t scheduled time for it, and even if you’ve got it on the calendar, nobody will know if you decide to skip it and scroll on TikTok instead. That’s where virtual accountability platforms like Focusmate come in. You book a time and duration suitable to your task, get matched by video call with a total stranger who’s also in need of a partner, and tell each other what you plan to accomplish. Schedule an early morning session each day to ensure you’re out of bed on time for a morning walk, or once a week to keep on top of your bills and budgeting, and you’ll find it much easier to stick to than being accountable to only yourself. (And yes, it may feel weird to work silently with a stranger’s video displayed on your screen, but rest assured that they’ll be busy slaying their goals, too!)
The next time you want to start a new habit, remember that you’re not alone! Friends, family, classmates, and colleagues are forming new habits constantly, and you’d love to support them if they gave you the chance, right? So, give them the opportunity to encourage you and celebrate your success by including them in your new change. Happy habit-ing!