it, and think of all the reasons why it makes sense to let it. This could be where we let ourselves off the hook, when we are attempting a challenge on our own. But this time, someone asks you how you’re doing.
Or this time you have a scheduled appointment and questions are going to be asked. Or someone sends a private message in your FB group, because they’ve noticed you haven’t been as active as when you started out. There are several ways people choose to respond. Some may choose to ignore the inquiry. Some may choose to reschedule the call. Some may go ahead and respond, but the response may be preplanned with the litany of reasons WHY following through on this challenge isn’t going to work either.
If one chooses the last route, an effective accountability partner will not allow the person to bow out (provided moving forward will not be spiritually detrimental, physically cause them harm, or be psychologically damaging). This is where we have to WANT someone or a group of someones to hold us accountable. We have to WANT to be open to their counter points to our justifications for quitting. We have to WANT to be willing to take into consideration WHY we should not give up this time. We have to believe someone has our best interest at heart, when we may not IN THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT. And there will be moments we do not.
I have found, an accountability partner or group is most effective if I SEE THEM IN PERSON ON A REGULAR BASIS. Coaching calls are great, but if I don’t see the person on the other end in-person regularly, it is way too easy to let myself off the hook, or reschedule a call. Online groups and forums are great as well, but if I do not see that group (or at least a subset of the group) on a regular basis, it becomes way too easy to turn off notifications for the group, or drag my feet on responding when others reach out to me (which I really try not to do). It is really difficult to ignore when someone reaches out IN-PERSON.
There are several caveats to having EFFECTIVE in-person accountability, because it can be easy to turn our carts at a moment’s notice when we see our tribe at the grocery store. It can be easy to slip out the doors from church service, if we don’t want someone to ask us how we’re doing. It can be easy to come up with reasons why we can’t make a dinner, or coffee appointment. It is still easy to avoid being accountable. To prevent ourselves from doing so, so we need to ask ourselves a few things.
Do I REALLY want things to be different this time? Do I really WANT someone to hold me accountable? Am I comfortable with people challenging my thought process so I can move forward and grow in this particular area? Do I believe others might actually have my best interest in mind? Do I trust I won’t be judged during my moments of weakness? Can I trust my challenges will remain private? Am I willing to be honest and upfront about what I am willing to do and not do during the course of the challenge? Will I be offended when others remind me of these things when I feel like throwing in the towel early? Is it worth it to be vulnerable to the ideas, constructive feedback, compassion and love of others, in order to be successful this time?
If there are any questions that were difficult, or we may feel a little pride ruffle our feathers, give it to God and begin praying now. Otherwise, be sure to identify at least one person to hold you accountable during your challenge, IN PERSON. Give them permission to have a positive influence on your life, even when it may not FEEL positive from time to time. Of course, identify someone you trust will say to you what needs to be said, when you need to hear it, to help you keep going and not quit on yourself.
Perhaps we have taught others to not hold us accountable, either by giving them the cold shoulder, distancing ourselves from them, or not being "nice" to them when they tried to remind us of our commitments. As a result, it is difficult to think of one person we can call on in-person. Again, pray about it. God has someone in mind. Or practice by joining an online group or having a phone/text partner.
Take care, have a blessed day, and KNOW YOU'RE WORTH IT!