What if I shared with you a trick to increase your chance at being successful by 95%? It’s really not that hard but even if I share this hack I’m willing to bet that less than 10% of you will actually follow it.
We all know the importance of setting goals. If you read through our blogs you will see that many of them highlight the necessity of setting these goals. Goals are easy to set but why do so many of us fall short and give up? According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), committing to an accountability partner can increase your chance at success by 65%. In order to increase your chance of success by 95%, you need to get specific by setting up accountability appointments with that person. You must select a reliable accountability partner and COMMIT to a plan with that person. You must not overcommit yourself to your own detriment and you must not overburden your accountability partner as well. So, who makes a good accountability partner?
1. Your Mentor: I stress to every premed student the need for a solid mentor. Since 2011, Dr. Dale and I have had the honor of mentoring and providing mentors to premedical and medical students across the nation through online platforms. We took it upon ourselves to structure the mentorship not only by linking people together but also by recommending meeting schedules. Through this, I have come to recognize that many of those who succeeded in reaching their goals were committed to meeting with their mentor. A mentor who has walked your path will know exactly what to do when times get tough and you want to quit. I liken this to the role a good physician has with his or her patients. Physicians and mentors alike can help you (better than most people in your life) to refine your goals and steps to make them more appropriate since they have either been through the same journey themselves or have the knowledge of what it takes to get there. When you establish a mentorship, make certain to have a meeting with that mentor to share your goals and steps you will take to get there. Make sure to ask her or him if you can check in every so often. If they say “no”, then please move on. You can use your mentor as an accountability partner but you must allow them to be just that.
2. Social Media: I love seeing social media posts of people exercising, eating healthy and showing the world that they have lost 20 lbs over the past 3 months. These people are much more likely to reach their goals than those who keep the goals to themselves. We all love to see hard work pay off as though we were watching Rocky training for that big fight. We tend to chip in and offer tips, helpful products, promotions, and important dates to those who are bold enough to put themselves out there. You will be motivated like crazy to succeed but if you do fail while doing this it will likely hurt but you will have a lot of people there to pick you up along the way and you will not want to let them down. If you had gone at it alone, then you just may give up and leave your dreams behind. There is no prouder moment than watching students traverse the premed path while sharing their progress each semester until they’ve reached their goal of matriculating to medical school. This is awesome and it is what PreMed STAR is all about. We have developed a community in order to provide a safe space for accountability and encouragement. Many have taken advantage of the platform and have made the most of it. For those who prefer to be private, I recommend connecting with one or two people also applying to medical school on PreMed STAR. Share your goals with that person and schedule a monthly check with that person. These are the things that set successful people apart.
3. Parent: Never forget where you come from because this just may provide your biggest motivation to succeed. “I want to move my mom to a bigger house.” “I want to be able to treat my grandpa’s diabetes one day.” “I want to raise my children like my parents raised me one day.” Most of us don’t even recognize that our parents tend to serve as our best accountability partners. I have read a number of personal statements and helped with mock interviews over the years. I can easily say that a majority of the “why medicine” answers stem from an experience involving a family member. Often times it is a parent’s ailment or encouragement that serves as a driving force. Making promises or setting goals with your parents creates an accountability partnership. Unlike other partners, parents can be 100% real with you and offer solid constructive criticism. They know what drives you and can reach far back into your history to trigger an emotion. At the same time, some parents can also be poor accountability partners. As a medical student, I had a very close friend who nearly quit medicine because her mother continuously dissuaded her. While I was motivated and encouraged after chatting with my parents, she was in tears and felt guilty after listening to her mother begging her to quit and stay home with her child. It is important that you only allow people into this accountability role who will positively support you and share hard truths.
4. Best Friend: This one is a no-brainer. By now, those of you who have followed our blogs on PreMed STAR know how strongly we emphasize friendships. I hope those of you reading this have already filtered your friendship circle to a solid core. Your best friend may be a childhood buddy, teammate, sibling, significant other or spouse. This person should want you to succeed. He or she should be one of your biggest fans. You will likely have more encounters with this person than anyone else. Unlike other accountability partners, your best friend will wake you up in the middle of the night to make sure you finished your assignment. Your friend will go on a jog with you and chat about future goals with you. They will likely be the first person you will talk to after a rough break-up or bad test score. A best friend should not be competing against you and you should not be doing the same to them. Jealousy should not exist in the relationship. If you can’t be honest and transparent with your best friend by sharing grades and plans, this is likely not really your best friend and you may need to work harder in this area.
5. Yourself: Last but definitely not least, YOU can serve as your own personal accountability partner. I’m not asking you to develop split personality disorder but you may have to adopt unique strategies to hold yourself accountable. For instance, keeping a calendar, writing down important deadlines, ridding your space from distractions, creating incentives, and setting alarms can keep you accountable. Develop healthy habits now so you can thrive as you reach your goals. Many of you who have heard Dr. Dale speak are aware of his large 4.0 poster hung over his bed. Despite having others (even accountability partners) discouraging him, he persevered partially because he returned to a room with that 4.0 staring at him. I was a witness to this and it was no shock to me as he earned that 4.0 semester after semester until graduation.
Your task for this week is to:
1. Write down the person and/or social media platform you intend to use as your accountability partner.
2. Commit by informing that person or preparing your account.
3. Get started!
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