Support Equals Success

April 27, 2016 by FlexPro

Tips-for-Increasing-AccountabilityAs 2016 begins to hit its full stride, we are able to evaluate how far we’ve come since the calendar flipped months ago. So how are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Have you stuck to your diet? Are you continuing your exercise program? These, of course, are a couple of  the most popular goals we set for ourselves each January 1st, and are often the most short lived as well. All good intentions aside, we quickly fall back into our normal routines. Anyone who goes to the gym regularly throughout the year will tell you how much they hate the first two or three weeks in January. All of a sudden there’s a waiting list for the treadmill, a line for the weight machines and the spinning classes are full. By February things go right back to normal – no waiting for equipment, no trouble getting into a class and all the new faces start to disappear.

One of the biggest problems I see with trying to make a resolution or set a goal is accountability. If I want to lose weight and I set a goal for myself, it’s up to me to make it happen. Only I can make good choices about what I eat and if I exercise. I’m the one buying the groceries and cooking my meals. I’m the one ordering at the restaurant. I’m the one choosing to binge watch Netflix instead of going for a run because it’s too cold out. I’m accountable to myself – and I’m very forgiving! “I’ll eat better tomorrow”, or “I’ll run twice as far”, are easy excuses that I tell myself when I don’t follow through with my plans. Sometimes I really do eat better and run twice as far, and sometimes, well…

Whether you’re vowing to regularly hit the gym, quit smoking or write the next great book series that rivals Harry Potter, it’s sometimes really hard to go it alone. As self-motivated as we like to think we are, having the discipline to follow through with our goals sometimes takes more than just our sheer determination. There’s no shame in admitting that sometimes we need a little help from our friends. There may even be a song that says something to that effect. As an example, I recently set a goal for myself to lose the excess weight I’ve put on over the last three years. I consider myself very self motivated, but this time I decided to join an online Challenge Group because I felt I could use a little help to reach my goals. From a motivational standpoint, it’s just easier to stay focused when you’re part of a group of like minded individuals who are cheering you on. I’m also using the My Fitness Pal app. which helps track my progress, let’s my friends comment and encourage me, and keeps me accountable by logging my food and exercise in a diary. Here’s what I’ve learned, losing weight is not fun. However, losing weight with the support of a group and my friends encouraging me along the way, sharing in my little victories, is priceless.

As much as I’m gaining in being part of a group and getting the support I need to reach my goal, it’s also been great being able to offer help and support to other members who are working towards their own healthy lifestyle goals. My role as an accountability partner is to help other members stay focused and on track. Whether it’s as a mentor, motivator, cheerleader or someone to just help them continue to challenge themselves, it’s a role I take seriously.  By acting as an accountability partner for others, it also serves to help me stay on course with the commitment I’ve made. I’m so much more engaged in my plan and I know I’ll succeed because I’ve put it out there (and on here)!

As project managers we can employ many of the same principles of accountability that I’m now utilizing with my weight loss plan. We are the mentor, the coach and the leader of our group and ultimately accountable for the final goals of the project being met. We are accountability partners for our team members and we are all rallying around the same objective. Our role is to make sure the goals are clear, to measure the progress against those goals, and to keep everyone motivated and on task. In turn I hope that each team member is also part of the accountability chain, helping to motivate and encourage the other members, especially when things start to go off plan. Fostering a supportive environment where team members feel empowered to be accountability partners is a sure way of overcoming any obstacles and challenges that may arise.

So, don’t be shy. If you really want to reach your goals – personal or professional, find your accountability partner. It’s time to buddy up. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one!

-Rose Cook, FlexPro CEO

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