Success is accountability

The goals that we set for ourselves are all well and good, but how do we ensure that we’re actually taking steps to get us closer to achieving them? Now that we’ve established our goals and are working steadily towards them, let’s talk about how we hold ourselves accountable for our progress.

During the planning stage, we talked about pinpointing milestones and activities that, once achieved, bring us closer to our goals. These milestones and activities are what will help us understand how we’re progressing and whether we’re on track to meeting them.

The importance of accountability

With accountability, accomplishments feel more fulfilling. And I find that holding yourself accountable to your goals provides motivation to keep pressing forward. When you’re tracking your progress on a regular basis, it allows you to see visually how you’re doing.

If you’re doing well and are on track towards success, you’re going to feel proud of yourself (as you should!); likewise, if you’re not doing so hot and are behind schedule, you’re going to feel a little bad about it (as you also should).

But being behind schedule doesn’t mean that you should let it affect you to the point that you stop progressing forward. Instead, if you’re able to identify your shortcomings, you should see it as an important step in your development.

When you hold yourself accountable and are able to accept the consequences of your responsibilities (good or bad), you’re holding yourself to a certain standard.

Ways to be accountable

If accountability is an important ingredient to success, how do we implement it into our lives?

1. Have check-ins with yourself.

At the end of the week, I think about what I’ve achieved and what I haven’t. Then I reflect on what the consequences are, as well as think about the next steps I need to take. You can do this whenever you feel fits your schedule best, whether that’s daily or monthly. If you’re your own biggest critic, evaluating yourself is like second nature—you’ll just have a more structured way of doing so.

2. Announce your goals.

This involves posting on social media or some other public platform that others can see. However, this method is definitely not for the weak of heart. Because you’re putting yourself out there on the internet, you need to be okay with failure as well as letting everyone else know you failed. But the people who are able to do this are, I find, some of the most mentally strong individuals.

3. Grab an accountability buddy.

Also known as an “accountability partner”, this person is someone who you have an invested interest in and who you’re willing to incorporate into your life. They aren’t afraid of telling you the truth when you need it, and they’re willing to call you out when you didn’t achieve what you needed to. This is my favorite way of being accountable, particularly because it encourages social bonding and because it doesn’t allow you to make half-baked excuses. And it also proves that the road to success doesn’t have to be traveled alone.

In keeping yourself accountable, you can’t make excuses when you fail. And that’s perfectly okay, as long as you’re not getting defensive when it happens. Instead, the most important thing you do after failing is learning from it.

Main image by Tim Foster.