I Hired an Accountability Coach


Hey friends,

This week I hired my first-ever accountability coach. How did it come to this?

Well, last year I worked for 90 days with a productivity coach (the fantastic Chris Sparks). And I found that a big chunk of the value just came from him checking in with me every two weeks, and holding me accountable for the goals I’d set in the last session:

Ali, did you do that piano practice?

You said you’d go to the gym twice a week – how’s that going?

Just doing that on a two-week cadence, I made enormous progress. I stopped squirming away from my non-urgent but important tasks (like working out), because admitting to another human being that you don’t follow through on your intentions just feels a bit crap.

Once the coaching ended, I missed the whole accountability thing. I also saw that the “accountability buddy” scheme in my Part-Time YouTuber Academy was pretty game-changing for a lot of the students.

As usual, I didn’t act on that niggle of a thought. But a few weeks ago, my friend Michael and I were having a zoom catch-up, and he mentioned an ‘accountability coach’ he had that really helped him.

It was through a company called Commit Action – naturally, I signed up, and now I’ve got James as my accountability coach 🚀 (btw this isn’t sponsored etc, I’m just sharing what’s happening in my life lol)

💪 How it works

Every Wednesday we have a 20-minute Zoom call where we decide on my priorities for that week, how I’ll get them done, and we identify potential obstacles.

This week, for example, my priorities are:

  1. Write chapter 5 of my book
  2. Work out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  3. Organise a dinner party for Saturday evening (to get started on my cooking journey)

James also pings me a message every few days to check on my progress. Grand total = $300 a month.

That might sound absolutely ridiculous: $300 for 80 minutes on Zoom and a few text messages. To be fair, it is a bit ridiculous. But paying someone makes me take it all more seriously. And for me, the value of actually hitting my goals on a daily basis – or just getting 20% better – is astronomically greater than $300 a month.

To be clear, when I was younger and more broke, paying for accountability coaching would clearly NOT have been worth it. It’s more aimed at entrepreneurs, business owners, and other people who’re willing to place a premium on their productivity gains.

💸 What if I don’t want to spend the money?

It’s pretty easy to replicate accountability coaching with a friend:

  1. 😇 Ask a friend (ideally someone you meet up with regularly) to be your accountability buddy. Most people will say yes.
  2. 📆 Every week (or bi-weekly), chat for 15 minutes about what you both want to get done before your next meeting. You should each set about 3 goals for the coming week – something concrete and achievable (eg go for two 5k runs).
  3. 📱Text each other during the week about the goals, being firm but supportive.
  4. 🏗️ Next time you meet, give each other feedback, and analyse problems. Also a pretty good way of being deepening your friendship. This is basically what my brother Taimur and I do on our podcast Not Overthinking.

You can also do this by yourself with an accountability notebook, where you write down and track your goals. Once a month, ask someone you trust to flick through it and do a post-mortem with you about what worked and what didn’t.

Anyway, I’m feeling a lot more positive about the next few weeks. I’ll report back on my goals progress in the next email.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

PS I haven’t got any commercial relationship with Commit Action, but if you’d like accountability coaching, this link gives us both $150 off our next month. 😁

🗞️ The Publish Press

Exciting times – I’m featured in a recent issue of The Publish Press, a free newsletter by the YouTubers Colin and Samir. The newsletter gives you a sneak peek into the creator economy, and how people like me run their businesses. You can sign up here for emails every Tuesday and Friday.

♥️ My Favourite Things

📝 Article – My first impressions of web3 by Moxie Marlinspike. Really interesting – basically the founder of messaging service Signal talks through some potential problems with web3 and crypto. The big one is how web3 is starting to rely on centralised companies with big servers (like MetaMask, Infura, OpenSea) to process all the information (the Google-style central control that web3 was meant to get away from. There’s one freaky bit where he shows how he designed an NFT that looks different depending on what platform it’s on:

🎧 Audiobook – The Coaching Habit by Michael Stanier. About how to coach and manage people, and have productive conversations. Some tips: ask questions instead of giving advice, let people make their own mistakes. Just finished it this week, pretty impressed.

🖥️ Tech – Opal C1 Webcam – Not on sale yet, but I’m very hyped. It’s a 4k, DSLR quality, pro-level webcam with a built-in mic. This could be game-changing for Zoom calls without my chunky Sony camera.

✍️ Quote of the Week

There is another reason that note-taking flies mostly under the radar: We don’t experience any immediate negative feedback if we do it badly.

From How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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