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  • Writer's pictureShawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD

Choose an Accountability Partner this Holiday Season

Have you considered an accountability partner for the holidays?

Not to accomplish more tasks, but to enjoy more moments.

We normally think of an accountability partner as someone with whom we have shared a goal and our plan to reach it. Then we commit to report back on our progress. But an accountability partner isn’t just for working on goals and they certainly aren’t supposed to be slave drivers.

But this month, I challenge you to reach out to a friend this week and commit to fewer have-to’s and more want-to’s this month.

Areas to consider committing to your accountability partner:

  • Play hooky from your obligations for one day (or one hour).

  • Commit to having two massages this month instead of one.

  • Vow to clear an afternoon to enjoy a movie.

  • Agree to dabble in your favorite hobby.

  • Choose a more enjoyable way of getting those to-do’s done.

For example, schedule time with a friend where you both write and send your holiday messages. Chatting and laughing with your favorite beverage (change it up with hot chocolate or mulled-wine). You accomplish your task and socialize. How about hosting a group write-in and invite several friends?

  • Keep your self-care appointments.

Now is not the time to short-change yourself. Keep those appointments that refresh and re-energize you. This includes that yoga class you take three times a week, that monthly massage you enjoy, or that weekly coffee & chat with a friend.

  • Go for good enough.

Identify good enough levels for routines such as exercise, cleaning, cooking, marketing, networking. If you normally go for an hour walk, be prepared to accept a 15-minute walk as good enough. What positive, healthy, supportive routine might you chuck completely if you get busy this season? What could you commit to doing instead as a good enough option?

  • Delegate your Do’s.

Discuss with your accountability partner those tasks and responsibilities you might delegate to others (paid, unpaid, or in-trade). Then decide which one(s) you will delegate. Commit to it with your accountability partner. Be specific on details. Who will you delegate to? When will you ask them? What details do you need to give them (what, when, how)? What’s the consequences of not fulfilling your commitment to delegating?

  • Plan to change how you socialize and celebrate.

My neighborhood in Hawai’i started a tradition of a holiday house-crawl. Each household would host a portion of a holiday meal — drinks (spiked eggnog 😉) at one home, appetizers at another, then the entrée at the next two houses, followed by dessert at the last home. Everyone got to relax and enjoy, no one spent all day cooking, and everyone got more steps in during the day.

Another option I’ve read about but haven’t tried is to hold an Open House party. Plan a stress-free, show-up-when-you-can event that allows you to spend the day at home welcoming guests over several hours. You can order various appetizers and finger foods rather than spend hours cooking. You’re more likely to have a quiet, relaxed chat with friends if guests are spread out over six hours instead of packed into three hours. Your family and friends can stop by throughout the day when it’s convenient for them with little dread of having multiple events to choose from.

What want-to can you achieve with an

accountability partner this season?

More on Accountability…

What to look for in an accountability partner:

  • Supportive and encouraging

  • Nonjudgmental

  • Honest and kind

You’ll want someone who believes you can do it, will offer encouraging words to keep you going, and will challenge your excuses without judging you.

How to make the most of an accountability partner:

  • Set the commitment — WHAT you commit to do or not do

  • Establish details

— WHEN you will start

— WHEN you will finish

— HOW you’ll do it

— WHAT support you need

— WHO else will help

— WHAT is the best you could do

— WHAT is the bare minimum (or what's good enough)

— WHAT is a slight stretch for you

I like to think of the last two as establishing multiple levels based on if everything goes better than expected, if everything goes wrong, and somewhere in between.

  • Build motivation — share WHY you want to do it. What’s in it for you?

Party with Dhucks - turn your paper piles into files -- stop talking about writing your book and write it

Need more help? I’ve been running accountability sessions with clients who want to clear their paper piles, organize their closet, or make their guest room usable again for years. I call them Paperwork Parties but papers are not the only thing you can focus on. I’ve started holding Writing Parties for one client who wants to make progress on her children’s book and her organizing blogs which she kept pushing aside. Scheduling time with me each week (or twice a month) has her excited about writing again and she’s advancing nicely. If you’d like an accountability partner that will help you keep your appointments with yourself call me at 808.937.9338 or email me at For more information about Paperwork Parties, go to Remember, they’re not just for “paper” anymore.


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