How to Find an Accountability Buddy
We’ve talked before about how internal motivation is key to maintaining long-term health and fitness goals, but sometimes our own resolve falls short. Having an accountability buddy for those times can keep you on track.
Studies have shown that pairing weight loss goals with a supportive social network provides additional encouragement and accountability that makes us even more likely to succeed. Having a friend to meet for an early morning workout class can make the difference between you pressing snooze and lacing up your sneakers.
So how do you find an accountability buddy for workouts or diet goals? And are you out of luck if no one wants to be your gym buddy for 6:00am spin class? Here’s your guide to securing some external motivation in any circumstance.
Know Your Goals
Before you can ask someone to be your accountability partner, you should have concrete goals in mind. Rather than asking a friend to keep you accountable for something vague like “exercising more,” it’s more effective to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal--something specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. If you’ve said you want to workout three times a week, it’s easier for your accountability partner to check in on Wednesday and see if you’ve been to the gym yet.
Tell Your Friends
Once you have specific goals in mind, tell your friends! If your family, friends, and co-workers know you’re cutting back on sugar, you can ask them to keep you in check when you’re handed the dessert menu at a dinner out. Utilizing your existing social network is also the easiest way to find an accountability buddy who shares your goals. When you talk about what you’re aiming to do, you’re likely to find someone with similar ambitions, and then boom--you’ve got yourself an accountability partner!
Do It Together
Say you and a friend both want to exercise a few times a week--great! One way to help each other stay motivated is to partner up for your workouts. Maybe you agree to wake up early for a run, or you promise to meet at the gym after work for a cardio session. When you’ve made exercise plans with a friend, there’s more pressure to follow through on them than if you’ve planned to go by yourself. If you’re trying to cook healthier meals, turn this into a hangout session where you and your buddy cook together, enjoy the meal, and save the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Join a Class
If you can’t find someone to go to the gym with you, try pairing up with someone already at your gym. Joining a class will put you in contact with a group of people whose regular attendance shows they have similar goals and workout schedules to yours. Finding an accountability buddy in an exercise class could be as simple as exchanging numbers with the person who stands next to you and promising to check in with each other if one of you plays hooky.
Ask a Friend to Text You
One of the easiest ways to find an accountability buddy is simply to ask a friend to check in with you a couple times a week. Getting a text that says, “Did you go to the gym yet today?” might be all the motivation you need to kick it in gear. This can be a one-way or two-way street and allows you to partner up with someone even if you have totally different goals.
Find an Accountability Buddy Online
Another way to find accountability and support for your goals is through the internet. Try using active.com to find a walking, hiking, or running group in your area, or to get connected with a local sports team. Meetup.com is another great site to find in-person support for various goals, whether you’re training for a marathon or committing to a vegan diet.