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Are you struggling to get or stay motivated? Do you have goals that seem impossible for you to achieve? Try to find an accountability partner to help you get the things that are important to you completed.

Janet began teaching middle school soon after she graduated from college. She was excited to find a job in New England near where her boyfriend lived. They got married two years later and had their first child. This all happened 10 years ago. She and her husband are still happily married, but Janet wants to open a tutoring service for special needs children. However, she finds it difficult to get motivated and start putting her plans and goals together. She is having a difficult time starting her second dream. She finds teaching online to be extremely stressful and is busy caring for the children, her husband, and home. While her husband is supportive and encourages Janet to take a leave of absence from teaching to get her tutoring business started, Janet can not find the motivation to change careers.

While she is highly motivated to go to work, she is not motivated to start her second career, and there is no one around to hold her accountable for making plans, setting goals, and getting started. She can not find the energy to get started. She made an appointment to meet with a counselor through her HR Department and the counselor suggested that Janet find an accountability partner. Janet was interested but did not know what an accountability partner was or how to find one. The counselor mentioned that the first step is finding someone that shares the same or similar goals and making a agreement with that person to keep you accountable for your goals in exchange for you keeping them accountable for their goals. You can do this by making phone calls, sending messages, and attending Zoom meetings. Sometimes information is exchanged about goals that are met while other times information is exchanged about what got in the way and how obstacles were or will be removed.

While Janet and her accountability partner are particularly good at setting and accomplishing deadlines for work, they find it very difficult to achieve personal goals on their own. The counselor pointed out that the human brain functions best when it is connected to others. Many of the goals Janet and her partner made for their career change (making a website, creating a business plan, making a business Facebook plan) were tasks that were created in isolation. Janet felt nurtured, heard and understood by her accountability partner. When you communicate your goals and plans with someone else, there is a feeling that you must be accountable.

Janet’s husband was extremely impressed to see her making progress towards her new career goals after she started working with her accountability partner. She asked Janet if she could help him find an accountability partner to help him get back into exercising. Janet shared what she learned from her counselor.

  1. Make a list of what you need (e.g. someone to honestly tell you when you are not taking exercise seriously, someone to hold you accountable, someone reliable, etc.)
  2. Make a list of friends that enjoy exercising and exercise on a regular basis and care about your progress.
  3. Decide on the type of support you want to receive (verbal support, monthly meetings, receiving advice, challenging you in a respectful way, etc.)
  4. Make a list of communication techniques you would like to use with your partner (use I statements to prevent blame and conflict, give feedback on behavior and not on the partner or person, no accusations, no demanding, etc.)
  5. Set your goals and share them with your partner. Make sure that you make a list of what you want to accomplish first. Prioritize your goals and after they are completed, share them with your partner.
  6. Allow yourself to change your goals as you need to and work with your accountability partner to help you have a smooth transition as you make changes to your goals.

Having an accountability partner can be very exciting and rewarding. What do you need to have help with? Are you interested in having an accountability partner? Please send your comments on this article. Here is a link to Accountability groups on Meetup.Com

External link opens in new tab or windowhttps://www.meetup.com/topics/accountability-partners/

Source: Breathe The Energy Special

Living in The Present


I really enjoy reading different fables and stories from other cultures. Here is one I found that I want to share with you. The title of the story is the Poisoned Arrow and it is based on the teachings of the Buddha.

Years and years ago, there was a man walking through the woods back to his farm who was shot by a poisoned arrow. He managed to get home, and his wife wanted one of his children to go to the village to get the doctor. The village was not far, and it would not take long for the doctor to arrive. However, the man refused to let his son go to get the doctor. He told his wife that he needed to have some questions answered before his son could leave to get the doctor. His wife held him tight as he started to ask his questions.

First, he wanted to know who shot the arrow. What colors were the feathers on the arrow? What bird did the feathers come from? What did the man that shot him look like? Was the man short or tall? What he white or black? Was he married or single? Did he live with his family or alone? Did he have any sons or daughters? His wife pleaded with him to let his son go and get the doctor because he was now bleeding very heavily. The man had one more question to ask. He wanted to know if anyone knew the name of the person that shot the arrow. The answer was no. His son went to get the doctor. As the doctor was arriving, the man died. The doctor examined the poor man and told the wife that if he had been summoned when the man arrived home, he would still be alive. Asking unimportant questions caused the man to die of his wounds.

How many times have you asked questions that were unimportant? What is it like to ask questions that are not important because we are too scared or anxious or depressed to ask the questions that are important? For example, when you are in a relationship that is not going the way you want it to go, do you have a lot of questions about what your partner does or does not think about you? If you are asked to give a presentation at work about your role in the team project, what questions would you have about your ability to speak in front of others? If you are not happy with the job you have but uncertain if you will be able to find another one, what unwanted questions would you have about starting a job search?

Anxiety and depression can cause us to have a lot of intrusive thoughts about ourselves. Anxiety causes us to have thoughts about something negative that is going to happen to us in the future and depression causes us to have a lot of thoughts about something negative that happened to us in the past. We fail to understand that thoughts are just thoughts and not facts. When we have negative thoughts and negative questions about ourselves, we need to do the following:

  1. Say “stop”,
  2. Say three positive things about yourself to take your attention off the anxious or depressive thought and to put the attention on you
  3. Focus on what you are doing (place yourself in the here and now)

Instead of asking questions, we can give answers. We can make positive statements about ourselves. When we are wounded we can use self-care (meditation, yoga, exercise, positive affirmations, or going for a walk) to help us avoid unwanted questions and move in a forward direction.