Everyone these days seems to be talking about doing the work, but no one talks about how hard it is. Self-growth, healthier habits, clearer mindsets … all these goals are achievable, but with daily practice that turns them into routine. And when it comes to daily practice, we all need a healthy dose of accountability.
While accountability sounds so responsible and adult, it’s actually the baseline to success in every part of life. Whether that is making big career moves, getting our bodies in shape, or improving our relationships with ourselves and others, it’s about putting those drops in a bucket. Sometimes, we genuinely forget to drop. Here are some great ways to keep up the pace or get back on the horse when things fall off.
First, we want to be crystal clear with ourselves what it is we are trying to achieve. Vague ideas like “look better,” “find love,” or “be successful” aren’t actionable on their own, so it’s helpful to set a definitive goal. Things like creating a healthy meal plan or workout routine to reach a weight goal, or fitting into your favorite jeans again, are general examples. Maybe landing a job in a specific field with room for growth. Learning a new instrument or language. Overcoming attachment issues. Whatever it is you want to do, make the “what” and the “why” unmistakably defined.
Some goals are personal, and we get that. You don’t need to clue in someone different every time you want to achieve something, but some goals are better together. Find something a friend might want to do with you, and set yourselves up for success. If it’s meditation, for example, start small—10 minutes a day for two weeks. Check in with each other daily to make sure neither of you forgets. You won’t want to lie to or disappoint each other, which adds another layer to achieving that goal.
Whatever it is you’re hoping to do, write it down somewhere that you’ll reference often. Maybe that’s your favorite journal, maybe it’s just a sticky note on the mirror. Write it down in a way that inspires and uplifts you, rather than punishes you or makes you feel small. It’s something you deserve, even if you only chip away at it one step at a time. Not forgetting your true desires is an act of self love but also of accountability.
If you’re trying to make a big change, thinking about its scale will only stress you out and make you freeze in fear. Break it down into mini-goals or milestones, and schedule the completion of each milestone. It can’t happen all at once, anyway, so doing a little here and there on a schedule that keeps you on track will create a fool-proof course for accountability.
If it’s a pattern you’re trying to break, journaling or speaking with a professional, like a therapist, can help you identify exactly how you’re standing in your own way, as well as how to knock that sh!t off. Sometimes it’s not actually our circumstances preventing us from achieving what we want, but our own fear. Stop justifying procrastination and become empowered.
While this tip doesn’t require an accountability buddy to complete the goal alongside you, it does involve telling someone your goal. Perhaps it’s a mentor, someone you admire, or someone who has achieved the thing you want. Let them know what you’re doing to achieve your goal and be open to receive honest, direct feedback about your processes, what to do more of, and what to change. Think of it as guided course correction.
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