I’ve been exploring different types of motivational tools, tips and tricks recently, and by far one of the most useful is the Accountability Group.
In case you’ve never heard of them, the basic idea of an accountability group is to form a small group of people with similar goals, who will work together to keep everyone on task.
Sounds simple, right?
Simple, maybe. Easy? Nope!
But, as with all things in life that are useful, the beauty of the accountability group is that its whole purpose is encouragement. So even if you fail to meet your goals for the week, you’re not immediately cast out as a failure, shamed in front of your peers, or otherwise treated like a jerk. Instead, the group will ask you questions about what happened, why you weren’t able to meet your goals, and give you some ideas and suggestions about how to accomplish them next time.
Pretty cool, right?
So, I’ve been part of an accountability group that formed out of a critique group I’ve been running, and it’s been really great. There are five of us now, and we’ve decided that since we’re all at different stages of the writing process, we will make three goals per two-week period, and then meet up in person over coffee every other Friday to discuss our progress.
Our goals can be about research, writing, marketing, or pieces of longer term goals (something like finishing a certain number of chapters or pages in a book).
For instance, this week my goals are:
- Finish and submit the sample chapter for a work-for-hire book;
- Update my mailing list, so that a freebie sends straight from MailChimp instead of Google Drive; and
- Complete my research on a commercial fiction project so that I can start writing my next book.
I’m about halfway through with #1, I finished #2 today (shortly after mailing the group), and I need to get started on #3.
I like to set fairly do-able goals, so that I feel more accomplished with checking those things off.
But it’s also important to set “stretch” goals, too, so next week I’ll probably plan to write a certain number of words in my different book projects, and then get into writing gear.
Keeping everyone on task
I also just did some research on accountability groups, to make sure mine stays productive! Here are two articles I found helpful:
Based on some of their tips, I’ve decided to start emailing the group every Sunday with three pieces of info:
Then everyone can reply to the group email with their own successes (or failures, if they need advice!) and goals for the week, so we’ll have each others’ lists when we actually meet up.
I’m sure there are plenty of high-tech ways to do this (the two articles I mentioned above had links to some apps), but since we’re trying to keep things simple, that should do. We also have a private Facebook group, for those of us who aren’t avoiding this particular social media platform, and that works well for sharing links to articles and other ideas that we think may help each other out.
The trickiest bit, so far, has definitely been figuring out what to do with group members who aren’t meeting their goals. We definitely don’t want to kick people out of the group, so we’ve been probing each other a lot about why we’re not following through, what we can try next week, and giving each other a lot of moral support.
As they say, it takes time to build habits – good or bad! So we’re still figuring it out as we go.
In the meantime, I’ve been getting a lot of great tips from my fellow group members, and I feel like we’ve all been trading good information to keep ourselves motivated and positive.
And now it’s time to get to work on some of those goals!
Do you have an accountability group or partner?
How do you keep each other on track with goals, and what do you do if the other group members don’t meet their goals?