Keep Resolutions by Getting an Accountability Buddy

Overcome procrastination and keep New Year's resolutions with just a little help from your friends.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #11

Let's find support, focus on reality, measure progress, and drop the guilt. Enter Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world's top executive coaches and an expert in behavior change. He's graciously offered to let me share a technique you can use both to overcome procrastination and keep your New Year's resolutions.

First, you need a friend. Any kind will do. If you don't have one, make one from scratch or use a mix, that's what social networking's all about. Choose someone you trust and whom you can talk with daily.
Next, each of you choose a bunch of goals you want to reach. You can choose work-related goals, such as "fill out my expense reports on time," personal goals, such as, "lose 15 pounds," or organization goals, such as "throw away 15 pounds of old expense reports." Choose anywhere from 1 to 20 goals.

Set Achievable Goals Together

For each goal, figure out a way to measure whether you're actually doing the work it takes to meet that goal. For expense reports, the measure might be how many expense reports you filled out on a given day. For losing weight, the measure might be how many snacks you had during the day. And so on. A measurement has to be a numeric measure or a yes/no question like "Did you throw away at least one old expense report today?" Make sure that you're measuring the actions you need to take to reach the goal, not the goal itself. So for losing weight, don't use a measure like, "How much do I weigh?" Use a measure like, "How many snacks did I have?" "How many calories did I consume?" "How many times did I exercise?" ... things like that.

Use Check-Ins to Monitor Progress

Now you set up a daily meeting. Make it short--you won't need more than 5 or 10 minutes.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.