When my alarm goes off and it’s dark outside, all I want to do it hit snooze. But I always think about my accountability partner. She’s probably working out right now because she’s amazing. I can’t let her down. We’re on this journey together. So I get up and, after walking my dogs, I change into my workout clothes, tie my hair into a ponytail, and start my day. Even though she’s in another state, I know my accountability partner is with me.
A few years ago, I began my fitness journey essentially by myself because I was sick and tired of comparing myself with other women. I found workouts on YouTube. I made a workout schedule. I looked up healthy recipes and invaded my mother’s kitchen with my own groceries. I packed healthy lunches. I set my alarm for super early o’clock and tried not to continue pushing snooze on said alarm. I did really hard workouts, sweating like I didn’t know was possible. But I didn’t lose weight. I still made poor food choices when faced with a piece of cake at work or ice cream on a Friday. I still endured an exhausting mental battle with the image of myself.
Similarly, I began my writing career essentially by myself. I wanted to be a writer or editor. I had no clear goals, but I had high hopes. After all, I have a bachelor’s degree! The world is my oyster! I can write articles and stories and books, and I can do it well! I quickly found out that I needed people to do these things.
During my first freelance assignment for a local newspaper, I found this out, but I didn’t quite understand it yet. My loving boyfriend (now husband) walked around town with me as I sought to interview amazing shoppers and store owners for the Buy Nearby event I was covering. He literally had to push me into stores. They didn’t me teach interviewing/people skills in school. While I was hating myself for not taking a public speaking course in college, I timidly spoke to shop owners and workers, too terrified to talk to customers. (What will they think of me?) All the while, my loving man kept telling me how people like to be interviewed. They like to talk about themselves.
Looking back, I realize that it’s all about networks and connections. It’s all about people. It’s about having people beside you and pushing you when you’re afraid (sometimes literally). It’s about being there for others when they’re weak.
It’s about accountability.
A couple years into my writing career, I found a writing group at my local library. I checked it out and still continue to go almost every month. Why? Because I need accountability. I need someone to ask me about my projects. I need someone to tell me they’re excited to read it so I need to hurry up and write it. I need someone to encourage me when I’m rejected. (For more on this topic, read this blog post.)
I need someone to remind me that the writing life and this creative journey is worth all of the ups and downs along the way.
About a year ago, I signed up for the Tone It Up Bikini Series for the second time. On the surface, it’s an 8-week challenge to get your body ready for summer. But truly, it’s an opportunity to join an active community of women who want to be their best selves physically, mentally, and emotionally. I posted on Instagram that I was doing the challenge again and hoping to actually see results from all my hard work. Then something amazing happened. A woman reached out and asked if I’d be her accountability partner. I said yes and we’ve been best friends ever since. That decision was a turning point for my health.
A year into our friendship later, we’ve helped one another through life’s various storms. Besides my husband, she’s my go-to person to talk about most things because she understands me and roots for me. I also know she’ll tell me when I’m being an idiot or when I need to take a break because I’ve been pushing myself too hard. We text one another about what we’re eating and what workouts we’re doing every day. We are there for one another when a work picnic or party comes along the way, and we help one another make healthy decisions for our bodies and minds.
No matter what you’re doing right now, don’t do it alone.
Challenge: Ask someone to be an accountability partner for you this week and work out how you will communicate. Chatting in-person or via video chat weekly? Snapchat or texting throughout the day? Daily email? Plan a way to communicate that works for both of you.
If you liked this blog post, buy me a cup of coffee. Thank you!