Note 1/3/2014: Thanks to a reader’s comment, I have been made to read this post again and upon doing so, I realize it is insensitive and wrong. After my first inclinations to take the post down, I have since decided that since we are all about accountability, I will leave the post as is in the name of transparency. However, I want this note to precede the post as my own personal admission that my post here is wrong, and I apologize. As I mentioned in my response to the reader, it is foolish to blame an addict’s failures on someone else. Thank you for reading and may we all find strength to continue to fight for online purity.
I’m a huge proponent of accountability. Every moral compass benefits from accountability – regardless of how pure and honest we might think we are. And, the neat thing about accountability is that it always works if set up correctly. Let me repeat that: accountability always works if set up correctly.
But, what about those times accountability seemed to fail – we know they exist. If accountability always worked with no caveats, then the world would be pretty squeaky clean. There is but one issue at the root of every single failure in accountability – the accountability partner. That’s it – it is the only possible way that accountability can fail. That isn’t to say that you should blame your accountability partner for your failings, but it is to say you need to be sure you’re picking someone to be your accountability partner that wants you to succeed as badly as you want yourself to succeed.
For instance, a complaint I see every once in a while about EverAccountable is that it doesn’t report websites viewed in non-supported browsers, but only shows that an unsupported browser was used. The complaint is generally looked at as a way to circumvent the app, but, at least in my eyes, this complaint stems from the problem of an accountability partner that is not doing their job. The accountability partner needs to hold the user accountable for times an unsupported browser was used – it is fair, and wise, to ask about the times a non-supported browser was used. This isnt unique to just our app here at EverAccountable, either – this applies to any accountability program in life or on the web: if there are gaps in information, the accountability partner needs to be asking the tough questions. It is what they are there for – this is their purpose!
So what do you do if the accountability partner isn’t doing their job?
Well, here is an instance where the answer really is as easy as you would expect: get a new accountability partner. If you’re serious about using accountability to get your life as you want it, change a habit, or just give you peace, you need to find an accountability partner that is equally interested in helping you. Otherwise you’re just letting someone in on your dirty little secret and letting them play along with you. That’s not accountability, that is enabling.
Accountability always fails when you select a disinterested accountability partner. Don’t blame the partner – you picked them – but don’t continue using an accountability partner that doesn’t seem interested in helping you, either. Accountability is the most powerful way to change a habit, but it takes teamwork. Just like a coach doesn’t continue to play someone that is hindering the betterment of the team, neither should you continue to struggle with an accountability partner that doesn’t care at the same depth that you care.