Goals: The Power of Accountability

Jan 26, 2018 by

Goals: The Power of Accountability

This year I did what most people do, I set New Year resolutions and goals. Some of these goals are going great others, not so much.  Honestly, I am a pro at writing down goals and putting together some sort of plan to accomplish it. That’s where it ends. I never actually follow through.

Later I look back and see the goals and plans that I had and realize I am not any closer to achieving the goal than I was the day I wrote it down. At first, I started coming up with all sorts of excuses. I am too busy. I just don’t have the right kind of personality to actually follow through with it. I don’t have enough self-discipline. The list could go on and on. But when I stepped back and took a good long hard look at the real reason why I wasn’t accomplishing my goals the answer was so simple. I wasn’t being held accountable for my goals.

Why be accountable?

 

Let me try and paint a picture for you to show you why it’s important to be accountable.

There you are thinking about that race you want to run. It’s something that you have never done before and it seems like a long shot that you will ever be able to get there. But it’s worth a shot and it might actually be fun! You start looking online at all the training programs out there that can help you get ready for that race. There is one that catches your interest, it seems doable. Now things start getting exciting! You’ve got your goal, a plan, and new shoes. Nothing is going to stop you from running that race. But you don’t tell anyone because you want it to be a surprise.

Things are going great for a week you have been eating healthy, you have been sleeping well. You have not missed one day of your training program. It feels like you are on top of the world! Nothing can stand between you and this race!

That night you go out to eat and think I am going to splurge. I have been eating good and exercising, I deserve this. Needless to say, you go overboard. Now you feel gross and groggy. The next day you don’t have quite as much energy as you usually do. You think to yourself, I’m tired I think I will skip training today. No one will know.

This is the beginning of a slippery slope. You start craving chocolate. There is a box of brownie mix in the pantry. No one will know. You have a headache from eating too much sugar. I’m just going to lay down for a few minutes instead of running today. Next thing you know you haven’t ran all week. Then all the sudden that week turned into a month. The race is next week and you are in worse shape than when you started. You think to yourself, I knew I couldn’t do it. It’s ok though no one knows that I failed.

Now, if this is you don’t worry we ALL do it. This is me more times than I would like to admit. But what if we changed just one thing, what if we told someone. What if we told a friend who wanted to do the race also? You both want to see each other succeed so you held each other accountable. Instead of saying no one will know, you now think I get to tell her how I overpowered this urge to eat an entire box of brownies. She can tell you to get off the couch, and run! All of the sudden you have incredible power to achieve your goal.

Who should we be accountable to?

 

Now, I am not saying that we should go around telling everyone all of our goals. I totally get that there are going to be goals that are super personal that you are not going to want to share with the world. It is also a possibility that there are people who won’t be able or willing to hold you accountable. Finding the right person or group to hold you accountable is important.

When you are looking for an accountability buddy or group keep these tips in mind:

  • Are they going for the same goal? Can we hold each other accountable?
  • Do they really want to see me succeed?
  • Is this person willing to get “mean” if I need it?
  • Can I trust this person with something personal?
  • Will they truly hold me accountable or will they have an “oh well, it happens” attitude?
  • Will they show compassion when I fall short despite my best efforts?

This definitely isn’t a full list of what to look for but it is a start. Having a fantastic support to help push you, lift you and strengthen you will make it nearly impossible to fail.

While having someone to cheer you on is extremely powerful it is also important to be able to hold yourself accountable. Watching your progress and seeing where you are struggling can have power as well. You know you better than most people know you.  It will sometimes be easier to see the “why” of your struggles rather than just the struggle itself. You are the only one who will be able to feel the true sense of accomplishment as you get closer and closer to your accomplishments. It is usually not enough to only be accountable to yourself because it is too easy to make excuses and not push yourself. You still need outside help.

Goals: The Power of Accountability

Finding ways to be accountable

 

There are many ways to reach out to someone to hold you accountable. Here are a few that I have tried and have found helpful.

Facebook groups: There are several groups out there that you can join. Or you can start your own group. Some of the things that I like about facebook groups are they can be private. I don’t always mind sharing my goals but I don’t necessarily want the whole world of Facebook to know. It’s awesome that it is so convenient to post anything, anywhere. If you are in a group you also have more than one person cheering you on which adds strength. You also have the opportunity to help more people on their goals.

Non-online friends and family: While it is easy to post stuff on Facebook, it is also easy to call someone or text someone. An even better option, although it is a little bit harder, and that is to meet someone face to face. Chances are you probably have a better relationship with these people than some of your friends online. This way of being accountable is more personal. These people will be able to help you out one on one with some of those tougher goals. Someone in this group could easily be the one you need to hold you accountable to for those extra personal goals you don’t want to share with everyone. However, be careful with this group. These people may not be able to get “mean” when you need it.

Apps:  Apps are created to be easy and user-friendly. Some apps will have groups that you can interact with and others are just for you. While this one isn’t my favorite because it can take out other people, it can be very effective when you record what you have done to see where you stand in your goals. It helps you to be accountable to yourself.

Conclusion

 

There are so many different steps in accomplishing goals. Staying accountable to yourself and finding others who are ready and willing to help you towards that finish line will be one of the best things you can do to reach your goals. Don’t be afraid to reach high and dream big. Don’t listen to voices around you telling you-you can’t do it. You absolutely CAN! No matter how many times you fall down if you get back up you are still succeeding. Find a group, a friend or someone in your family that you can be accountable to and watch the power it has to help you achieve that goal you never thought you could reach!

I love hearing what other people do to stay accountable, what do you do?

Goals: The Power of Accountability

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