Many people think self-discipline means doing it all on your own, but it does not mean that at all. In fact, having a coach, or a group, or an accountability partner can really help you to develop more discipline.
An example would be when someone puts off housework until they know someone is coming over, and they race around to get the house all tidy before their visitor arrives. It is far easier to give in and be less disciplined when you just have yourself in the picture. When you have a person or people hold you accountable though, you are far more likely to make sure it happens.
Accountability partners help with self-discipline
An accountability partner is someone you set up a contract with to hold each other accountable for reaching goals. This is a mutual pact and is probably the easiest to set up. The goals do not have to be the same ones, the point is to connect on a regular basis, often once a week, and share with each other how much you have accomplished. The best way to do this is to break up the task into daily chunks and do each one each day so that you are not trying to finish up the project the night before you meet with your accountability partner.
I have had a few accountability partners. The ones you don’t pay have no skin in the game. It’s very easy to get off topic, or for the session to be one-sided. I had one accountability partner that was always introducing me to new products, so I ended up spending a lot of money for things that I couldn’t use in the foreseeable future.
I had another situation where there were three of us in the group. It looked very promising. We used a Trello board, all of the material was in one easy location, including the homework. It’s much easy to exercise self-discipline if you utilize good tools.
Another group was a guy and myself. It started out great, but then he got too busy and it fell apart.
But then I hired a business coach. She had put together a program where I made an appointment with her, set a goal, and then I couldn’t set another appointment until I had met that goal. It didn’t matter how big or small the goal was. That turned out to be awesome! I was focused, I got the input and guidance I needed and put some programs together that I’d been wanting to do for quite some time.
Lesson: Find an accountability partner who is a good fit.
One person vs a group
It is often easier to schedule a meeting with one other person than a group of people. You . . .
- usually don’t have to pay for this method, and most masterminds and coaches are paid programs.
- have more flexibility in how you meet with an accountability partner.
- can just call them on the phone, or use an instant messaging program.
- could meet for lunch once a week at a restaurant, or at your house.
You may prefer joining a group like a mastermind instead of just a one-on-one accountability partner. The advantage to having a group is additional pressure on you not to let the whole group down, and the fact when you run across an obstacle, the group can help brainstorm ideas to help you out. Two heads may be better than one, but sometimes multiple heads are much better than just two.
You may find that you want some one-on-one coaching, or small group coaching instead, to keep you accountable. Maybe you are trying something new and need teaching as well as the connection. One-on-one coaching tends to be the most expensive option since you are taking up a lot of the time of your coach. Group coaching is becoming far more available because it allows the coach to help more people at the same time, plus gives the advantage of having other people that can help you out with specific issues, like a mastermind. They also usually cost a lot less than one on one coaching so may be more in your budget.
I was in a group for awhile where three of us met with a coach. That ended up with her focusing on each of us for half an hour. The other hour that I was on the call was sometimes helpful because I picked up new things, or I could help with things. But it ended up being time that I could be spending on something else.
Lesson: Try different setups to see which helps you with self-discipline. Then decide whether it’s worth paying someone to, in essence, be your accountability partner.
It still comes down to self-discipline
Whatever method or methods you use, remember you still have to be disciplined for them to work.
If you don’t do the work to reach your goals, you’re wasting your time, and money, and your accountability partner’s time.
How can you make sure you do the work? Plan. Sit down and brainstorm all the things you’d like to accomplish. Then put them in buckets (no literally). Now, Later, and maybe One Can Only Hope. Then take one of the Now items and break it down into bite-size pieces. Set a timeline. I like to work in 90-day sections.
For instance, when I created my Blogging to Be Found workshop, I determined what needed to be done. A landing page, a thank you page, a registration page, my automatic emails that would need to be sent out, an outline of my program. I also determined that delivering content daily would be better than a bigger chunk once a week. I decided how I was going to create the videos, etc. It took me six weeks to put that all together, with the aid of my business coach. Many of the steps were new to me, so I had to wrap my head around each piece. So allow yourself time to learn along the way.