3 Benefits of using Social Media as an Accountability Partner (not for the faint hearted!)

I'm one of those people who checks my Facebook account regularly, like 4-5 times a day (maybe 10+ if I'm being really honest; and when I am bored). There have been many articles on how social media has an effect of "oh there he/she goes again, boasting about his/her perfect life" and yes, I'm sure we all have friends that do that (present company excluded of course). But what if we could use our social media platforms as an accountability partner instead?

What do I mean by an accountability partner? Simply, someone (or a collection of people) who hold you to your intentions, goals and vision. Imagine making New Year Resolutions and announcing it to the social media world at large (how you limit the Audience settings or not is entirely up to you).

I'm not talking about joke-y resolutions that people put out there but don't really mean. I'm talking about those resolutions and intentions that you really REALLY want to achieve. Those Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) that everyone is always talking about, but often falter half way.

If you had people raring for you, keeping you motivated, and even giving you tips on how to get out of the ruts that WILL happen with those BHAGs, wouldn't it be harder to give up and easier to succeed?

Over the past couple of years, I've put out some BHAGs on my FB page and other social media platforms, including Personal Development group chats. These have included:

  1. Running a marathon (2015): I only started running in December 2013 and was a certified couch potato before that! I used to joke before that that my only sports were speed reading and movie marathons. 
  2. Water fasting (2017): I've fasted before as mentioned in a previous blog post, but usually stopped at 3 days. I'm going for 6 this time.
  3. Touching the lives of 10 million women by 2022 (to have a ripple effect of millions more men, women, children and organisations - no discrimination here, just focusing on who I feel I can really touch and connect with for a start). I'll be writing more about this mission in future posts. Meanwhile #10millionwomen!

Here's what I've found:

1. Once you make a BHAG known, you will feel less inclined to give up.

Plain and simple, people will support you and you will feel some accountability, even if those Friends are not really friends (in my case, they most definitely ARE).

For my water fast intent, I considered transitioning to a bone broth fast on Day 4. While I will listen to my body, and do what I need to, to stay healthy and fully functional, the feedback from my social media feed is keeping me upbeat and buoyant about sticking to my original intent. And even if I do I feel the need to modify my fast, I can be open and completely authentic about why; and be happy with my decision!

2. You discover your inner strength (or rather extra inner strength that you thought you didn't have)

Yes, you will have supporters. But human nature being what it is, you will have your detractors. Some of them come from a place of concern; some from a place of negativity; others from a place of ignorance (by which I mean they assume they know what you mean, but actually don't. Remember: Clarity is Power! So if someone isn't clear, don't judge their response, but take the time to clarify what your intention is about, and why it is important to you - if you feel like it!)

The point of this is you need to have full accountability to yourself first. The goal must be authentic and mean something to you. Do your homework. Make sure you can stand by your publicly announced decision or goal (whether you achieve it or not is not the point here). Are you committed enough to start with to withstand the trickle of tsunami of opposition - which one it turns out to be really depends on your community. Which leads me to my third point...

3. You begin to realise what your community is really like.

It's been oft quoted that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with (Jim Rohn). When you begin to see the responses from your social media community, you will begin to understand the kinds of people you associate with. Are they edifying? Or do the pull you down like crabs in a bucket?

I feel fortunate enough to have an extremely motivated, like-minded group of family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who not only support, but uplift my goals. For my marathon, I had friends track my training on Runkeeper from the USA, China and Singapore. I had many invitations for group training, some I took up, and some I didn't because I knew I'd be way slower than them. But all those shows of support kept me going till the marathon was done!

And just imagine, when I announced my 10 million lives BHAG, my Frontier Training community jumped right in and started talking about pulling resources to touch 100 million, then 1 billion lives together, through our individual work and through collaborations!

Now that's a goal we can work on together and keep each other motivated on.

So, if you're ready for it, try it out for size. I've seen it work, not just for myself, but many friends who do the same. Some people may think they're showing off, but I believe that many are doing this to stay accountable. And if so, more power to them!

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