Be Accountable to Yourself

Accountability is one the major success factors.

I have clients who confess that the primary reason they keep hiring me over and over is the gentle accountability that they get from it. (Sure, they get lots of other benefits beyond that, but when they think about the prime benefit they get, the accountability is the one they cite.)

Because of the accountability, they get so much more accomplished. And it doesn’t matter whether we are talking business goals or personal transformation.

But what if you aren’t my client? How can you get the accountability you need ?

One way is by being accountable to yourself.

The trouble with being accountable to ourselves, is that it is so easy to cheat. When we are accountable to someone else, we are wired to work harder to live up to our promises. (They may only be implied promises, but they are still promises to that part of our brain that keeps track.)

The trouble with being accountable to someone else is that if they aren’t gentle (while still holding you accountable), you will come to either lie to them or avoid them. That defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

So, we come back to being accountable to ourselves. Here’s a trick to help you with it that provides some incentive — without being harsh nor letting you ignore the thing you are trying to accomplish.

Get a wall calendar — the kind with the small blocks, one for each day of the month. (It can be large or small.) Hang it up on your wall where you will see it every day. Print out a phrase that represents the One Thing that you are trying to achieve (exercise every day, eat smaller portions, make one (extra) sales call, etc.) and put that just above or below the calendar. Focus on only One Thing for starters.

Every day that you actually DO the One Thing, put a check mark in that day’s box on the calendar. Days that you skip will be staring at you with a big blank box.

Make your first goal to be able to honestly check the box for 21 days in a row.

Continue until you have achieved your goal. If you miss a day, call yourself on it and tell yourself that you can do better… and then do better. You call yourself on it by acknowledging that you missed it. Don’t bother with excuses, just acknowledge that you didn’t do it… no matter what the circumstances were.

For added incentive, tell others that you are doing this. (Even if they never ask about it, you know you have told them and they COULD ask… so you will work hard to be able to give them a positive report.)

And when you have done 7 days in a row, brag about it to your friends. And again at two weeks. And at three weeks. (Yay! You made the 21-days-in-a-row goal!) And after 3 months. And six months. And one year. (Assuming that the One Thing was something that is on-going.)

Be sure and celebrate the accomplishments and milestones along the way. The celebration can be as simple as bragging to your friends or as involved as rewarding yourself with a treat. (The treat should NOT be counter to what you are trying to accomplish. If you are working on losing weight, don’t treat yourself to a pizza as a reward. Treat yourself to a massage, instead.)

When you have that accomplished (or are doing it habitually without any need for the calendar and accountability), then set your next goal and repeat the process.

Or perhaps you know yourself well enough to know that you will still need some outside accountability. If that’s the case, maybe you should contact me. We can talk and see if it makes sense for us to work together. I can provide accountability, insights, and strategies to achieve your objectives. My clients all cite those as important aspects of our work together.

What about you? Have you tried something like this? What was your experience? (Share with us using the comments.)

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