Accountability: Why It’s Important & How To Do It

You’ve decided to set a goal, and if you’re like me, you’ve done this a few times before in your life. But this time will be different, you say. I’m really going to stick with it…I’m going to do it this time!

Have you been through this type of yo-yo cycle of working toward any goal – only to find yourself back to your old ways?

In my last post I said:

One of the best ways to make positive changes to your life is to take more action steps that are outside of your comfort zone. Life is more exciting and rewarding when you’re willing to put yourself out there and take a few chances.

Read full post about making life changes.

Truth.

And, there’s one more piece to add to the equation of taking action and making changes… that is accountability.

That being said, in order to be accountable, you first must have a clear goal or intention. Read: how to create a powerful intention with supporting goals.

What is accountability?

When you think about accountability, do your thoughts go to being in trouble if you don’t do something good enough or by a deadline?

Certainly that is one way accountability can look, especially in a workplace. But what does personal accountability look like to you?

So often we excitedly set goals, and then “life” happens. Doubt creeps in.

The fear of stepping out of the comfort zone and possibly failing makes us feel so uncomfortable that we decide to put it off until next month. And then the next month the can gets kicked down the road again.

It’s so easy to kick the can down the road until you lose sight of it. “Eh, maybe someday,” you say.

That often leaves you feeling disappointed in yourself. If you can’t trust yourself to follow through with your commitments, why should others trust you?

Accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Accountability can be the secret sauce to help you achieve your goals. Ok, it’s not really secret but it can set you up for success.

Strategies to Achieve Your Goals & Hold Yourself Accountable

Woman achieving goals and being accountable

Using these tips to build a foundation, you’ll be better poised to hold yourself accountable and achieve your goals.

1 – Communicate clearly (with yourself and others).

Whether you’re working on a personal goal or on a project with others, ask yourself… “What do I expect the result to be?” For the result to happen, you need to:

  • Be honest with yourself about what exact steps are necessary to achieve that result.
  • Create an agreement with others so you both are clear about what you expect from each other. Set boundaries and ask questions until you’re crystal clear.

It’s tough to hold yourself accountable if you’re not honest with yourself or lack clarity with others.

Be careful to not over-commit. Stretching yourself is fine. Over-extending yourself is a recipe for overwhelm and disappointment.

If it turns out that you simply cannot hold up your end of the bargain, reschedule, renegotiate, or reevaluate as soon as possible.

Unforeseen circumstances come up and mistakes happen… don’t dwell in disappointment. Admit where you went wrong, learn from it, and move forward with a solution.

2 – Write it down.

A plan on paper will help you be realistic about the true amount of work required, as well as the amount of time needed.

Lists work well for me because if I don’t write it down, life happens and I forget about it. A list also helps me see what I have accomplished AND what still needs to be completed.

However, sometimes the best of lists still don’t gain traction.

Want to up-level your lists so you’re more likely to actually complete the items? Grab my 13-minute video that explains why you sometimes just can’t get yourself to take certain action steps, and how to move beyond it.

3 – Celebrate your wins – big and small!

Every day, celebrate EVERY step you took outside of your comfort zone. The size of the step is irrelevant. because no step is small.

Celebrating can mean taking a break to reenergize, high fiving your awesome self in a mirror (seriously, try it), or sharing the wins with your partner or friend.

My favorite way to celebrate is to keep a journal. Each day, write down 5 ways you stepped out of your comfort zone that day.

Writing them down gives you factual evidence of your progress. When you feel like you’re not doing very well, reread your journal entries and the written facts will show you that you ARE making progress.

Remember, no step is small. Even if you deem the step a failure, you still took a step outside of your comfort zone that deserves celebrating.

Celebrating your wins will also help you build confidence and get momentum to take more action steps.

Personal Accountability

What does personal accountability look like to you? It might include lists with goals and deadlines. Do you put it on your calendar? Have your phone popup reminders?

At the end of the day, only you can hold yourself accountable for the choices you make and the consequences they bring.

Personal or self-accountability is an important skill to learn, but recognize when reaching out for support will help you be successful.

Ask for Help With Accountability

Here are some options to consider when you realize you need help with accountability:

1 – Accountability Partner

A good accountability partner is someone who is gentle, yet not afraid to tell you the truth. They must be honest, because honest guidance will help you rise above excuses and limitations.

A good friend may or may not make a good accountability partner. You must be ok with the friend initiating a tough conversation, and the friend must be willing to do so.

2 – Accountability Pods or Groups

There are online accountability pods or groups where each member discloses their plans and the group checks their progress. It’s a mutual check up on members’ progression.

Knowing you have to report your progress to the group can be a real motivator. Be sure to join a group of supportive people who have your best interest in mind.

3 – Trainer or Coach

A personal trainer or a coach is especially helpful when you realize you’re in a rut and you’re not sure how to work your way out.

The joy of a coach is that he/she can help you get insights, shine a light on what’s holding you back, and even brainstorm ideas. Your future self will thank you.

As a Life and Joy Coach, I invite you to a conversation if you’d like to learn more about I can support you in becoming your new, best self.

Are you accountable to yourself?

When you’re accountable, you’ll better trust yourself and others will grow their trust in you.

Being personally accountable is vital to becoming who you really want to be.

Personal Accountability

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