GPS for Accountability

In my last couple of blogs, I have talked about how GPS has to know where you are at in order to get you where you want to go.  We have looked at goals and action plans and they are certainly crucial to your GPS for life but without accountability frequently nothing happens. 

Think of this like a three legged stool.  Three legs provide for balance and stability.  When one leg is missing the stool is essentially worthless.  Having a GPS for life is exactly the same. 

You need clear goals which are driven by a personal and powerful why. You need a concrete action plan with incremental steps to get you where you want to go.  Then you need accountability to insure focus and timely progress.  When all three legs are in place in your GPS for life then there is balance and stability which creates momentum, change and accomplishment.

How Does Accountability Work?

Accountability is nothing more that the opportunity to say yes I did it, or no I didn’t do it.  Progress is nice but it is still a no. 

If your goal for this week is to contact 10 prospects and you contacted 9 that’s great but you have not reached your goal for this week so in an accountability review the answer is no I didn’t do it. 

Certainly 9 is better than 3 but accepting 9 instead of 10 is rationalization, which inevitability leads to more rationalization and derails or at least delays the progress you are seeking.

What About an Accountability Buddy?

There is lots of information out there about accountability buddies or success buddies.  You can even hire a professional accountability buddy. 

The right buddy can be a huge support in moving forward.  You may buy your “BS” but a good buddy will call you on it.  You have to be willing to accept that with an open mind and recognize it as valuable feedback.  

Having a weekly (or whatever) call with an accountability buddy tends to impose a deadline for the completion of a task and that often increases our motivation to get that task completed so we can say yes we have done it. 

This is like training wheels in that it supports us in the process of learning to be accountable.

The Role of Personal Accountability

Personal accountability is all about learning to keep commitments to yourself.  When this become a habit, it will totally and completely revolutionize your life. 

All too often we over commit and we prioritize keeping commitments to others because after all that is the honorable thing to do.  In the process the commitments we make to ourselves get shoved aside. 

Think about Albert Einstein’s famous quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  There is no better example of this than procrastinating on keeping commitments to yourself and then wondering why you are not accomplishing your goals.

As a life coach I saw my clients make great progress in finding clarity about what they wanted and creating action plans to accomplish it, but too often “life got in the way”, even if they also had an accountability buddy and consequently change didn’t happen as quickly as was desirable. 

Once I began to introduce them to my personal evening accountability routine that all changed.  This is a personal quiet time devoted to honest introspection and is focused around 5 questions.

  • What did I accomplish today? This is not about your appointments or your “to do” list.  It is about things on your action plan for the day that have moved you forward towards your goal for the week.
  • What have I learned today? Learning expands our mental capacity, our world view and our curiosity at a minimum.  It helps us see opportunities.  It does not have to be goal related.  It may be as simple as witnessing a talent in another we have not previously recognized.   
  • Why does it matter? Perhaps it builds a relationship or helps you identify a resource for current or future use.  Perhaps it is a re-energizing diversion.  Identifying why something matters, helps to put it in an appropriate mental file cabinet to be retrieved at a future time.
  • What am I grateful for tonight? Begin and end the day with gratitude.  The universe recognizes gratitude and has a way of rewarding those who are grateful with more things to be grateful for.  Besides it releases endorphins and consequently we feel happier and more relaxed with ourselves and with the world around us. 
  • Identify a priority for a part of your action plan for tomorrow. That will give you focus in the morning when you create your action plan.

If you honestly use this process you will create a habit of personal accountability.  You will mindfully create and keep your commitments to yourself and transform your life in the process. 

This evening accountability routine is a part of The Momentum Planner    which I created for my personal coaching clients so they could have more or what they want in life and less of what they don’t.  After all isn’t that what you want too?