Making Yourself Completely Accountable
It’s about a month since we celebrated the arrival of 2021 with hope in our hearts and a readiness to embrace a brighter, happier future. It’s also a traditional time for us to welcome new days and better ways. So, were you one of the many who followed the old custom and made your New Year’s resolutions on January 1st? Did you feel so committed to your declarations that you wrote them down? But, just one month later, how many of your resolutions did you keep? All of them? Some of them? Or – like most people – none of them? I know. The best laid plans too often fall far short of their potential – because we seem to find it so difficult to maintain our commitment and our good intentions.
But why is this? And what can we do to harness the potential of our well-intentioned goals and plans for the future?
Accountability breeds response-ability. – Stephen Covey
It’s a fascinating topic because people clearly find it very difficult to maintain momentum. There are thousands of books, blogs, videos and presentations on the subject but people still find it very difficult to stick to their good intentions. Does that sound vaguely familiar to you? We usually start with a burst of enthusiasm and a clear declaration that we’re going to lose weight, get fit, change our diet, get organised, attend to our goals and take better care of ourselves. And those good intentions barely survive the first week of the new year!
If I could give one tip for people – it’s not an exercise or nutrition regimen. It’s to walk your talk and believe in yourself. Because, at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don’t get you in shape. It’s your accountability to your word that gets the results. – Brett Hoebel
Part of the problem’s connected to the way we follow familiar patterns of behaviour. We establish comfortable patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours and they provide an easy track for us to navigate as we follow our daily flow of actions and decisions. Any change of direction or a new behaviour often has to contend with these deeply-embedded behaviours. That’s where our new intentions encounter the internal resistance of our old habits and limitations. And, when you consider that our conscious minds can only handle a maximum of seven subjects at any one time, it’s obvious that any new behaviour is easily bumped off our attention rack and condemned to obscurity in a lower level of mental and emotional priority.
That’s why it can be very helpful to recruit friends, family members or colleagues to hold you to account. It’s fair to say that it’s harder to break your promises to others than it is to break your word to yourself. It’s how we’re wired. And when you rely on others to call you to account for your behaviour, you have a constantly updated reminder of your good intentions.
It’s a great way to bring your new priorities back into focus. It’s a way for you to confront and recognise your successes – as well as any lapses. It’s a very effective means to add a healthy measure of pressure to your new behaviour, a support structure that creates a very positive level of expectation and a way to help you honour your word and maintain all your good intentions.
Be brave and take accountability for your thoughts and beliefs. – Jennifer Hyman
It’s also important to select people for your accountability team who will honour your goals and uphold your personal commitment to integrity in a supportive and positive manner.
However, a word of caution. You certainly don’t need any bullies on your team. That’s counter-productive and harmful to your efforts to experience new levels of personal growth and empowerment. The ideal role of a supportive accountability partner will be to offer you a clear and objective mirror that reflects your actions, a way for you to measure what you do against the background of your stated intentions. You’re looking for congruity between your thoughts, feelings, goals and actions. A good accountability partner will also recognise your successes. An effective accountability team will reinforce your good behaviours whilst encouraging you to believe in your power to create positive transformations in your life.
It’s often been stated that people rarely fail to live up to our expectations of them. So, surrounding yourself with individuals who expect the best of you can create a powerful support mechanism that focuses on your strengths and your reservoir of untapped potential. And that’s where the most exciting levels of personal growth frequently show up. You gain the effects of a personal force-multiplier that shifts your focus towards your potential and encourages you to reach beyond your self-imposed limitations.
So, here’s a positive suggestion. Make today the day when you assemble your own group of personal supporters who will happily hold you to account for your actions. You might be very pleasantly surprised at how many people will be willing to help you. It’s often surprising that so many individuals want to play a positive role in helping you to achieve your goals.