Do you want to increase your chances of achieving your concrete, set out goal by 95%? Here’s how you are going to do it!
I sat down to write a blog post on being “accountable”. As I do these blogs, I sometimes sit down without any idea of what I am going to write about. I scour Google for a little bit and am always spurred on. Other times I simply sit and observe. Some thing or some one spurs an idea and I’ll run with it from there. When the wheels are really turning, I have a topic in mind as I start to type. This was one of those times.
I was thinking about “accountability” and how even as a young man, my Dad always impressed on me the idea of being accountable. This was to be applied to all avenues of my life; mental, physical, spiritual, professional, etc. We aren’t going to dive into any of the rabbit holes because we aren’t at Starbucks and those conversations with Dad are far too deep to convey in text haha.
One particular fact I wanted to know about “accountability” is how does it affect our likelihood to achieve a goal once we have shared it with others and are held accountable. A quick Google search and the leading article that popped up was so good, I decided to share it.
As you read through it, I would encourage you to think of one friend at the gym. Ideally someone who trains at the same time of you (most of the time anyways). Then I want you to pick a real, obtainable, concrete goal. Add five pounds to your clean and jerk. Get fifty unbroken double unders. Walk on your hands. Whatever. I’ll challenge you to share that goal with your friend and have them hold you accountable. Set a time right then and there (be it daily, weekly, whatever) that your friend can check in with you. Both enter it into your phone calendar and turn on alerts for it. Set them to repeat on whatever frequency you have prearranged. In your face and always there. That accountability.
Anyways, here is the article. If you are up to reading on a little bit more, give it a quick read and put it into practise. You might just surprise yourself with meeting that goal sooner than you ever expected when you are held accountable on it!
Goals take time, hard work, perseverance and commitment to achieve. And results often do not come as quickly as you hope. You can easily lose the motivation in the process and give up. But everything changes when you leverage an accountability system. To “be accountable,” all you need is a clear goal and a willingness to let others help you achieve it.
According to research, the two factors that effectively help people achieve the behavior change they desire are incentives and accountability.
Achieving anything in life takes practice. Writing every day, working out, eating healthy, etc. are practices that get better with time. Whether you want to change your habits, health, body, relationship or your finances, identifying the right commitment system can make it easy for you to reach your goals.
When you are accountable to someone or a group of people for doing what you said you would do, you can easily get stuff done because you engage the power of social expectations.
When you tell your boss you will get the proposal done by the end of the week, you are more likely to stick to it and do it. When you tell a client you’ll send over a report, you deliver. The expectation alone is enough motivation to get you to commit to it and get it done.
However, when you tell yourself — and no one else — that you will quit smoking, start a new gym routine, write a book, launch a meaningful project or quit your “just okay” job in order to pursue your life’s work, you are less likely to do it. It’s easy to choose something else more comfortable and make excuses.
Accountability accelerates your performance
The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
Today, right now, you can make a commitment that matters to your goal. You can choose your spouse, a reliable friend or friends and tell them what your goal is and why it is important for you to achieve it. Or blog about your most important goal and share your progress with your audience.
When you make your goals public, you receive a combination of responses you can use to fuel your desire to succeed!
Agree on what you’d like them to do if you don’t follow through. If you are both not committed to the accountability program, other daily activities will take precedent. Find someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you.
Putting accountability to work
Put structures and systems in place to measure and record your progress. Schedule regular appointments to check in. It can be over email, mobile or in person. If possible, schedule these times in advance so that they’re not lost or forgotten in the busyness of everyday life.
Move beyond mere talk and commit to specific actions that will move your goals forward, and agree with someone else to hold you accountable.
It’s the perfect commitment system you need for long-term goals. If your goal demands it, seek out people, mentors, coaches or resources that can offer expert support and the knowledge you need to succeed. If you are struggling to stick to a gym, diet or writing plan, an accoutablity partner or audience can make a huge difference.
Sign a commitment contract!
A Commitment contract is a binding agreement you sign with yourself to ensure that you follow through with your goals. StickK, a productivity app built purposely for that, can help you achieve your goals over a period of time. It does this by utilizing the psychological power of loss aversion and accountability to drive behavior change.
StickK asks users to define their goal (whatever it is!), pick a timeline to accomplish it, and put something at stake (whether it’s money or their reputation). If you don’t fulfill your commitment with stickK, it automatically tells your friends and opens you up to endless mockery.
If you want to take accountability to a whole new level, especially on regular basis, consider joining a habit group where members keep track of their results. If you are serious about achieving your goals, it can be one of your most potent sources of support and accountability.
If you intend to quit smoking, exercise more, study a new language, take control of your finances, eat healthier, start a new reading habit, or manage your time better, an accountabilty system can guide you!
Give someone the permission to hold you accountable!
When you go public with your goal, you allow others to rally around and encourage you. In the “This Time Next Year” TV Show, people publicly pledge to work on a single goal, and report back to the show the same time next year about what they’ve been able to do. They share the dreams they’re desperate to achieve over the next 12 months.
Everyone who appears on the show has to come back to update the audience about their progress. The declaration makes them work hard at it. The public holds contestants accountable. And the show requires guests to send weekly or monthly updates.
Contestants are motivated to push themselves to reach the goal. What they set out to do are difficult but realistic. But once they are accountable to the public and the show, they do everything they can to achieve them. One contestant said in an interview: “As part of the show, I had to do a video diary each week, so I’d do mine every Sunday and I’d have to take photos of my progress, too.”
With the right support and help, you can do better and actually achieve your goals this year. The likelihood of getting new habits to stick, or reaching your goals is remarkably higher when you set a time to report back to someone on your progress.
“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” — Thomas S. Monson
Build an accountability plan into your next big goal, and see the difference it makes! If you want to improve your chances of success, use the power of accountability.
-Thomas Opong; Mission.org