“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
— Pearson’s Law
When most people think of accountability partners, they cringe.
It feels like a lot of work. It feels hard, but it’s not. It’s essential to making extreme progress in your life.
It’s also very easy. Something you can do in less than 2 minutes per day.
In this short article, I’m going to explain what makes a great accountability partnership.
I’m then going to break down a very simple way you can do daily accountability with your partner in a way that is motivating but not overwhelming.
Obstacle #1: Looking for the Wrong Thing
The #1 mistake people make that stops them from starting an accountability partnership is thinking that they need to find someone with similar interests or goals as them.
That is totally bogus.
It’s actually better to have someone who isn’t doing the same things you are. The purpose of accountability isn’t shared interest, but shared accountability.
It seriously doesn’t matter what your accountability partner is trying to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never met them in person.
The only thing that matters is finding someone who will hold you accountable.
Find someone with the same level of ambition and desired accountability as you.
Obstacle #2: Losing Momentum and Quitting
Once you find someone who wants the same level of accountability as you, then you need a simple and fast system.
Daily accountability is the best way to form a habit and rhythm with your partner.
If you try to do weekly, you’ll likely lose track or forget.
You don’t want to lose momentum.
Aside from getting obsessed with finding the right partner, the second biggest mistake is losing momentum before you even start.
Daily accountability is essential.
It’s how you get into a rhythm and stay on track. That’s the purpose of accountability. It’s not about friendship. It’s not about kinship. It’s not about fun. Accountability is about getting results in your life.
Do you want results? Or are you just looking for a friend?
Accountability partners will become some of your best friends, but only because you are pushing each other forward.
The purpose of the relationship isn’t to be friends.
It’s actually almost better if you choose someone who isn’t already your friend. The sole purpose of the relationship should be accountability.
Obstacle #3: Trying to Do Too Much
In the book, Atomic Habits, James Clear wisely shares a principle he calls “the art of showing up.”
He tells the story of a man who wanted to establish a habit of going to the gym every day. So he spent the first six weeks limiting himself to only five minutes in the gym.
He’d go to the gym every day for five minutes, and then force himself to leave!
Why wouldn’t he just stay if he was already there?
Because he wanted to establish the habit of just showing up.
As Clear states,
“You cannot optimize what you don’t have.”
People focus too much on the end-game, rather than starting. Most of the friction to success is getting yourself going.
So, rather than being overly ambitious — your accountability partnership needs to be extremely low friction and easy.
It shouldn’t take more than two minutes per day.
Here’s how it works.
2-Minute Daily Accountability
Every morning, shoot your accountability partner a text (or email if that’s preferred), stating your three goals for the day.
At the end of the day, you report how you did. In addition to reporting on your “big 3”, you should also list the three things you’ll do the next day.
Then the next morning, you re-list the same things you did the night before.
The reason you want to report your results for the day and list the three things you’ll do the next day is that it removes decision-making the next morning.
These two texts messages should take you less than two minutes to type out per day.
Here’s what mine looks like with my accountability partner. As you’ll see, my partner’s contact is even named in my phone “DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY”:
Friction-Free Weekly Accountability (Optional)
Once you master the art of showing up with these daily texts, you may add in a weekly element.
Every week, on Sunday nights, in addition to reporting on our “Daily 3,” we also list our “Big 3” for the following week.
Here’s what it looks like:
Friction-Free Monthly Accountability (Optional)
In addition to daily and weekly, you may share your monthly goals with each other. This is optional.
Again, don’t go overboard before you get started.
It ‘s powerful to share your monthly goals with each other, but don’t bring these into your daily accountability.
The purpose of this type of accountability is consistency and lack of friction.
However, sharing big picture goals with each other can be powerful.
Remember: the accountability partnership is intended to serve you, not you serve it.
Here’s a quick snapshot of a monthly goal set:
Conclusion: Pulling It All Together
Every day, my accountability partner and I send two texts to each other.
At the beginning of the day, we simply list our three objectives for the day.
At the end of the day, we report how we did (e.g., 2/3) and then list our three objectives for the next day. We do this to eliminate decision fatigue and set ourselves up for a powerful morning routine.
Once per week, we share our three objectives for the week, and at the end of the week, we report how we did on those objectives (e.g., 3/3).
Every month, we share our monthly objectives. We also do a 30–60-minute phone call to discuss how our month went.
In the past month, I’ve overcome bad habits and emotional blocks that held me back for a really long time.
The core purpose of accountability and reporting your progress is awareness. You can’t improve what you’re not actively aware of.
This is the reason most people never become excellent at things. They don’t track and report their progress, daily.
If you want to become successful in any area of your life, you need to measure and report how you’re doing daily.
This will force you to focus on it.
What you focus on expands.
Your greatest asset is your conscious awareness.
When you become conscious of something and then aggressively seek improvement in that thing with tangible goals and reporting of progress, your momentum will skyrocket.