In our article 8 Powerful Techniques for Never Giving Up, I spoke about the amazing power of having personal accountability for a goal that you want to achieve.
Accountability is being answerable for your actions and taking complete ownership for the outcome. It’s pretty much having a ‘the buck stops with me’ attitude, which will increase your rate of success in all areas of your life. Ultimately, you can’t achieve any worthwhile personal or professional goal if you don’t hold yourself accountable to make it happen – it’s that simple.
‘Simple’, she says? Well, I know it’s not simple but it is a very worthwhile skill to have (and yes, it is something you can learn to make a habit of in your life).
The key fact is that no one can ‘make’ you personally accountable – accountability is something you must take on for yourself. They can make you responsible for something of course, but accountability is something you take on for yourself, not something that anyone else can impose on you or implement for you.
When you’re personally accountable, you:
- stop any form of blame;
- stop the ‘they should have’ response about others;
- stop making excuses (yes, all of them!);
- become the chief problem solver to overcome any obstacles that get in the way (which are inevitable, by the way!)
How to Create Personal Accountability in Your Life
1. Be Specific
You need to be really clear about what you want and get as specific as possible. Don’t just say ‘I want to lose weight’, be specific – how much weight? Not ‘I want to get fit’ – that is too vague. What would you be able to do when you get fit, have more confidence or have more friends? Set that as your goal.
2. Write it down
While it’s still a thought, it doesn’t live in reality. Once you put pen to paper, it has form and is tangible.
3. LOOK at it every day!
Pin your goal up at work, on the fridge, beside your bed, on the bathroom mirror or on the back of the toilet door! Put it in your face constantly to keep you focused, on track and to keep reminding yourself about what you have committed to.
4. Keep a Chart
Making it visual is a great way to keep you accountable and on track. Visually mark how much weight you lose each week, how many kilometers you have run, how many times you went to the gym or tick off when you plan family time.
5. Tell People
This is a highly effective one that I use all the time. I tell people what I am doing. Studies have shown that people who are trying to make changes to their life are much more likely to succeed if they tell their family and friends. Again, it makes it real once you allow the words to come out of your mouth.
6. Join a Group
Having accountability to others is extraordinarily effective. It could be a group that is specific to your goal (like a running group, Weight Watchers etc) or you could join (or create) a group of like-minded people who hold each other accountable to what they individually want to achieve.
7. Put Your Money on the Line
Money makes people do extraordinary things and pushes them to extraordinary heights. If I told you that I would give you 1 million dollars if you lost the 10 kilos, I bet you would take it a lot more seriously and get it done a lot quicker! Think about something you could create for yourself as a big incentive. How about the reward of an overseas trip or that piece of jewellery that you have always wanted? Or promise yourself that new car, as soon as your goal is achieved. Even committing to paying a personal trainer, group fees or a coach will give you some cash accountability. A good, expensive carrot being held out in front of you is always a great incentive to keep you moving forward.
8. Be Honest with Yourself
If you don’t want to take off your ‘sparkling crown’ and retire from your role as the Queen of Victims then accept that role as the fact. It’s ok – that’s your choice but don’t continue ‘wishing’ that your life will change, because it won’t. When I was overweight the VERY first step to my decision to join Weight Watchers was to accept that I ate the cake! It was me putting the food in my mouth, me who didn’t exercise and me who kept wishing I was thinner while I ordered the lemon tart. I had to get real!
Personal accountability to achieve your goals and do what you say you are going to do will change your life and will have you achieving more than you ever have before. From the above, find out what works best for you, and then use that technique in all areas of your life where you want to achieve success!
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