• Working with an accountability partner is a great way to stay on track.
  • Find fun ways to keep each other motivated.
  • Don't make it all or nothing -- reward the little wins along the way.

By February, most New Year’s resolutions have long disappeared, studies show. Some of that can simply be because we let ourselves off the hook too easily. In training programs, whether they be for fitness or business, simply having an accountability partner to cheer you on can help keep those resolutions going.

Accountability can be the biggest motivator no matter what goal you are trying to achieve, which is one of the reasons that coaching and personal training are so essential to success. It’s not that we don’t know what we need to do, it’s just that sometimes it’s easier to show up for someone else than to show up for ourselves.

At Partners Trust, for our eight-week personal growth series, each associate was asked to team up with an accountability buddy. We’ve seen this work well in our offices.

Each week, groups of eight break out for a session on the materials in the weekly lectures. The real power, however, is in the successful connections between accountability partners who connect daily.

The temptation in these situations is to choose someone that you are already close to, but we’ve seen those who don’t know each other as well can sometimes be even more well-suited.

A successful match becomes more about communication styles (texters versus phone callers) and schedules than friendship. Here are some techniques that have worked for our dynamic duos and that you can apply to your own accountability relationship:

1. Celebrate every day

Text your wins to your accountability partner at a set time each day. This can be tough at first because we are conditioned only to think of the big wins, but it can be anything from getting a good parking space to doing something on your list that you’ve been dreading.

2. Don’t be afraid to be silly

Send each other funny notes or images, make fun of yourself and keep it light. Have a playlist of music that pumps you up. When we make goals too big and we take ourselves too seriously, that’s the time we are more likely to give up before we even get started.

3. Friendly competition helps

If you know your accountability partner is busily ticking off his or her to-do list, it’s harder to give yourself permission to let things go. Reward yourself and each other for achievements. Rewards can be small, like a coffee card or a magnet — the point is just to keep the positive energy going.

4. Keep it equal

A successful accountability duo has to be matched in terms of energy and enthusiasm. If one person is always lifting up the other one, it can be a drag. Ups and downs are normal, but balance is essential.

5. Take breaks, but keep coming back

Life can get in the way of even the best-intentioned programs. If you need to take a break from a program, communicate clearly with your accountability partner and set a time that you will be back on target. If you can’t live up to your commitment to yourself or the other person, be honest and open.

Responsibility and fun can go hand in hand. We’re at our best when we are enjoying our lives, and to succeed in an accountability program, it has to be a joy, not a chore.

Deidre Woollard is head of communications at Partners Trust, a luxury real estate brokerage in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @Deidre.

Email Deidre Woollard.

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