Jack was trying to quit smoking cigarettes. Again. It was by far the hardest thing he had ever tried to do. He was 2 days in and thought he was doing well. He even had an accountability partner – Joe. But now he had to get gas. At his favorite gas station. They have his favorite cigarettes. And cheaper than anywhere else. Jack considers paying at the pump. He wouldn’t even need to go in. But he is doing good! And Joe has his back. Jack went into the store…
And was back at day 0. He was pissed. At himself. At Jack. I mean, what kind of help was he? He was useless in stopping Jack from smoking again. Maybe Jack didn’t understand what accountability is and how to use an accountability partner?
1) Start With Yourself
You can’t make anyone do anything. The reverse is also true. No one can make you do anything. Including an accountability partner. First, we have to want change and be willing to hold ourselves accountable. Once we are willing to do that, an accountability partner can help us stay on the right path.
2) Accountability Isn’t Punishment
Jack was beating himself up inside for smoking again. He didn’t want to call Joe and get yelled at again. But that isn’t what accountability is. Accountability isn’t about getting in trouble for doing something. It is about helping make the right decisions before a mistake is made. Otherwise, accountability is simply another form of punishment. Accountability can be uncomfortable at times. Sure. But the goal is to keep us on the right track.
3) It’s For Support and Problem Solving
Accountability is largely about reaching out for help during the struggle. When Jack realized he needed gas and wanted to go to that gas station. That is the perfect time to call someone for help. They can help talk through decisions and help set the best course of action for you.
4) Accountability can Change Perspectives
If Jack would have called Joe, he could have realized there was another gas station 1/4 mile down the road without his cigarettes. He could have gone there easily and not been tempted to smoke again. Talking to someone outside of the situation can help shift perspectives. What wasn’t thought about before is now very obvious.
5) Debrief With an Accountability Partner
When things are going well – or a step back happens – talk to your accountability partner. Help them know what works well for you and what doesn’t. Talk to them a lot. See them as a good friend there to help, not as an opponent or someone to hide from. They want to you to good. Especially when you take a step back. Talk with them about what happened. They can help you develop a better plan next time. Even if the only change is to call them in the struggle.
So, What of Jack?
Jack was trying to quit smoking cigarettes. Again. It was by far the hardest thing he had ever tried to do. He was 1 day in. Again. He thought he would do well. He still had an accountability partner – Joe. But now he had to get gas. At his favorite gas station. Again. They have… not this again. Jack picks up the phone to call Joe. He answers and reminds him he can go a few blocks away for gas. Jack does. Another day passes without smoking.
How can you use an accountability partner in your life?
Sometimes, accountability is not always enough. Sometimes there are deeper roadblocks that get in the way. That is when counseling can help. If you are struggling to make change and need help, reach out! Our counselors in Ephrata, PA can help!