My good friend Amy and I often work out together. We go for runs, do a weekly barre class, and fit in the occasional yoga session.
On the days when I feel like walking more than running, she pushes me to get moving. And on days when I’d rather have my teeth pulled out than go to barre, she makes me show up anyway.
I get her to try new things, like hot yoga. And I give her nutrition advice and habit-change strategies on our long runs.
But the best part of working out with her is the time we spend together. We laugh and have great conversations. And she is fun, a great listener (rare), and always has something positive to say.
She is my accountability partner, and I know for sure that my continued pursuit of healthy living would suffer if I didn’t have her.
Why Having a Partner Is Key
It’s easy to become the Lone Wolf Workout Girl, and I should know because that’s who I was for a very long time.
But it takes tremendous energy to motivate yourself when you’re not feeling it, and when you bail (which happens more often when you’re doing it solo) it takes an emotional toll that’s even harder to recover from. So having someone to make you show up for a workout when you don’t feel like it is tremendously helpful.
That being said, having and being an accountability partner isn’t just about making sure you both show up to the gym on time (although that’s an important part of it). The benefits of having one go far beyond this.
So if you don’t yet have an accountability partner, you should consider getting one.
The Benefits of an Accountability Partner
Let’s look at the ways having someone by your side can help you achieve not just your workout goals, but the rest of your health goals too.
She’ll make you show up. As I just said, having someone to report to makes it more likely that you’ll follow through. And just showing up means you’ve won half the battle. Once you get to the class or show up at the gym there’s no going back.
But not only will you be sure to finish your workout, you’ll also push yourself more if your partner is next to you cheering you on. More times than not, when I’m not into it, Amy will encourage me to go a little farther and a little faster.
You’re also more likely to enjoy your workouts with someone else doing it with you. And the more you enjoy your workouts, the more likely you are to want to do it again tomorrow.
So showing up means consistent, steady improvement — which means you get to your goal faster.
She can relate. Your accountability partner has been there too, and she knows what it feels like to fall off the wagon.
A partner who can relate to feeling unmotivated and being low on confidence will give you empathy and support instead of criticism — which you get more than enough of from your inner critic. Feeling empathized with prevents you from feeling like a failure and keeps you on track.
Your accountability partner can also help you figure out how to learn from your “failures” and do better the next time.
Having emotional support is key to staying on track — because feeling like a failure keeps you locked in the cycle of starting from square one, over and over again.
She can help you become the best version of yourself. A less-obvious benefit to having an accountability partner is that the two of you can proactively work to become the best that you can be — in every way.
You can educate yourselves about healthy foods, commit to journaling together, do self-care activities together, read and discuss inspiring books, and cheer each other on as you set and achieve big goals.
Becoming the best version of yourself also means that you’ll automatically establish the healthy habits that get you to goal weight — without having to use force or willpower.
Make Sure You Have the Right Partner
A word of caution: It’s imperative that you choose the right person. Just because your best friend likes to do yoga doesn’t mean that she’s a good accountability partner.
If she loves to rant about politics or bring up how horrible things are in the world, she’s not the right person. If she loves to talk about how hard it is to lose weight or is on a never-ending search for the latest diet, she’s not the right person.
And if you feel worse after spending time with her, she’s definitely not the right person.
I can’t overstate how important having a positive outlook is to your health. Any negative energy, even the smallest amount, takes a toll on your health.
Plus, we have enough on our plate having to block out all the negative messages we receive on a daily basis, living in a world that tells women that what we look like matters more than anything.
Don’t Go It Alone
One last thing I’ll leave you with is a compelling statistic about having a partner. The American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability and found that the odds of achieving your goal increase to 95% when you have a scheduled appointment with an accountability partner.
It doesn’t make much sense to continue struggling alone to achieve your goals when you can bypass all that stress and achieve almost perfect odds in reaching them — just by having a partner by your side.
An accountability partner makes it more likely that you’ll take action, feel supported when you fail, and enjoy your pursuit of health.
And she’ll help you become the best version of yourself — the one who’s too busy setting and achieving goals to count calories, cut carbs, and obsessively weigh in.
The one who’s too powerful, capable, and truly beautiful to continue wasting her life on a diet. In other words . . . you.