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  • Writer's pictureMake Mereal

How Can I Make Myself Accountable?

Imagine waking up in the morning, and whilst sipping your coffee, you feel calm and relaxed. You know that you have carefully planned your day, and you know, (you trust yourself), you are going to stick to that plan. 

There will be no questions, no buts. No maybe…. I’ll just text so and so, or…. I’ll just do this little bit of cleaning or tidying instead of my plan.  No. You know you’ll stick to it.

Take a moment to imagine what that would feel like.  How would it be?  Would you feel lighter?  Joyful maybe?  Less stressed?  Less guilty?  Peaceful? Excited? You’d feel good, right?  Great even.  For me I feel lighter, less stressed, happy.

Right now, though you might be in the heat of the battle, the heart of the moment and wondering why accountability is just so bloody hard.  You want to stick to the things that you say to yourself you are going to do, but you just aren’t managing it.  When I’m in this space I feel stressed, I’m over-thinking, confused, and often very tired.

Most of the guides on the internet about how to hold yourself accountable will say: set a SMART goal, plan the actions related to it, start with small tasks, remove distractions, tell someone else what you are going to do and reward yourself when you have achieved the goal. 

All good advice.

But, what if accountability is a journey, rather than a destination?  Bear with me here.  I’ve been thinking about this because there are a multitude of things that we grapple with when attempting to make plans and stick to them

For starters, emergencies, Harry has fallen off his bike and needs collecting, or opportunities, could you do a presentation at our summit?  Yes please, thank you!

The usual distractions, your phone, oh there’s dust there, I’ll just take care of that, I’ll just look up a restaurant for tonight, I’ve fallen down a Facebook hole and before I realised, I was watching cartwheeling cats….

You may have missed planning something, not quite have planned enough time for a new task, or you could be over-perfecting something, all of which throws your planning off.

It could be that you are not completely clear on your goal or are not really invested in it.

You might not have broken the goal down into manageable actions and so the actions look so overwhelming, you give up before you start.

Then there is instant gratification, I could watch TV, or slightly less obvious, I could just do the cleaning, then I get the hit of completing a job but one which is easier than the one which I am supposed to be tackling….

Which leads me to the underlying reasons for accountability being so damn hard.  Fear. When we set big goals, they are challenging, and they do send us out of our comfort zone.  Out of our comfort zone means grappling with uncomfortable fears of things like, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of humiliation, fear of confrontation, and so the list goes on.

So, back to accountability as a journey.  What if, you set your goal, made your plan for the week and then watched yourself, just observed without judgement, what you actually did?

Getting curious about what you actually did helps you refine your planning, improve your productivity and helps you really understand your personal pitfalls. 

I now know from observing myself (even though I was absolutely sure I wasn’t on my phone) that my phone needs to be in another room when I’m working… and if I hear myself thinking “I’ll just do xxxx” I know that’s me trying to get a quick hit, an easy task completed, rather than tackling the one I’m scared of.

The best advice I have is this; find an accountability partner who wants to be on the same journey, set your goals, make your plans, go into action and then just make notes on your observations of where you end up both getting wins and being off-track.  Above all, please be kind, it’s very easy to be critical at this point but it’s so off-putting, not to mention de-motivating!  You need to be your own best cheerleader.  Take your notes, celebrate your wins and when you plan next week – make the necessary adjustments-and so the journey continues.

You should start to reap the benefits of this immediately, with increased clarity, smoother time management, increased productivity against important goals and, thank goodness, a reduction in stress!

If you would like additional help with accountability, please feel free to use the contact form to request a FREE 45-minute accountability strategy session. We can take an example of something you want to be accountable for and walk through your process, so you have new awareness and new information to use moving forward. You do not have to embark on your accountability journey alone. 

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