Accountability Starts with YOU
In my first blog post of the year, I mentioned that I didn’t achieve all of my 2020 goals. While a part of this was a lack of strong (or SMART) goals, another big reason was accountability. The thing about accountability is that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept. While some people are great at staying accountable to themselves (internal accountability), other people require the help of others (external accountability). However, the best way to stay accountable is to have a few strategies from each.
Before you can build this accountability system, you must collect a little research on yourself. An excellent place to start can be with Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies test. This test assesses how you respond to the various expectations in your life to help you make better decisions. At the end of the quiz, you receive a brief three-page report that outlines your tendency and a few strategies for holding yourself accountable. The Four Tendencies Test is only the beginning of your self-assessment. It only gives you one piece of the puzzle toward building a system that will keep you accountable in the long run.
You also need to understand why you are working toward a particular goal. A few months ago, I wrote an article about anchoring to the why of your writing. This article is a great place to start as you craft the reasons you want to remain accountable to your goals in the first place. Try to identify more than one reason.
- What are your values?
- How does this goal (or these goals) connect to your values?
- Who do you want to be in the future?
- How does this goal (or these goals) bring you closer to your future self?
The deeper your reasons, the more likely you will stick to your goals, so dig deep.
The last bit of advice is to pay attention to yourself. There are boatloads of advice articles out there telling you to start your day with a cup of coffee, no, workout first, no, eat, and then work out. The truth is that any of these recommendations could work for you, or none of them could. So, how do you know what works best for you? Pay attention to your responses as you build your new accountability system.
For example, if you are not a morning person, forcing yourself into daily accountability that involves an early deadline may not be suitable for you. Research suggests that the productivity and energy levels of night owls versus morning people do differ significantly. If you are more of a night owl, then setting later deadlines will help you stay accountable because you are honoring the part of you that is most likely to work toward your goals.
To build a system of accountability for yourself, you first need to know who you are now, where you are going, what your goals are, and why you want to achieve them. Brittany Salsman, an experienced ICF life coach and one of my writing clients, recently wrote a workbook to help folks identify each of these things. While not everything in the book speaks specifically to accountability, it is a thorough resource to build self-awareness.
An accountability system is only as strong as its ability to motivate you to action. Start by getting to know yourself better, and you will manifest the future you’ve been waiting to create.