5 Top Tips: how to keep yourself accountable.
So, you want to get things done…?
It’s always more difficult to finish what you start than to start something worth finishing… Whether you agree with this or not, you are more likely to get your priorities done if you keep up till the very end. It is true that beginning something new is rather challenging, but the initial inspiration and excitement can easily carry you throughout the first few weeks, or even months of the project. The trickiest part comes soon after those first moments of high velocity and intense work.
That is when keeping yourself accountable can truly help…
The extreme majority of ideas become half-finished dreams and are never completed. Sometimes by an accident, sometimes due to overload, and sometimes simply because there is no more motivation in one’s tank to continue.
With the five tips below, when put into work, you should be better prepared for those moments of doubt and difficulty…
Tip #1 – Become clear about the outcome…
Why did you start this project in the first place…? What makes you sit in front of that screen and type out the words for your new book…? What excites you about creating this app you’ve been thinking about for ages…? Why do you aim for this goal…?
These questions are often asked in a coaching setting, but rarely pop into the individual’s mind when one has no support from the outside. At times, they may be difficult to answer, but within these answers lies the source of motivation and dedication which will support the work when the going gets hard. Understanding your reasons for doing something is crucial when what you’re aiming for becomes challenging and frustrating.
So, understand your motives and remind yourself of them often!
Tip #2 – Set yourself a deadline…
Working towards a goal without a set date to see the results or the lack of them is like climbing a mountain without checking how far you’ve come. You might not only miss the achievement of getting to the top, but you could also get yourself into the position of climbing the wrong one. And that’s something you don’t want to experience. There is nothing more frustrating than going through a tough time to see that you’ve been heading in the wrong direction.
Creating both long and short-term deadlines is a great way of keeping an eye on your progress. Reviewing your work on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis gives you invaluable insight into how well you’re doing and what might need to change. There is no one approach that fits all goals, so checking in with your efforts will prove worthy over time.
So, set yourself a deadline framework and regularly review your progress.
Tip #3 – Write it down…
It is one thing to say you’re going to do something but it’s another to write it down and put a sign next to it. Although this might sound a little childish, there are many reasons for this technique to be true. First, think of your work contracts. Have you ever seen a legitimate business agreement going forth without a signed copy of the terms of agreement…?
Of course, for the business circumstances, there is no other way of ensuring that the contract is secure and legitimate, but for personal use, this is also true. If you write your goals down and develop a contract with yourself, in which all ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’ will be listed, once signed, it will bring about an additional layer of self-accountability and dedication for your work to be finished. Even better yet, get yourself an accountability partner to participate…
So, write your goals down and use a contract to leverage your success.
Tip #4 – Put your priorities first…
What do you think is the major reason for people to fail in their area of interest…? Is it a lack of connections…? Lack of resources…? Lack of motivation…? These may be validated, and I can understand how they can hinder one’s success, but truth be told it usually comes down to putting the priorities first. If you want to write a novel but spend most of your daytime working at the café, you might be getting the money to pay the bills, but your writing career is constantly being obstructed by your ‘lack of time’.
You might be wondering why I put ‘lack of time’ in inverted commas, so let me make this clear. Everyone has the same amount of time in the day, the only difference is, how each of us decides to spend it. With the above scenario, by prioritising the writing and waking up an hour earlier to spill out a few pages of your story, you will not only train your body and mind to focus on the important thing you’ll also have a novel written by the end of the year (or even earlier).
So, prioritise your goals and work around necessities to make time for them.
Tip #5 – A ‘carrot and a stick’ method…
I know what you’re thinking. He can’t be serious about this phrase. Well, let me surprise you and say, I am. Although this method might not appeal to all, it is a great way of keeping oneself accountable, no matter the struggle. As you might expect, it is a rather simple technique.
First, you must state your goals and set up a deadline framework with an appropriate list of actionable steps. Secondly, you have got to decide on your minimum, which needs to be met each week, month, or year, to keep you on course towards success. At last, figure out what ‘rewards’ and ‘punishments’ would help you stay diligent in your efforts. This can be anything from a takeaway night, getting your favourite sweet, or buying a new book, to freezing cold showers, not watching any movies for a week, or refraining from those tasty treats you adore. Whatever works for you, use it.
So, take advantage of the method and discipline yourself.
It’s all on you anyway…
Recognising that you are ‘the master of your fate, and the captain of your soul’, as pointed out by William E. Henley, is the final thought about accountability. You oversee your time and it’s up to you to exercise such power or let it slide. Taking your goals to completion is a difficult task, but with the right attitude, the strong will of dedication, and useful techniques, anything is possible for you.
So, keep yourself accountable, understand your motives, stick to your deadlines, write your plans and thoughts down, prioritise your goals, and use additional ‘motivation’ when necessary.
Enjoyed the article?
If you enjoyed this article about keeping yourself accountable to ensure you meet your goals, then you might be interested in this article: ‘5 ways you can create great change with small steps‘.
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