Have you ever collaborated with an accountability buddy?
I wrote about this in a 2015 series on rebooting healthy, soul-feeding habits in my life (see How an Accountability Buddy Can Turn Work into Play). I’ve been thinking about the immense power of accountability buddies again this week, especially when I open my underwear drawer.
How My Accountability Buddy And I Got In Each Other’s Underwear
My friend Sue and I just started an accountability project together. We’ve been talking about it for months, and finally jumped in last week. We are based on opposite coasts of the country, but it doesn’t matter. We both feel a strong need to declutter our houses. It’s been a couple of years since I have prioritized purging. Life has gotten busy, gratefully in a good way. Maybe those feng shui fixes I did in my office actually worked their magic! Like many of my empty nester friends, I’m feeling the pull again to clear the nest of unused and unwanted crap (sorry…”stuff”).
Sue and I both have a lot going on right now, so we started really small. Last week we committed to just cleaning out the drawers that held our socks, underwear, and pajamas. I emptied all the contents onto my bed and donated anything I hadn’t worn in at least a year. Included in that pile were the pajama bottoms I bought in advance of my breast cancer surgeries way back in 2009. How great it felt to get rid of THAT energy! I even drove the bag of donations right to Goodwill. It felt great! Sue did the same thing.
All week, I’ve taken great delight in opening those drawers without anything getting stuck, without having to dig through unused and ill-fitting items. Before the clean-out, prying those drawers open sparked a burst of negative energy. Now it’s just the opposite. Sometimes I open them in the middle of the day just to give myself a little dose of feel good energy. The cool thing is that Sue’s success with this first baby step of our project made me feel even better. Knowing I was supporting her made this mundane task fun and fulfilling. We’re just taking it slowly, one small bite at a time. It’s what we can both manage now, but it’s progress and forward movement, which trickles into other parts of our lives.
Another friend, Melissa, is my accountability buddy for work goals. We check in every Monday morning and identify three to five priorities we have for our business management and development that week. We do different types of work, but it doesn’t matter. That phone call forces each of us to set our intentions for the week ahead and do our best to stay on task. Sometimes we end up scrambling at the end of the week to meet our goals, knowing that the other one will ask about it on Monday. And sometimes we just need to adjust gracefully when unexpected personal or professional demands get in the way. The reassurance that a supportive accountability buddy provides transforms what could be a stress inducing situation into a positive learning experience.
Why An Accountability Buddy Supports Mindfulness
Though accountability buddies can seem like they are all about productivity or doing “more,” and some people might argue that mindfulness tells us to slow down rather than speeding up, I would argue that well-chosen accountability buddies are a fantastic tool in our mindfulness toolbox. They help us define our intention to proceed down a carefully considered, healthy path. They provide loving encouragement, enhancing our connection. They help us let go of self judgement. And they remind us that we are not alone on this journey.
Mindfulness practice trains us to live life intentionally rather than on autopilot. Having an accountability buddy to support you on this journey is a fun and effective way to keep you grounded in the present moment, with a firm footing on your purpose-driven path.
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