I’ve always found that having a friend or colleague who is working toward similar goals is helpful when it comes to achieving your own goals. Often referred to as an “accountability buddy” in success circles, they can have a specifically defined relationship with you, or they could just be along for the ride providing general support. However the relationship is defined (or not defined), the idea is that your accountability buddy helps you stay motivated in your training. Each relationship is specific to the people involved in the partnership, but the benefits, for the most part are the same. Here are 4 that I have found in my experience:
1. Helps you stay on track with your goals. Many martial artists find it useful to define specific goals which they work toward, whether it’s going to class 3x a week, learning to perform a particular throw or kick, etc. An accountability buddy can help keep you on track by making you accountable to them. Their role can be specifically defined, for example, having them contact you if you haven’t made it to class for your pre-determined number of classes. Alternatively, you could internalize the process by thinking to yourself, “Well if I don’t go to class, I won’t be there for my buddy to train with.” The idea is that most people are more likely to stay committed to a goal if they are being held accountable in some way to someone other than themselves.
2. Helps keep your training fun. Having a like-minded training partner that you enjoy training with on a regular basis helps make training more enjoyable. It’s even better when they’re at the same level as you or working on the same techniques. You can increase the effects of this by coordinating so you train on the same days as your buddy.
3. Gives you someone to talk to about training concepts or difficulties. There is so much depth to martial arts training that can be discussed on so many levels, it’s nice to have a buddy with whom you can discuss the myriad of things that make it so interesting. And we all face our own stuck points from time to time when it comes to our martial arts training, so it can be helpful to discuss it with someone who is going through similar things, perhaps giving you a different perspective that may help you work through it.
4. Helps you celebrate your progress. If you’re getting ready for an upcoming test, it’s great to have someone getting ready alongside you so you can push each other and pat each other’s back when you make progress. And when a milestone is reached, your buddy is there to celebrate with you.
In my life, I have had a number of accountability buddies over the years, for my martial arts training, writing, and business/career development. A current accountability buddy of mine, Stu Cooke Sensei (Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu Shodan), is arriving for a visit today. He writes on his martial arts blog called Martial Mind, and is my writing accountability buddy. If I don’t do my prescribed number of blog posts per week, I hear from him and vice versa. The next 2 weeks will be fun, filled with plenty of martial arts training and discussions about martial arts/writing.
Do you have an accountability buddy for your martial arts training? If so, what role do they play in keeping you accountable? Please share in the comments. 🙂