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Accountability Buddies - Yay or Nay

panda4153panda4153 Member Posts: 353 Member Member Posts: 353 Member
Hello MFP! I was thinking about this while I was reading through a bunch of posts of people asking for accountability buddies, and I asked myself is it a good idea to rely on someone else to keep you accountable to your goals?

My own opinion is no, it’s not, you have to keep yourself accountable. It’s not someone else’s job to moderate what you do or don’t eat and or wether or not you are active. I think it opens it up as an excuse, the reason I did not make progress is because so and so didn’t help me stay accountable. These are your goals, you own them. I see on these boards all the time when you have a friend or spouse or family member asking how can I get my loved one to lose weight and be healthy? people saying you can’t do this for anyone else they have to do it for themselves. Yet, all these other posts asking people to keep them accountable.

Don’t get me wrong I am all about support, I will cheer you on when you hit your goals, and when you need a pick me up. I will also be honest about what might be holding you back if you ask me. But I am not accountable for your goals, you are.

What does everyone think?
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Replies

  • mmapagsmmapags Member Posts: 8,961 Member Member Posts: 8,961 Member
    It totally depends on your personality.

    Me, personally, I HATE it when other people try to motivate me. I don't like cheerleaders with their "You got this!, You go girl!", etc. It always seems fake to me and just makes me want to not do the thing they are cheering me on to do. That's why I have never been able to work with a personal trainer...I tried, but they all have that attitude, even after I tell them to stop it.

    I understand though, that some people like to have a support group when they are trying to reach a goal. And, some people really are motivated by words of encouragement from others.

    You and are are the same. I also feel that I don't want to make dependence on external accountability a factor. The only factors I want are those under my direct control. I get that for some people an accountability buddy works but not for me.
  • Diatonic12Diatonic12 Member Posts: 7,794 Member Member Posts: 7,794 Member
    Online support group members like to share their thoughts with a larger community or none of us would be here. We wouldn't keep coming back day after day and year after year.

    There are Challenge and Motivational threads galore. People really enjoy reaching out to one another for connection and help. Accountability works.

    "Most people who lose weight on a diet gain it back. They return to old habits. ... A study in the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine confirms what weight-loss experts have long suspected: Accountability works. Study participants who kept food journals were twice as successful as those who did not."

    You've Got This. That catchphrase gives me a pinch, too. No one really knows what you've got or if you have the desire to do anything. How bad to you really want it? No one knows. Not even the Shadow.

    No one really knows if you're sitting on the couch at the speed of zero while telling everyone else what to they need to be doing. We are creatures of habit and we enjoy giving others our thoughts on just about everything or we wouldn't be here on the daily. It's all fun. Really.

    I know myself and I know how to get myself in gear but connection matters. It's too easy to fall right back into old habits that brought us here in the first place so we keep tooling along. Together.
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,472 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,472 Member
    I should say that I do think that there is a sense of broad accountability that can happen and be beneficial. Anyone who posts at MFP regularly probably feels a slight pressure to keep going down the right path so they can keep talking about it. Inside my LL group we discuss how accountability can happen in a broader sense but it is not practical to expect it to be like having someone on your shoulder that will judge your decisions or your progress.

    I do not think of this process as one that requires every decision to be correct anyway. I think it is a process where you need mostly good decisions. If I make a bad decision or series of bad decisions I need to review it/them objectively and try to decide what, if anything, I can do to avoid a repeat in the future. Feeling like someone is going to hold me accountable just makes me feel a sense of guilt. That would keep me from being objective.
  • panda4153panda4153 Member Posts: 353 Member Member Posts: 353 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    I must confess when I see posts asking for an accountability buddy I can't help thinking:
    • You aren't ready, you don't want it enough.
    • You are likely to fail.
    Sorry!

    I would look at the RACI Matrix model where accountable and responsible are defined as:
    R = Responsible = The person who performs the work.
    A = Accountable = The person ultimately accountable for the work or decision being made.

    Those roles really can't be delegated to someone else in this context.

    Support and encouragement can of course be helpful (mindless cheerleading just grinds my gears!) but taking responsibity and being accountable for what and how much you stuff in your face is the basis of successful weight control.

    This is me as well, maybe for me it’s just the use of the work accountable, because it implies ownership of an outcome. I can’t give ownership of my health goals to someone else. However if people ask for support, advice, ideas, or feedback of any kind, I am happy to provide that, and I seek those things from others at times. It’s just when I see accountability buddy I get the sense that the person thinks success or failure is going to come from an outside source, and while outside sources and factors can influence an outcome, ultimately it’s what’s within that will determine the final outcome.
  • bmeadows380bmeadows380 Member Posts: 2,867 Member Member Posts: 2,867 Member
    panda4153 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    I must confess when I see posts asking for an accountability buddy I can't help thinking:
    • You aren't ready, you don't want it enough.
    • You are likely to fail.
    Sorry!

    I would look at the RACI Matrix model where accountable and responsible are defined as:
    R = Responsible = The person who performs the work.
    A = Accountable = The person ultimately accountable for the work or decision being made.

    Those roles really can't be delegated to someone else in this context.

    Support and encouragement can of course be helpful (mindless cheerleading just grinds my gears!) but taking responsibity and being accountable for what and how much you stuff in your face is the basis of successful weight control.

    This is me as well, maybe for me it’s just the use of the work accountable, because it implies ownership of an outcome. I can’t give ownership of my health goals to someone else. However if people ask for support, advice, ideas, or feedback of any kind, I am happy to provide that, and I seek those things from others at times. It’s just when I see accountability buddy I get the sense that the person thinks success or failure is going to come from an outside source, and while outside sources and factors can influence an outcome, ultimately it’s what’s within that will determine the final outcome.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but when people ask for an "accountability" partner, I take it in the sense that they are asking for someone for whom *they* can be accountable. They are not asking for someone to be accountable *for* them.

    Not for weight loss, but I'll sometimes tell my husband or a close friend that I am taking a particular course of action. It's not because I want them to nag me or remind me, it's just that saying it out loud to particular people will make me more accountable because I've said I'm going to to do it. I don't know if this is the thought when people ask for that here because I can't really understand how it works with a stranger. But that's how I imagine it.

    I'm actually the direct opposite - usually whenever I decide I'm going to try to do something, I keep it to myself out of my unrealistic fear of failure. If I try but fail and no one knew I was trying, at least I don't get overwhelmed by guilt and embarrassment when I get asked how its going. And when it comes to weight loss, if you are successful, sooner or later its going to be noticed. But I also have a hyper-guilt complex amongst a whole host of other self image issues, so I know this isn't exactly a good thing on my part, but it is what it is.

    It's much easier for me to just participate in the forums at large and make a few virtual friends that I can discuss my efforts with, who understands my frustrations and can give me a genuine voice of encouragement when I stumble because they've been there themselves, and who can give me realistic advice without the pressure of trying to perform to meet an expectation.

    If someone needs the accountability a partner can provide or the cheerleading encouragement, then if it works for them, i'd say go for it, but don't ask me to fill that role for you :)
  • GummiMundiGummiMundi Member Posts: 224 Member Member Posts: 224 Member
    OP, I understand what you're saying and, on a personal level, I agree with you - accountability buddies are an absolute "Nay!" for me. Then again, I'm extremely independent and I'm used to making my own decisions, accepting responsibility for the (good or bad) outcome, and being my own support system.

    But... we're not all wired the same way, so I get that for other people accountability buddies are important and provide them with the support they need. To each their own, I guess. :)
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,029 Member Member Posts: 24,029 Member
    panda4153 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    I must confess when I see posts asking for an accountability buddy I can't help thinking:
    • You aren't ready, you don't want it enough.
    • You are likely to fail.
    Sorry!

    I would look at the RACI Matrix model where accountable and responsible are defined as:
    R = Responsible = The person who performs the work.
    A = Accountable = The person ultimately accountable for the work or decision being made.

    Those roles really can't be delegated to someone else in this context.

    Support and encouragement can of course be helpful (mindless cheerleading just grinds my gears!) but taking responsibity and being accountable for what and how much you stuff in your face is the basis of successful weight control.

    This is me as well, maybe for me it’s just the use of the work accountable, because it implies ownership of an outcome. I can’t give ownership of my health goals to someone else. However if people ask for support, advice, ideas, or feedback of any kind, I am happy to provide that, and I seek those things from others at times. It’s just when I see accountability buddy I get the sense that the person thinks success or failure is going to come from an outside source, and while outside sources and factors can influence an outcome, ultimately it’s what’s within that will determine the final outcome.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but when people ask for an "accountability" partner, I take it in the sense that they are asking for someone for whom *they* can be accountable. They are not asking for someone to be accountable *for* them.

    Not for weight loss, but I'll sometimes tell my husband or a close friend that I am taking a particular course of action. It's not because I want them to nag me or remind me, it's just that saying it out loud to particular people will make me more accountable because I've said I'm going to to do it. I don't know if this is the thought when people ask for that here because I can't really understand how it works with a stranger. But that's how I imagine it.

    I'm actually the direct opposite - usually whenever I decide I'm going to try to do something, I keep it to myself out of my unrealistic fear of failure. If I try but fail and no one knew I was trying, at least I don't get overwhelmed by guilt and embarrassment when I get asked how its going. And when it comes to weight loss, if you are successful, sooner or later its going to be noticed. But I also have a hyper-guilt complex amongst a whole host of other self image issues, so I know this isn't exactly a good thing on my part, but it is what it is.

    It's much easier for me to just participate in the forums at large and make a few virtual friends that I can discuss my efforts with, who understands my frustrations and can give me a genuine voice of encouragement when I stumble because they've been there themselves, and who can give me realistic advice without the pressure of trying to perform to meet an expectation.

    If someone needs the accountability a partner can provide or the cheerleading encouragement, then if it works for them, i'd say go for it, but don't ask me to fill that role for you :)

    I'm the same way -- I don't want to be that wrapped up in someone else's weight loss effort. When it comes to specific feedback or questions, I'm more than happy to discuss but a day-in and day-out effort to help keep someone on track is more than I would be willing to take on for anyone who wasn't dear to me.
  • bobsburgersfanbobsburgersfan Member Posts: 3,410 Member Member Posts: 3,410 Member
    It totally depends on your personality.

    Me, personally, I HATE it when other people try to motivate me. I don't like cheerleaders with their "You got this!, You go girl!", etc. It always seems fake to me and just makes me want to not do the thing they are cheering me on to do. That's why I have never been able to work with a personal trainer...I tried, but they all have that attitude, even after I tell them to stop it.

    I understand though, that some people like to have a support group when they are trying to reach a goal. And, some people really are motivated by words of encouragement from others.
    I agree wholeheartedly that it depends on personality, but I'm the opposite of you; I like cheerleaders! It rarely seems fake to me. (I am actually struggling right now without my gym teachers because it makes me push myself harder when they are up there saying, "Don't stop! You can do this!")

    That said, I do NOT want an accountability partner. I think it comes down to how you define accountability, and accountability goes way beyond support, in my mind. I want lots of supporters (at least here on MFP), but I don't EVER want someone judging what I'm doing or how well I'm doing it! I suspect the people looking for "accountability buddies" have different ideas of what they really want, ranging from general support to someone who will be a lot more involved. It works for some people, although I do agree with others here that it comes down to YOU to change yourself, and nobody else can do that for you in the long term.
  • gradchica27gradchica27 Member Posts: 717 Member Member Posts: 717 Member
    I haven’t had an official “accountability buddy”, but I do have an IRL BFF that I text with about diet related stuff, and another about exercise. The diet BFF and I text every morning with our scale ups and downs when we’re trying to lose. We text throughout the day about being hungry/bored/having someone bring some delicious but not helpful food into the house/etc, and I’ve found telling someone I’m bored and want to eat something or I’m angry and want to rage eat a chocolate egg helps me name what the issue is and not engage in the self defeating behavior. We jokingly remind each other summer is coming and we can’t wear leggings forever, and neither of us really want to try and find new shorts. Having someone to joke about the little struggles with, someone to remind you of the bigger goal, and someone to commiserate about hormonal bloat has definitely made the whole process a bit more enjoyable and less lonely.

    My other friend and I text less frequently, but we check in about how our quarantine exercise is going and share any new PRs or achievements, which is nice. Most people don’t care or realize how long I’ve been working to move up from 20s to 25s on hammer curls, or when I hit a new deadlift PR, but she gets it and I like sharing her wins as wel.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 16,724 Member Member, Premium Posts: 16,724 Member
    I think the problem may be as much with the term, as with the reality.

    Do some people enjoy having lots of "MFP friends", and feel more committed to their own goals when they have a daily reminder that others are doing similar things? Sure. It's a pretty common, normal human thing, to feel some impetus to uphold group norms. If the people around a person in real life are overweight, fine with staying that way, inclined to make fun of people who exercise, orient their social lives around eating as a bonding experience - and I think such people do exist - then it might be helpful to create an artificial social group around oneself, of people who uphold different norms.

    Is that a group of "accountability buddies"? I think it may be what some people get, and potentially benefit from, when they ask for "accountability buddies".

    But, sure, there are other people who are not norms-motivated; who pride themselves on self-motivation; who don't have a real-life context that pushes back on their personal goals; who rebel against cheerleading; or whatever.

    And, sure, there are probably people who are trying to externalize their motivation literally, and that probably won't go well.

    However, what they initially think they'll get from an "accountability buddy" may not be what they actually do get, and what they do get could still be helpful. 🤷‍♀️

    I think this thread is a over-little focused on the term "accountability buddy", not on how it may play out in practice.

    I've gone through periods, especially early on in weight loss, when I benefitted in various ways from people on my MFP friend list - seeing examples of what they did, thinking about questions they asked about what I was doing, sharing ideas about how to deal with a particular roadblock, whatever. And although I'm definitely a cr*p MFP friend these days (in the friend-feed social zone) I've tried to help other people there, at various times, in various ways.

    Did I have "accountability buddies"? Was being an "accountability buddy"? Don't know, don't care. :drinker:
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