When you are using Accountability Software, the most important question to ask is: Who should receive your Accountability Reports?
For some people, the choice of an accountability partner (or an ally as we like to call it) is an obvious one: a parent, a best friend, a spouse. But a lot of people simply don’t know who they should ask.
Here are ten steps to get you started.
1. Understand relational accountability.
Before you can choose a good ally, you have to know what accountability is all about.
Accountability is the ability and willingness to give an account to someone else of your actions and motives.
There are several key aspects of this definition:
- Ability: This is what Screen Accountability™ gives you. It captures blurred screenshots of how you use your screens and automatically sends a report of any questionable activity to the ally you selected.
- Willingness: True accountability is not forced. It is chosen.
- Actions and Motives: Accountability is about being open about what I do and why I do it.
2. Take personal responsibility.
When relational accountability is divorced from personal responsibility, you will be disappointed every time. In the end, it is not an accountability partner’s job to change your life. You must completely own your mistakes, your messes, your weaknesses, your habits, your character.
Many end up looking to accountability partners as scapegoats. “I didn’t meet my goals because my accountability partners fell through.” Wrong. If you are unwilling to own your shortcomings, how can anyone hold you to task on your goals?
3. Take stock of what motivated you to find accountability.
Ask yourself why you signed up for Covenant Eyes in the first place. Were you struggling with porn? Were you venturing into morally “gray areas” online? Were you spending too much time playing online games and neglecting your family? Were you hoping to establish good habits by limiting your time online? Did you choose accountability to serve as a good example to your family or others?
You should be able to state very clearly what your objectives are in very specific words.
4. Formulate two to four questions based on your motivation.
Your ally should know your goals, your weaknesses, and your biggest potential pitfalls.
Get started by writing down two to four questions you want your ally to ask you. Make the questions detailed enough that you can’t answer them with a simple yes or no. This will help you talk about not just your actions but your motives as well.
Here are some examples:
- “What was the most tempting thing you encountered online since we last spoke?”
- “Tell me about a choice you made online this week that compromised your desire to be [insert character quality here].”
- “What on your Accountability Report should draw my attention?”
Having specific questions gives you a place to start and keeps you focused on the goals at hand. Eventually, accountability conversations can evolve from a routine list of questions to richer conversations about transparency, honesty, and character.
5. Find someone trustworthy.
You should choose someone you can trust to keep your Accountability Reports and conversations confidential.
6. Find someone challenging, not condemning.
Pick someone who will be challenging but not condemning. They shouldn’t be timid, but willing to ask you questions. Good accountability partners are not cops who are just looking for you to slip up, or who jump to conclusions about your Report, but more like coaches who are challenging you to live with integrity.
The best accountability partners take their role seriously and responsibly. They are your ally. They want the best for you. They are willing to be accountable for you just as you are willing to be accountable to them.
7. If needed, find more than one person.
One person might not give you all the support you need, so consider asking more than one person to be an ally.
By the way, if you’re married, your spouse should know who your accountability partners are, and your spouse should determine whether he or she wants to receive your reports. It is good to be honest with your wife or husband about your online life. But remember, spouses occasionally can be too close to a sensitive situation to give you constructive feedback. Don’t necessarily lean on your spouse for the same kind of support as you do other allies.
8. Customize your Accountability Reports to match your goals.
Talk to your ally about how frequently they should receive your reports and how often you’d like to talk about them.
You should also tell your ally which sensitivity level you’ve chosen for blocking. Will only adult content be blocked? Or are you using the Family level for blocking?
9. Set up times to meet and/or talk.
How often do you want to meet with your partner? What makes sense given your goals? Talk to you partner and suggest a regular day and time to talk.
10. Tell your allies how to challenge you.
Finally—this last step is critical—tell your allies what you expect them to do if something questionable appears on your Report or if you admit to a failure.
Your ally might see something questionable you did, or noticed you were online at a questionable time of day or night. Should they call you? Text you? Talk to you in person?
Setting expectations gives your ally an open door to have conversations with you.
One size does not fit all.
Remember, accountability will look a little different for everybody. What’s important is that you and your ally find what works best for you.
Just like thousands of others, we trust Covenant Eyes will equip you to build an accountability relationship that will impact your life for years to come.
Want to learn more about what it takes to be an effective accountability partner? Read the blogpost “Accountability Partners: How to Leverage Them for Growth.”