Have you ever made a list of goals and thought to yourself, “Tomorrow is the day! I’m gonna wake up and get started right away!”
But tomorrow morning comes, and you hit that snooze button a few too many times. Then you go workout (good for you, friend!) and your friend asks you to go for coffee. Of course, you’re excited to catch up, so you go. Coffee turns into several hours. Heck, you’re ready for lunch by the time you head home!
You realize it’s already past noon and you haven’t started on any of those things you promised yourself you would tackle.
Your desire to start fresh “tomorrow” has come and gone and you wake up the next morning thinking – why can’t I just make myself do what I say I need to do, especially when I want to do better?
You are not alone.
Making and keeping promises to yourself is what accountability is all about.
But let’s look at accountability from a different angle. I think it will give you some clarity.
Let’s dive into what accountability is NOT!
#1. Accountability is NOT something someone does for you.
One of the most common reasons people come to coaching is because they struggle to hold themselves accountable. They think that having a coach is magically going to make them do the things they say they’re going to do.
But, accountability isn’t something someone does for you. YOU do it for yourself.
You can say you’re going to use all the accountability strategies but they won’t work unless YOU put them in place. Makes sense, right?
It’s so important to make and keep promises to yourself. Come up with a few promises that embody the type of character you want to represent. For example,
- I promise to try my best.
- I promise to finish what I start.
- I promise to start.
- I promise to take care of myself.
You have to start acting like the person you want to be.
#2. Accountability is NOT the same as motivation.
You have to actually want to be accountable. You have to be motivated and accountability will follow.
In order to find motivation you need to have clarity and desire. Without them, you will find it almost impossible to keep your promises to yourself.
If you don’t know what your goal is and why it matters to you, what’s your motivation to do the work?
Get clear on your goals.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Why is this important to you?
- How is your life affected by not accomplishing these goals?
- What is your first step in achieving your goal?
- What potential obstacles do you anticipate and how do you think you can overcome them?
Now that you know your WHAT and your WHY you have the motivation to take action.
Remember, desire is created by the negative consequences or positive outcomes you’ll experience by holding or NOT holding yourself accountable.
You have to want to keep your job, get that promotion, show up for your friends and family or create that business.
Without clarity and desire accountability will always be an uphill battle.
#3. Accountability is NOT a one-time thing.
Accountability is a habit. And habits are not a one-time, sometime thing; They’re an all-time thing.
There are tiny daily habits that encourage and support accountability. And there are tiny daily habits that kill accountability.
Habits that Kill Accountability :
- Hitting your snooze button.
Going in and out of sleep makes you more tired. It’s been found that you lose 2-4 hours of focused productivity each day you hit that snooze button.
- Scrolling on social media.
I got a rude awakening when I started getting those notifications on my phone at the end of the week on the amount of time I spend looking at that screen every day and it was shocking. There is no reason I should spend 4-5 hours a day mindlessly scrolling. Honestly, what a waste of time.
Habits that Encourage Accountability
- Making your bed every day.
Yes, I make my bed even when I’m traveling and staying in a hotel. It tells my brain it’s time to get up and start my day. it’s a small promise that I keep to myself. And doesn’t a made bed look pretty?
- Planning your day the night before.
Do you get out of bed and just start your day without a plan? Even if you have a few anchor point to your routine, such as leaving the house at a particular time each morning, having a better map of your day can help you hold yourself accountable.
If you know you want to meditate, exercise, pay the bills, chances are they will not happen. Scheduling the tasks that are necessary to move you forward on your goals will help you hold yourself accountable.
Track your habits in detail for a week. It will help you become aware of how you are spending your time.
Accountability starts with awareness and happens because of the tiny habits that support you keeping your promises to yourself. Once you know your habits, tweak them to encourage a mindset of accountability.
#4. Accountability is NOT about you feeling ready.
We do not live in an ideal world. There are rarely perfect circumstances, so many things are out of our control. But, you still have the ability to make the best decisions possible and focus on the things you can control.
Begin by adjusting your mindset from an “I’m just so scared and uncertain” to an “It’s okay to do things and stumble along the way” mindset. To do this you have to acknowledge and accept the following:
- Every choice has a consequence.
- Long lasting change comes from long-term effort.
- Stumbling and erring are part of the process, not an end to the work.
- I need to be brave and face my truths, which sometimes means answering tough questions about who I am, what actions I take, and what I’m willing (and not willing) to sacrifice.
- Investing in myself is important and worth the time, money and effort as needed.
#5 Accountability does NOT mean that you don’t get stuck.
If you’re doing anything new or challenging, you will get stuck! So it’s best to prepare for it.
Take a moment to think of what stands in your way of making progress and come up with strategies to help you overcome or bypass these situations.
Here are some common ones:
Identify your biggest distractions and come up with strategies to manage them. For example, if you’re distracted by your phone, keep it in another room and set your timer for one hour. When the alarms sounds, you can check your phone. Own up to what distracts you and figure out how to eliminate it.
How you choose to think and frame things can make all the difference with your approach and commitment to working on your goals. Instead of thinking, “I can’t,” replace these words with, “I’ll try.” Instead of spending time at the end of your day focusing on the things that went wrong, focus on the things that went right. The words and perspectives you choose are in your control, so create a can-do mindset.
Are you ready now to take charge and hold yourself accountable?
The bottom line is, no matter how many motivational posts or self-help books you read, YOU have to do the work. You have to hold yourself accountable for the choices you make and the consequences they bring.
What is one thing you’re going to put in practice from this article? Tell me in the comments.