Have you ever experienced an inspiring Sunday sermon? How about a mind blowing MLM presentation?

Have you ever left a motivational talk so charged up, you were determined to finally snatch your life from the clutches of mediocrity and march it willingly or unwillingly into the holy land of unparalleled and extraordinary success? And then you woke up!

Sixteen days have passed since your latest - “life changing” experience. All you have to show for it, is a box set of audio CD's and the speakers autographed book on how to ….... (fill in the blank).

Your back to whining to your best friend (or your cat) about your boss, your spouse and your uncooperative bathroom scale. What went wrong? You were sure this was it. You were finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. I've felt your pain. I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Being inspired can be a double edged sword.

Sometimes we need a kick in the rear to get off of the couch and actually start working on making our dreams and plans happen in the real-world. We need to see and hear living examples of people who have come from backgrounds similar to our own, and have overcome obstacles and personal shortcomings, to finally realize their dreams.

The blunt edge of the sword is the inability to follow through on our own steam, after the initial push has lost momentum. Each time this happens, it takes it's toll on our self-confidence and our belief that another life is possible.

Repeated failure to carry the ball into the end zone can cause some to become cynical, bitter and critical of anyone who even suggest that we have the capacity to be our best self. This is the motivational backlash.

Motivational backlash is the result of a track record of failed attempts at changing our behavior. We start off with the best intentions, powered by the fuel of inspiration. We lay out a plan, gather the resources and begin implementation.

For a week or two, maybe a month, we are on target. Then life starts to happen. We get distracted for a day. A week later we're off our game for 3 days.

When the smoke of life's hiccups and emergencies finally clear, we can't remember the last time we implemented the plan we laid out for ourselves.

Fortunately there is a work around for type B personalities, average Janes and creatives like myself. We are not doomed to dying the death of a dream deferred. Human social organization holds the key to staying focused when we find it hard to stay the course on our own.

Our ancestors had these same problems millions of years ago. Over generations they noticed that in alliances, most individuals become more productive, effective and work more efficiently. And as a bonus, they enjoyed the satisfaction that comes from sharing their accomplishments with a trusted partner.

These initial alliances were the accidental genius that gave rise to what we presently call marriage. In the coaching community, we refer to this mutual benefit relationship as an “accountability partnership”.

Accountability partnerships are productivity insurance policies for the 'frequently distracted' like myself. I'm the child labeled “daydreamer” by all of my grade school teachers. I generate ideas like, Salmon generate spawn. But Salmon have a much better spawn to adult fish ratio than my idea to ship ratio. Until I found and accountability partner.

My accountability partner and I, keep each others eye on the prize. We are reminders to each other of what we have publicly stated is our best effort, our priority and our 'next step' on the road to personal happiness.

Forming an accountability partnership helps each individual to stay focused on the goal they have set for themselves.

I check in with my A-partner at predesignated intervals, 1-2 times per week, depending on our schedules. During these meetings, we update each other on the progress we have made since the last meeting. If one of us is falling short of the goal we set for the week, it is the duty of the other partner to respectfully, but firmly let the other know that their lack of follow up is jeopardizing the success of the particular project or goal in question.

We apply social pressure to motivate each other to step up our respective game.

As human beings, we are hard wired to respond to social pressure. Many of us find it hard to let a friend, colleague or family member down. But we will break an agreement with ourselves in a heartbeat. Accountability partnerships use this innate tendency as leverage to boost human productivity.

A few tips on how to form an accountability partnership:

-find someone who is trying to achieve a goal but who has been having difficulty staying focused. (the goal doesn't have to be the same as yours)

-at your first meeting, agree upon the terms of the partnership: meeting frequency, method of reporting (in person, online, written journals, etc.), reward systems, how failure to produce will be addressed, etc.

-give good feedback during meetings. don't be afraid to let your partner know they are failing to keep their word

-share resources with each other that could assist each person in realizing their goals

-have an agenda for each meeting. the primary items are updates, feedback and sharing. don't make meetings a burden by dragging them out.

-stay focused during meetings. this is not a time for socializing. If agreed upon, time can be set aside for casual conversation after the meeting, occasionally.
Accountability partnerships could be applied to any aspect of life you are attempting to improve or gain master of: relationships, finances, business, education, health, spiritual practice, child rearing, activism, housekeeping, learning an art, craft or an instrument.

Self development begins with being honest with yourself. If you know you have difficulty moving forward with consistency in a particular life area, maybe it's time to get an accountability partner.

Like minds, two commitments are better than one.

Please leave a comment below letting me know how you can or have used this self development technology to drive your goals across the finish line.

Author's Bio: 

Kazi is Chief Lifestyle Officer at My Body Temple-Lifestyle and Fitness Coaching. Kazi is Lifestyle Coach, Personal Trainer and Massage Therapist servicing Central New Jersey as a mobile practitioner.

Kazi's presentations amd workshops allow kindred spirits to discover and evolve their personal self-healing lifestyle in a supportive and encouraging environment.