I’m thankful I discovered how important accountability is to achieving personal goals.

Being accountable to results even in your personal life is not a silver bullet but it is an undeniably important aspect of achievement. 

It is far easier to drop the ball when no one is looking over our shoulders…

Not to micro manage our activities. 

But to act as guard rails to prevent us from falling off the path we have set out to walk.

True, there are many amongst us who are so self driven, they achieve all they set out to do each year without any form of accountability.

But these individuals are a rare. Uncommon!

So the rest of us need to increase our rate of achievement through a system that features support & accountability.

Gail Matthews, Psychology Professor at the Dominican University in California found out in her goal setting study that individuals with written goals who also demonstrated accountability by sending their commitments to a friend significantly accomplished more that those who didn’t.

Being accountable is beneficial in many ways. These include:

  1. Accelerating your performance. When you know someone else is watching, you are driven to accomplishment in order to save face.
  2. Keeping you responsible. When you are working with someone else who pushes you to take massive action, it keeps you on your toes. 
  3. Making it easier to eliminate all manner of distractions and focus on your goals.
  4. Helping measure your progress and success. 

Part of being accountable involves sitting down to determine what success will look like so that at each milestone you will know how much progress you are making.

Being accountable can help to silence your inner critic: We all have that voice in our head that tells us our ideas are not good enough.

I know I do.

But when we have someone else whom we revere looking over our shoulders, we stop giving excuses and go beyond our best.

However, we can’t be accountable to just anyone.

Who then should you be accountable to?

Here are a few characteristics of good accountability partners:

  • They are responsible and results driven themselves.
  • They have integrity and are trustworthy.
  • They are interested in the growth and development of self or organization.
  • They are honorable and command your respect. 
  • They are firm yet compassionate.
  • They are disciplined.

So whether it’s a friend (including your spouse if too much familiarity isn’t a factor), a mentor, a coach or your Pastor, the 2 kinds of accountability figures are peers (singly or even as a group) and Authority figures.

Everyone definitely has these 2 kinds of people in their lives if they think well. I know I do.

Also, take note that posting your goals on social media for the world to see is not accountability and recent studies show that it is even counterproductive. 

In my next post I’ll share on how you can effectively position yourself for accountability so you don’t become a nuisance to whomever you choose.
Accountability partners have their own lives & aspirations too and your goals are not theirs to accomplish. Even if they are there to act as a support, you are totally responsible for the outcome of results. If you don’t know how to go about it, you may become a burden. And that’s not what we want.