Wellness Accountability Partners: Can a Cohort Keep Us Connected?

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So, you have a dream of being healthier and losing weight, but who’s going to know if you eat a pint of rocky road ice cream and skip your spin class? You certainly aren’t going to rat yourself out.

And yet, reality is important because we know there are many advantages to being strong, healthy and in control of our wellness. So where do you look for help so you can start an amazing health journey?

What about an Accountability Partner?
An accountability partner is a person who coaches another person, helps her keep a commitment and establishes an ongoing, reciprocal relationship. Each member of the partnership commits to helping the other achieve their goals and to be held accountable for their progress toward their own. Teaming up with an accountability partner for wellness can be life-changing for our overall health.

A study from the American Journal of Managed Care showed that weight loss with accountability was successful for duos. In that study, dieters with partners had almost twice as much success losing weight compared to people who went solo. But a good partner is the key to success.
A good accountability buddy holds you responsible for sticking to a plan while reaching goals. While some partners may help you “show up” for your planned workouts, others may help you kick habits that might be compromising your health. If you haven’t exercised in a few days, someone who cares about your well-being may text you to remind you to get off the couch or even knock on your door if you’re scheduled for a joint walk. Having someone alongside us for our health journey makes it harder to talk ourselves out of exercising or convince ourselves that a candy bar might make us feel better.

Differences and Goals!
Having an accountability partner looks different for everyone, depending on needs, goals and schedule, but the overall objective is to help each other achieve success! Choosing an accountability partner is a thoughtful process. Check out these tips for selecting your sidekick.

Similar Challenges and Goals
Finding a fitting accountability partner is a “friend with benefits” (the well-being kind). By partnering with someone who has similar goals, you can better support one another, plus you will be able to develop a sense of friendly competition. A good accountability partner will call you out when you are holding back and question you when you are not showing up with the focus and motivation that you normally carry. Look for someone who communicates in a way that is similar to you, and trust that they have your best interests at heart.

A Comfortable Cohort
A good accountability partner will be respectful of the other person’s needs and opinions, while being trustworthy and positive. You should feel comfortable being honest with this person. Talking about weight, exercise and health can be an intimate conversation, so having a genuine partner on your side can make a big difference, and they should feel the same way about you!

How Will You Communicate?
There are many ways to communicate, such as text messages, phone calls, Zoom calls or in-person meetings. Being intentional about keeping in touch and setting aside time for thorough communication is key to a positive accountability relationship. Choose one or many ways to connect, as long as you do it on a regular basis.

Partner Should Be Present
Out of sight can be out of mind, so getting a partner you can physically meet with is important. For example, having a regular workout partner or someone you can walk with is motivational. This may not be possible every day, but having the ability to be together once a week or more can be reassuring while being realistic.

Communicate Your Expectations
Are you a list person who likes to check off goals and accomplishments? Do you need someone to push you during a workout or when you might slack? Communicate your expectations and needs to your partner so they can figure out exactly how you want them to help you and vice versa. You and your partner should be able to talk freely to one another so that you both can realize results.

Is a Group Better for YOU?
While one accountability partner works for many, some people may find strength in numbers. A small or large group setting made up of friends, family or colleagues may be appealing. Sometimes a supportive group can offer diverse options or ways to reaching your fitness goals.

An old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” An accountability partner can set you up for more significant gains in the long term. Choosing the right one can lead to a long and healthy journey together.

Sources: weightowellnessllc.com, inc.com and getmotivatedbuddies.com.