You want to do it. You really do. But no matter how often you tell yourself you’re going to take–and rock–the next step of your IBCLC journey, you just don’t do it. Then, there’s another voice inside your head telling you, just as often, that you can’t. Or that you won’t. Or that you don’t need to. Or that it’s too hard. The list of internal objections seems almost endless. What can you do?

How about getting an accountability partner?

What is an accountability partner?

An accountability partner is someone who will listen to your goals, act as a sounding board, and hold you accountable in an agreed-upon way if you fail to meet them.  Your spouse or your friend might function in this role, but it could be a mentor, a relative, a colleague, or a paid coach.

Models that work for personal goals

You’ve already seen models where one person finds another person who holds them accountable for meeting their goals. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are built on the idea of accountability. Similarly, many “gym buddies” or “marathon buddies” find the agreement to exercise together at a scheduled time to be a strong enough incentive to keep them on track.

I’ve functioned in this role for new breastfeeding mothers; they find this “buddy system” helpful in the first days or weeks with their new baby. Years of experience has shown me that it also works with people studying for the IBLCE exam.

Why does it work?

Remember those negative voices in your head? They have to go, right? Often, when you take the positive intentions you’ve thought and speak them, especially to another person, you’re able to follow through. Telling someone what you are going to do can often be a powerful step in cementing your intentions. But who you tell–and what you and they do afterwards–can make the difference between your success and your failure.

So what happens next? Communicate with your accountability partner on a routine basis to review your overall goal, set and report on short-term objectives, and discuss any problems that arise.

Does it work with professional goals?

Just as it works in the personal realm, it works in the professional realm, too. It’s become a popular tool for new start-ups and entrepreneurs, among others.

An accountability partner can help you think about strategies to prepare—flash cards for terminology training perhaps, a review course if you’re stuck at the planning and organization phase, or something else. And, they’ll keep you honest about taking the steps you need to succeed.

Consider setting consequences for steps along the way. Setting goals without consequences generally doesn’t work. Some people pay their accountability partner money if they fall short of their goals. Also, if  you don’t want to do this with a real person in your life, consider something like StickK, where you can set up a legally-binding penalty for yourself if you fail to reach your goal.

On the other hand, you could use positive incentives like a celebration or “pay off” if they achieve their goal.

Carefully consider what might work for you. But get rid of those negative voices in your head, because those won’t get you to your goal!

Does this idea appeal to you? Comment below to tell me what you’re going to do to keep yourself on track…or tell me how I can help you to stay on track! 

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