Goals, goals, goals… we can dream BIG and set them all, but once that’s done the real question becomes: how to be accountable to yourself? How to ‘make yourself’ actually take the actions that will help your big dreams and plans become reality?
Accountability – your new best friend.
If you’ve ever set a goal or a New Year’s resolution only to forget about it a couple weeks later and then re-discover your intentions after months, perhaps written down on a scrap piece of paper or in an old note on your phone… then you know you need accountability.
Personally, that’s where I was stuck at the very beginning of my business journey. I’d dream up what I’d want to do, but weeks would go by and nothing happened. Suddenly I realised entire 6 months had passed and I wasn’t any closer to my dream of running my own business and being my own boss.
Realising you need to learn how to be accountable to yourself is the first step
At school there were teachers.
At your job there are bosses.
But there’s no external force making sure you do your thing when it comes to accomplishing your personal goals and your biggest desires.
YOU are in charge.
And as such, you have the split responsibility of both being an employer and an employee of your own destiny. You have to set the workload, AND execute it.
Nobody’s going to fight for your dreams if you don’t fight for them yourself.
And it would be easy to assume that perhaps sometimes we’re just feeling lazy and that’s why we’re not doing the things we said we’d do (in our employee role).
BUT I would invite you today to rejig your thoughts a little and reformulate that notion in your head. Instead of feeling like Grouchy the Smurf and thinking “I hate myself” (for all the things that we could’ve done to reach our goals, but didn’t), let’s work on being a better employer to our employee. After all, becoming a better employer = making sure that our company is successful (aka our destiny, goals & dreams come true).
How to be accountable to yourself: become a better employer (you) to your employee (also you ;) )
We need to get better at the responsibilities in our employer role.
Think about that – if you were an employer and would see your employee struggle with a task, would you not reach out? Would you not check-in? Motivate her or him? And just generally not go AWOL in the middle of a task?
Yet that’s what we often do when it comes to setting personal goals.
Our role as an employer does not end when we set the goal.
We need to step into that role again and again, to make sure we’re staying on track and are able to accomplish the task at hand.
What does that mean in practice?
As you’re holding both of the roles, your employer persona has actually a much easier job figuring out how to work with your employee (since you’re one and the same person. Now, just to be clear, I’m not actually talking about multiple personality disorder or anything like that. You don’t have to start talking to yourself on a subway for this to work. Just be aware of the two roles you’re holding and don’t forget about your duties on both ends.)
Be honest with yourself: what keeps you motivated, what makes you procrastinate? Set yourself up for success by organising a system in which you’re accountable to yourself because you have to be, not because it’s nice.
If you thrive on deadlines and working under pressure, set yourself a deadline. AND remember that as an employee you’d always have a consequence of not meeting your deadline. So set that up too.
Involve other people.
I cannot stress the importance of that one enough.
We lie to ourselves much easier than we lie to other people.
So tell everyone what you’re trying to do. (If it’s sensitive, tell everyone you trust.)
The real secret to holding yourself accountable is that you don’t have to do it alone. You might not have an external force checking-in on you and your progress. But you have the freedom to ORGANISE an external force checking-in on you and your progress. Do you see how this works now?
I would be nowhere without my weekly accountability meet-up with a good friend, where I just say out loud what I’m going to do next. And THAT alone is magic.
Add to that that if you choose your accountability partner wisely, you’ll end up discussing your decisions and fine-tuning them, making sure your small goals are on track with your big goals. Result? The world is your oyster, my friend. As cliché as this sounds, it really, really is.
So next time you’re wondering why you’re not doing what you said you’d do, instead of belittling your inner employee, remember to bring back the employer and take responsibility for making sure you do the work.
Now, I would love to hear how YOU hold yourself accountable. Do you announce your goals on social media? Do you have an accountability buddy to help each other out? Do you (and this one might seem drastic, but if you were to implement it successfully I bet it would work wonders) give away money if you don’t come through? Let me know in the comments below.
Remember that the thing we all have in common is that we’re human. And as such, we all struggle with the same problems and we’re never really alone in our struggles. If there’s anything you’ve been truly procrastinating on and you know, in your heart of hearts, that this is an essential step to moving your dreams along, then please – make yourself accountable. You can start from leaving a comment here, but then TAKE ACTION as your employer persona. Your future self will thank you for being oh-so-clever and simply-dashing.
Till next time,