In this last article in our Passion, Purpose & Accountability series, we are going to discuss holding ourselves accountable. This is something that we all have to do in order to get where we want to go. Then I will show you ways to effectively hold yourself accountable.
There should be nothing more important in your life than learning to be accountable to yourself above all others. You must rely on yourself to uphold your values, follow through on your commitments, be true to your needs, and establish boundaries that allow you to live your life. When you become truly accountable to yourself, you will enjoy the happiness and freedom that comes from living your best life possible.
This is where many of us fall down at some point in our lives. We think more highly of others than we do ourselves. This keeps us peering into other people's lives and wishing their life was ours instead of focusing on improving ourselves and our own life.
What it Means to Be Accountable to Yourself
Becoming accountable to yourself happens when you accept yourself for who you are, you realize that your choices have led you to your current situation, and you control how you respond to others and the world in which you live. It requires that you no longer blame others for your mistakes, accept your role in controlling or giving in to your emotions, and that you own your actions.
Being accountable allows you to set goals, make progress toward reaching those goals, and realize your dreams over time. It also requires that you gain clarity about your true values and beliefs, as these should guide your decisions. Holding yourself accountable means making peace with your faults and flaws, making promises to yourself to better your life, then following through on those expectations.
When you lack personal accountability, you will find it hard to achieve the goals that are important to you. You set yourself up for allowing others to take your personal power and determine your life for you. This means you will never enjoy true happiness, as you are living a life that others imagine for you rather than one that you design for yourself.
There is no other person in the world that is more important than yourself when it comes to being accountable. You need to answer to yourself above all others, so learning to be accountable to yourself should become your most important goal.
"You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody."
~ Maya Angelou ~
How to Start Being Personally Accountable
The first step toward holding yourself accountable is figuring out what you really enjoy and value in your life. Once you understand this, it is easier to figure out what you will enjoy doing and what goals are most important to you. By setting a purpose for your life, you can then devise a plan and various strategies for how to do those. But plans are not enough. You must act. You must commit to doing something regularly to help you reach your goals and realize your dreams.
As children, we learn to be accountable to others out of fear of consequences, including punishment. We grow afraid of disappointing others or embarrassing ourselves, so we follow the rules or do what others expect of us. But, this type of accountability does not work with yourself. Instead, you must learn to become accountable to gain positive rewards, not avoid negative consequences.
Being accountable to yourself means understanding the power of your dreams and working hard to enjoy the pleasure of your accomplishments. You become personally responsible because you see the benefit of the positive outcomes that lay in front of you, and you use these to remain motivated to carry out what you want to in life.
Five Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable
When working with a team, it is important that you hold others accountable for their role in a group project. But what happens when you are a one-person team? Are you tired of watching another month pass without much progress toward a personal or professional goal? Do you make to-do lists, only to find that you do not actually get the things on your list done?
If this sounds like you, it could be that you are not holding yourself accountable for the tasks needed to carry out your goals. Here are five steps you can take to become more personally responsible and start making progress toward your dreams.
#1. Get Clear on Your Mission
Being accountable to yourself means that you are personally invested in what you want to accomplish and believe it with your whole heart.
Every organization has a mission that guides them and so should you. Think of yourself as your own organization and craft your own personal mission statement to guide you every day.
Take some time to become clear about what it is you are trying to do and what you believe. Write a mission statement and a list of your most essential values. Being transparent with yourself about what it is you want to do and why it is important to you will help you hold yourself accountable when things get really hard or when your motivation starts to fade.
Your mission should be what gets you out of bed in the morning. Memorize it and say it to yourself every time you notice that you are not following through on your plans.
#2. Write It All Down
Writing things down gives you a permanent reminder of what you are trying to do and why. Make a visual representation of your mission. Write down your long-term goal as well as your short-term milestones.
Create a space in your home and where you work to display your reminders, too. Having something visual means you can’t forget, making it easier to hold yourself accountable. Make a to-do list every day, with your most important priorities at the top. Do not work on less-important tasks until these are completed.
#3. Set Small Goals
If you are having trouble reaching more important goals, try setting smaller, more attainable ones. Mini-goals are great for helping you see progress and keeping you focused. Figure out what you need to do today to get you one step closer to your goal. Devise weekly milestones that allow you to watch your progress. Do not depend on goals that are far into the future to help you stay on track; instead, focus on what you can do each day to get you across the finish line.
Beat procrastination, and celebrate small, measurable achievements every single day.
Use the Focus 90 Journal system to keep yourself inspired and motivated to keep going, one goal at a time.
Get started today!
#4. Be Sure to Reward Yourself
When you have made significant progress or reached a milestone, be sure to reward your efforts. It is essential to take care of yourself, so focus your rewards on ways to stay healthy and enjoy life. Finding the right balance between work and play is crucial, so reward yourself with time off, a relaxing massage, or something else to engage in self-care.
#5. Reflect on Your Progress
It is vital that you take the time to reflect on your journey along the way. Thinking about what you have learned, where you have failed or had missteps, and where you have excelled will help you get a better handle on your strengths and areas for growth.
When you engage in regular reflection, you can honestly assess your progress and adjust your plans too. Assessment is a part of any sound accountability system, so be sure that you are being honest with yourself about what is and is not working for you.
Being accountable to yourself does not have to be complicated or cumbersome. It can be as easy as checking in regularly and ensuring you are genuinely invested in your goal. Try these five tips to keep you focused and making progress toward your next big goal.
Becoming personally accountable allows you to work toward achieving your dreams because you want to enjoy the rewards, not because you fear missing out or being punished.
Learning to hold yourself accountable can change the way you think about your life and your goals, and it can help you take control over your future.
Personal accountability is a crucial part of your development and growth, and it will allow you to not only reach your goals but to set your sets higher than you ever imagined.
"I am creative, confident and persistent in everything I do."
This article is part 4 of 4 of our Passion, Purpose & Accountability series. If you missed the previous articles, you can read them here:
Article 2 - Three Interesting Ways to Find Your Passion
Article 3 - 5 Steps to Discovering Your Life’s Purpose
-- Share Your Thoughts
Previously, we talked about creating a personal mission statement for your life. When crafting my own, I realized that my purpose was not some pie in the sky foo-foo thing that I had to develop. It was something that I had been doing for many, many years without being fully aware. It was just so natural for me - "Uplift and inspire. Purposefully."
You too may be surprised to discover that you have been working in your purpose for a long time, naturally.
What's your personal mission statement? Let me know in the comments below.