The Problem With Accountability

Most people are very confused about accountability.

Typically (if you’re anything like me), you’ve been taught to look for an accountability partner. This is someone outside of you who will help hold you accountable.

And this is where we get it all oh, so wrong. Here’s what I mean…

If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post —Self Accountability.

The Problem With Accountability

What Is Accountability?

The definition of accountability is: An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

I love this definition.

You’re the one accepting responsibility for your actions.

Accountability is doing what you say you’re going to do FOR YOU.

Self accountability it taking responsibility. Only you can take responsibility for your own self discipline.

Self discipline is the ability to pursue what you think is right. You do this even when there’s temptation to abandon it. 

I have so many clients in Grow You who want to have help with self discipline. The truth is, the skill they really need is self accountability. 

Self accountability is more than self discipline. Self accountability is following through. It’s following through with your calendar even when you don’t feel like it. You’re not always going to feel like doing everything on your list. Self accountability is doing it anyways. 

However, there’s also a problem with the accountability you need to be aware of. 

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The Problem With Accountability

The problem with accountability is that we don’t see it as within ourself.

Instead, we see it as something we get outside of us.

We look for accountability from others when…

  • When we want to workout and want someone to come with us.
  • When we want to diet and have someone do it with us.
  • When we want someone to show up when we make a plan.

When we expect people to show up for us, we’re expecting them to be responsible for us.

We’re expecting other people to be held accountable for our actions. 

We show up to things for everyone else. You show up for work. We show up for lunch with friends no matter what. We don’t miss a doctor’s appointment on our schedule. 

We also expect others to do the same for us to help us. 

But the reality is, you’re the only one you need to focus on. You’re the only person that you can count to show up.  

What if, instead of expecting others to do the work, you did it for you? What if instead of expecting a program to work for us, we put the work in to get the results we want? What if you took the responsibility to get results. What if you didn’t count on another person for your own results? Don’t you think you could have more success?

You can’t truly count on another person to fix your problems. 

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The Truth About Accountability Partners

It’s so important to note the truth about accountability partners. 

Accountability partners can be helpful. They can help you to get started. They can also motivate you to begin a task. 

But accountability partners can’t help you to stand on your own. They’re not the ones who do the work for you. That’s your job.

Think of a time that you had an accountability partner. You probably got started on something together. The second that the two of you stopped meeting you quit. You don’t continue on without them. Have you had this happen before? 

It’s hard to be accountable when you’re relying on someone else to follow through. You need to follow through for you. 

Let’s look back at the definition of accountability. You’re taking responsibility for your actions. You can’t pawn that off on someone else. You also can’t expect someone else to be responsible for you. 

People do this for the same reason they jump around to different diet plans. They’re trying to find a plan to be accountable to. 

But the truth is, it doesn’t matter about the plan or the other person. If you aren’t accountable to yourself you won’t succeed. 

This might sound depressing but it’s actually something you have so much more control over than you might realize.

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Accountability Is A Skill

Accountability is a skill you can learn. And I have great news for you. You’re already great at accountability. 

Think about it. You already know how to show up.

Think about the times you’re accountable…

  • You show up for work.
  • You show up for appointments.
  • You pick up your kids.
  • You show up for your family.
  • You don’t cancel plans.

You show up for other people all the time.

You already have the skill of accountability. Now you just need to learn to apply it to you. 

How To Get Better At Accountability

It’s so important to learn how to get better at accountability.

The best way to do this is to meet yourself where you are. 

When you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you want to put 10 minutes of reading on your calendar, follow through when the time comes. If you want to go to the gym three times a week, then don’t let anything stop you. 

When you have a plan to do work, do you follow through? Or do you ignore it and go to happy hour with a friend instead? 

It can be so easy to blame a person or a program when things go wrong. It can be so easy to be passive and not do the work. When things don’t work out for us we blame the other things. 

What if instead of doing that, we take initiative. 

What if instead of choosing a new course when one doesn’t work, you use it to your advantage. 

What if, instead of saying that something isn’t working, saying, “I can make this work for me.”

It’s so important to choose to follow through. This is so true even when it seems like something else will be better. 

Things like a reading goal or an hour at the gym seem small. The reality is, the small things build the habit. When you do the small things, you’re practicing self accountability. 

I mention reading because I took a speed reading course recently. In the course I had to do two lessons per day and read for 10 minutes. It was also such a small thing. I thought it was kind of lame at first. Then I realized how amazing it was because, on days 5-10 when I didn’t want to do it, I still did. I said to me, “oh well, I can squeeze in 10 minutes of reading.” So the whole time I was practicing self accountability. I was also building a new skill of reading better on purpose. 

This course is a great example of self accountability. 

I want you to meet yourself where you are. 

Plan for your future, but start where you are. You’re making small transitions at first. You’re going from zero to one. You’re not just going from zero to one hundred. 

Whatever it is for you that you want, become more accountable to you. Build the skill. You’re not good or bad at it yet. You’re learning. Don’t rush yourself. Start with the small steps and it’ll be big progress in the future. 

It takes a lot of discipline but it makes a lot of difference. 

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The Result Of Self Accountability (Hint: Lots Of Self Discipline)

There are a lot of results that will come when you practice self accountability. 

When you hold yourself accountable, the sky is the limit. There’s endless possibilities for what you can do. 

You’ll become your only limitation. You get to be the one who makes the rules. You’re the one who follows through. 

When you set goals and you’re self accountable, it’s like they’re already as good as done. 

When I was looking over my goals for 2020, I saw one of them was to make over $40k per month in my business by the end of the year. We’re only halfway through the year and I’ve already accomplished that. I not only set the plan, I followed through. It may have seemed impossible six months ago. Now, I want to set the next goal

When you’re setting a goal, it’s important to create a plan. But not only create a plan, you have to implement it. When you just do the work, there’s no drama. You just do it. You get it done with no questions. That’s what I do. It’s also how I reached my goal. 

It’s actually an uncomfortable process. 

Self discipline isn’t sexy. Self accountability isn’t something our brain looks forward to. We don’t naturally do it. We look for the quick fix. And we look for the program that offers the easy road. 

I’m a big believer in self education. I also have my own life coaches and I do other programs one at a time. I’m still learning and I’m also implementing what I’m learning. I’m balancing passive learning with massive action. 

Not only do you have to sign up for the program, but you have to do it. You can’t just watch the program, you have to implement it. You have to do the work. 

Doing it will be the hardest part. Getting started is difficult. The journey may look different than you think. There might be failures along the way. But you’re failing forward. And it’s going to be so worth it! 

You don’t want to waste the time you’re given. The time is going to pass. No matter what. So why not do what you want to do with your life? You’re only given one. 

Don’t let anything stop you. Don’t miss out. 

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What To Do When You “Fall Off The Wagon”

So many people get discouraged when they fail. Many people are disappointed in themselves when they stop doing the thing they planned on. They may also feel like they’ve “fallen off the wagon.”

It’s important to note how you talk to yourself when things go wrong. Stop telling yourself you’re going backwards. Failure is an opportunity. 

I have great news. There is no wagon! 

You haven’t fallen off of anything. There isn’t anything to fall off of. So stop telling yourself that from now on. 

Instead, tell yourself the truth. There are decisions you make as you’re moving forward. Some work out and some don’t seem to. But that’s just failing forward. 

Nothing is wrong. You may be disappointed. You don’t need to feel shame. You don’t need to beat yourself up. 

Meet yourself where you are. 

When you don’t go the gym, think about what you were feeling when you didn’t go. Why didn’t you take the action? 

Did you skip the gym because you thought…

  • This isn’t going to work.
  • I’m always going to be overweight.
  • I just don’t care.
  • I didn’t feel up for it.

Find your reason why. Your actions are the result of what you’re thinking and feeling. 

Next time you don’t want to go to the gym find your reason. When you see the reason for why not, do it anyways. 

Your brain is telling you not to try. It thinks it’s too hard. Meet yourself where you are. Make the goal smaller. Get dressed, get in the car, and go anyways! 

What’s the goal you have for the next year? 

Are your goals something like…

  • Working on a business
  • Working on your marriage
  • Getting better at a skill
  • Losing weight 
  • Focusing on improving yourself

Look for ways you can create these results. Look for why you want to do it. Take responsibility for what you can. 

Keep on coaching yourself. That’s the window to change. Find the thought you think is stopping you. Even when you fail in the moment, keep going. Make a different choice in the future. But don’t ever stop moving forward. 

In the long run, you’re going to thank yourself. 

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A Final Note! 

I think the greatest gift you can give yourself is self accountability. Take responsibility for your actions. By doing so, you’re taking responsibility for the results. You’re creating the results you want to see. 

This is only possible if you’re doing it for you. You can’t expect others to hold you accountable. 

What you believe creates the results. 

If you want to be self accountable, join Grow You! I will help you start showing up for yourself. I know you can do it. 

It’ll be so worth it! 

Up Next, watch the YouTube video…