How to create a social support system and accountability system for reaching your intentional lifestyle goals
This is the fifth article in my 5 Key Principles for Intentional Living article series. This article provides strategies for creating a social support system and accountability system that will support you in reaching your intentional lifestyle goals.
Self-motivation is hard, Procrastination is easy
It’s easy to justify getting other stuff done before tackling the harder stuff that will move you toward your intentional lifestyle goals.
In the beginning, you may be inspired to take steady action toward your planned goals. However, as we all know, life tends to get in the way. The day to day stuff is always there to be done. Our attention is easily pulled to other people or things demanding our attention.
Dedicating and setting aside blocks of time for working on the actions that move us toward our goals is a good first step, as discussed in my article: Time management hacks for achieving what matters most.
A strong social support system is important
To create momentum for consistent daily action requires the support of our social support system. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that we are the average of the five people we hang out with. If you want to create a specific lifestyle for yourself, it helps to hang out with others who are either on the same path as you or who already have attained that lifestyle for themselves. In general, it is also important to spend time with people who are positive and uplifting, and who support you in achieving what you want in life.
In addition to a strong social support system, selecting one or more people to form an accountability system can go a long way toward motivating us to take action toward achieving our goals.
My positive little circle
This may sound harsh, but I have broken up with friends because they tended to be more negative than they were positive. For me, life is too short to spend it with someone who primarily complains. I much prefer spending time with people who are positive and who are inspired to learn and grow. Even better, is to spend time with people who are supportive of my dreams and who are reaching toward their own dreams. We can be mutually supportive of each other.
I am an introvert, so I tend to not need very many close friends. My circle of close family and friends is small, but it meets my needs. Each person in my circle is a positive force in my life. I get energy and joy talking with or spending time with my peeps.
I’m much more likely to do what I say I’m going to do, if I share what I’m going to do with an accountability partner or networking group. I am lucky to currently have a wonderful networking group, also called a mastermind group, that holds me accountable every week. We call ourselves the Accountabilibuddies. Once a week, the four of us schedule an online video conference. We share our accomplishments from the week before, our challenges, and our goals for the coming week.
Each time I tell my group I’m going to get something done by our next call, I get it done. Sometimes this means working late the night before, but I get it done. There is something about having someone else there who knows what I promised to accomplish, that motivates me.
In the past, I have also used an accountability partner. This has also worked well for me. Sometimes the structure is a weekly phone call, or a weekly email.
Create your own strong social support system and accountability system
Here are some steps to creating a strong social support system and accountability system.
First, take action to surround yourself with a supportive social support system. Take a moment with pen and paper and answer these questions:
- Who are the five people you spend the most time with?
- Who are the 5 people you’d like to spend more time with? Who gets you and supports your lifestyle goals?
- What steps can you take to spend more time with those you listed from b.
Next, establish an accountability system with one of the people in your support system, or someone who is just a peer. See if they would be interested in being an accountability buddy with you. Sometimes, it is better to have an accountability partner who is a peer or someone who does not know you on a deep level. Reach out to someone who you know is also working toward some big goals or lifestyle changes.
If you’d like to create an accountability group, you could reach out to several people you know who are working toward big goals. Alternatively, send me an e-mail if you are interested in being matched with an accountability buddy or group. If I get enough interest, I will match you up with one or more people.
You can come up your own ground rules and structure once you have connected with a buddy or formed a group, but here is some guidance for you:
- Determine how often you will meet. I highly recommend weekly to keep momentum with your goals and your relationship with your buddy or group.
- Choose whether to meet in person, using video conference, over the telephone, or via email
- Create an agenda for each meeting. I recommend covering what was accomplished since the last meeting, sharing any challenges, and then sharing your goals for between now and the next meeting time