Can a friend help you get promoted? Or lose weight? Or be a better parent?
Statistically speaking, yes. Studies show that partnering with a peer increases your odds of being successful at just about anything.
I'm living proof that the combination of peer pressure and accountability can get you out of bed on a day when you might otherwise be tempted to hit snooze.
I've lost an inch and a half off my waist in the last 30 days, and I wouldn't have done it if it weren't for the gawd-awful pact I made with my friend Shellie.
Actually, only moments of it were gawd-awful. To be more specific, the 60 sweat-soaked minutes we spent every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Just us Girls Boot Camp (www.justusgirlsbootcamp.com) running wind sprints, jumping rope, pounding out push-ups and doing tricep dips in a church parking lot at 6 AM in the hopes of reclaiming our youthful figures and taking our aging bodies to a new level of fitness.
It worked. I'm not ready to strut around in a bikini, but I'm in better shape than I've been in for years. I can now do 20 push-ups in a row, without having to stop and whine about it.
But I wouldn't have done it without Shellie. When that 5:30 AM alarm went off, I wanted nothing more than to snuggle back under the covers. But what kind of jerk leaves their friend stranded at boot camp?
It wasn't that Shellie was a cheerleader. She loathed the across-the-parking-lot lunges just as much as I did. It was her mere presence that kept me motivated. She had a big job, an active family and just as many responsibilities as I did. If she could do it, so could I. I wasn't going to be the slackard who wimped out.
We humans are a funny bunch. We set all these goals for ourselves, and we feel like we're committed to accomplishing them. But when left to our own devices, our aspirations often wither in the face of alarm clocks, brownies and hard-to-accomplish objectives and tasks.
However, if you throw a little peer pressure into the mix, all of a sudden, we'll work our buns off. (Or in my case, our belly.)
If you truly want to accomplish something, your best bet is to get yourself an accountability buddy, someone who shares your goals and - this part is the kicker - someone you'd be embarrassed to have see you fail.
Trying to get promoted? Team up with a friend in the same field and agree that for the next 30 days, you'll both take on the most challenging assignments available, with a smile. Send each other an e-mail every Friday, recapping everything you accomplished and asking them what they did.
Want to be more patient with your kids? Instead of whining about how tough it is to deal with toddlers or teens, make a pact with a fellow parent to take a parenting class and hold each other accountable for implementing the advice.
Want to write a book? Partner with a fellow aspiring author. Whoever bangs out the most words by Saturday morning gets treated to coffee.
Peer pressure gets a bad rap in middle school. But sometimes it takes a buddy to pressure you into getting the tough stuff done.
Lisa Earle McLeod is keynote speaker, author, columnist and business consultant who specializes in sales and leadership training. Her newest book, The Triangle of Truth, has been cited as the blueprint for "how smart people can get better at everything." Visit www.TriangleofTruth.com for a short video intro.
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