Do you feel you are accountable at work? What I mean, can your boss count on you to accomplish the work he or she assigns to you? I’m almost certain the answer is, “Yes, of course”, right? Now let me ask, do you accomplish the things you personally know you should do for you? If not, let’s examine how to make yourself more accountable to you so you can accomplish more in life.
The Accountability Struggle
If you’re like most people, you struggle at times to live up to the standards you’ve set for yourself. Most people make plans that they never follow through with or set goals they never come close to achieving.
It can be a struggle to behave in a way that is congruent with your values and goals. It is often difficult to turn your plans into reality. This is a frustrating and ineffective way to live your life.
So how can you change this pattern? You can do it when you take the steps necessary to make yourself accountable to you. Once you learn to make yourself accountable to yourself, anything is possible!
Simple Tips You Can Use to Make Yourself Accountable to You
1. Write out the things you need to do.
There is a saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is because, without a plan, you can’t hold yourself accountable.
As you begin your day, write out a detailed plan of the things you want to accomplish. Your list should include things that need to be done to maintain your life, as well as things that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
So, the first thing you need to do to make yourself accountable to you is write out a to-do list and take it seriously.
2. Schedule your plan.
While a list of tasks is a good start, it isn’t enough. You need to plug the tasks into your schedule. Decide what is most important and put it first. Now, when during the day are you going to do that item? How about the rest on your list? Develop a schedule that you can stick to and hold yourself to it. This is vital if you really want to make yourself accountable to you.
3. How did you do?
After finishing the task or at the end of the day, review your performance. What went well? What needs improvement?
In your review, ask yourself:
“What did I learn today that will make me more effective?”
“What went well?”
“What am I going to have to improve on tomorrow?”
4. Give yourself a reward or punish yourself as appropriate.
While most people do better with intrinsic motivation, sometimes behavioral change needs both the carrot and the stick.
This means, when you do something well, give yourself a reward. But, when you’re not performing up to your standards, you need to give yourself a punishment. This reinforces your ability to make yourself accountable to you.
Most people can come up with rewards easily, but struggle with punishments. Here are a few ideas you can use:
- Don’t allow yourself to watch TV for a week.
- Give money to a charity you don’t approve of.
- Don’t allow yourself to ride your motorcycle for a month.
- Snap your wrist with a big rubber band.
- Force yourself to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a week.
- Make yourself watch a news channel that you despise.
5. Become crystal clear on your goals.
Fuzzy goals make fuzzy plans. If you don’t have well-defined goals, you will find yourself driving in circles. To make yourself accountable to you, it’s crucial that you develop goals that drive you in the direction you want to go. You can find a whole section on how to do this in Mindful Mastery.
Review your goals at least once each day. As you review them, write them down. You need to be able to recite them without thinking.
6. Share your plans with others.
When you set a goal, share it with others. It doesn’t matter if it’s to compete in an iron-man competition or starting a master’s degree program, let others know your plans. What you’re doing is giving yourself external pressure to complete the tasks and goals you’ve set for yourself. You’ll be more inclined to take action when you know you could be publically embarrassed by failing to follow through.
When sharing your goals, ask yourself:
“Who will hold me accountable without trying to sabotage my efforts?”
“Who really wants me to be successful?”
Whoever fits this description will be a great accountability partner.
You Can Make Yourself Accountable to You
While it would be nice to have a personal coach watching over all your efforts and holding you accountable every day, for most people, this just isn’t an option. You are simply going to have to manage yourself.
What things could you accomplish if you could make yourself accountable to you each day? The list would be limitless. But when you allow yourself to get away with regular displays of mediocrity, you not only get less done, but you also completely lose your motivation.
Tell yourself, “Today is the day I begin to hold myself responsible in all areas of my life!” As you take accountability for yourself, you’ll be amazed at all you can achieve!
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