Help Wanted: Accountability Partner [Official Pain in the Ass, Noxious Buddy, Food Nazi, Workout Junkie, Annoying Sidekick]
Have you ever asked a friend or loved one to hold you accountable for your diet or exercise routine?
How did it work out?
There are a few scenarios I can think of.
Day 1: Everything is butterflies and rainbows. Your Accountability Partner (let’s just say AP) is really strict with you and you are excited about it so you follow through happily. Meals have been planned out and you’re eating healthy, working out regularly.
Week 2 [or insert a small amount of time]: Your body is starting to feel the deficit. You want to eat more or sleep more. You’re tired. You’re hungry. Maybe you skip a workout or you eat something you shouldn’t.
- You’re honest and your AP pushes you
- You’re honest and your AP lets it slide “this one time”
- You’re ashamed and hide the truth
Week 3 [again, your own time-frame]: You either forget or don’t have time to shop and plan meals. There was a holiday or a birthday and you went a little overboard.
- You’re honest, your AP stays tough and you start to resent it.
- You lash out and this may cause some tension in your relationship
- You hold in your resentment and secretly blame your AP for doing what you asked them to do. It leads to unhappiness and the resentment lingers.
- You’re honest and your AP continues to let things slide
- You’re even more ashamed and it’s even harder now to admit your mistakes and get back on track. You say you’re doing well even through the measurements all say you aren’t.
Soon enough you are back to your old ways with or without your AP in your life. Some friendships can become very strained from these attempts, even ruined.
That doesn’t mean your goals are impossible to be successful with a friend, but it’s a whole heck of a lot harder.
YOU need to remind yourself of the commitment and realize a good friend is going to be tough on you because YOU ASKED FOR IT
You need to be honest and own up to mistakes. The act of owning it may help you next time you think about straying.
When things get tough you need to pay attention to your own attitude and emotions. If you feel heated recognize that and ask what it is that’s upsetting you. That you’re not getting your way? Sorry, princess.
Your AP needs to stay tough and remind you of your own commitments
Your AP needs thick skin. Changing old habits isn’t easy and they should be aware of this. By agreeing to be your AP they are on the front lines.
Your AP needs to remember to help you follow through kicking and screaming. A good AP and good friend will help you achieve your goals and not accept excuses.
BOTH OF YOU need to discuss exactly what your goals are. What good follow through looks like. What are the allowed foods and the no-no foods? Make sure your definitions of “healthy” agree with each other. What are some challenges you’ll face? What are the signs of danger? When is it ok to go off-course? Are there cheat meals/days?
BOTH OF YOU should establish some key phrases to help you snap each-other out of a “downward spiral.” That is, if you start getting snotty what can your AP say to refocus you and remind you that they are doing exactly what you asked for?
BOTH OF YOU need to remember that you are friends. If things aren’t working out do the adult thing and have a conversation about it. Is it really worth losing a good relationship over?
SHOW APPRECIATION AND REWARD EACH OTHER ALONG THE WAY
Meeting your goals is important. Your friends are important. Showing appreciation can go a long way and can be mutually rewarding. Don’t expect your AP to take abuse and still want to help you for nothing.
Share your experience with an AP.
What worked well?