Accountability matters

Encourage each other without coddling each other. You’re going to mess up — by forgetting or by purposefully rejecting — but a gentle push from your partner is a good step to getting back on track quickly.

I have a friend who decided to start a new habit this month: making her bed every morning.

And I know that because she shared the goal publicly on Facebook. But she didn’t just say she was going to start doing a new routine and leave it at that. She has shared a picture of her made-up bed every day since she made that commitment. (I just went and checked and she still hasn’t missed a day of posting.)

Sometimes she shares things that she did differently, like putting out a new fall-scented candle on her nightstand, or that she finished reading one book and replaced it with another one, or that she tried fluffing her pillows a different way to see which looks better.

And sometimes she shares that she almost didn’t get to making her bed because she forgot or started doing her old morning routine until she remembered she needed to post a photo on Facebook, or that she didn’t feel like making her bed, but the statement she had made at the beginning of the month made her want to do it.

Trusted partner

She’s gotten quite a bit of positive feedback, some friends will respond in her comments with pictures of their own made-up beds or that they’ve decided to start doing similar things, whether that be making their beds and posting it or not posting it or starting entirely different daily habits.

And my friend said she wasn’t really doing this to motivate others, although she appreciated that opportunity, but to motivate herself and to have some sort of accountability.

And that accountability, knowing that people were seeing her post each day, and that some were using it as their own motivation to respond with a made-up bed or a cleaned bathroom counter each morning, kept her going.

I remember being encouraged in youth group to find an accountability partner, someone I could trust and felt comfortable being honest with and someone who was not afraid to be honest with me. Each partner would set a goal (usually to read their Bible each day) and would reach out when they had completed their reading or if they were struggling to meet their goal.

And that partner ideally would provide encouragement to meet the goal. Sometimes it would be a daily check-in, but it could also be weekly or just randomly. And if taken seriously and honestly, it’s a really good idea.

Growth and encouragement

So if you’re wanting to get started with something that you’ve struggled with, whether that’s reading your Bible, praying, going to church or fighting a temptation you’re wrestling with, find someone you trust and ask for their partnership to go through whatever it is with you.

Text or talk daily (or each time whatever it is you’re working on comes up) at first especially to really set a good habit, and when you’re ready it can move towards a scheduled or random check in. And offer to be your partner’s place of accountability too, to help them with whatever they are working through.

Encourage each other without coddling each other. You’re going to mess up — by forgetting or by purposefully rejecting — but a gentle push from your partner is a good step to getting back on track quickly. And of course, don’t lie. That doesn’t help you or them, but it especially hurts you.

Find someone: a trustworthy friend, a Bible study leader, a sibling, and ask if they’d be willing for you to come alongside each other to grow a healthy habit in your spiritual journey.

Hannah Muñoz

Hannah Muñoz is a regular contributor to The Scroll. She also is the digital editor for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. She graduated from Samford University in 2017 and is a member of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham.

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