Breaking Down Accountability

It’s 6am, the alarm has gone off, and you’re really comfy in bed. Do you really need to go to that 7am class? Would sleeping in before work instead really be all that bad? You intended on going to three classes this week, but it’s already Thursday and you’ve only gone to one. You told your friend that you would go this morning, but you’re already crafting the “Sorry….I’m so tired….” text. Do you think you would ever meet your goals if you talked yourself out of everything that would help reach it?

Accountability is so much more than doing what you say you’re going to do. It involves claiming ownership for how your life turns out, taking charge of your actions, and not making excuses. It’s important because it makes you consistent, helps you make progress toward your goals, and makes you more reliable. If you can’t trust yourself to follow through on the things that you said you would do, how can a friend or a coworker rely on you?

Have the answers to these questions ready before you start working toward your goal, so you can easily address roadblocks as they come up:

  • What does achieving your goal mean to you? Does it mean feeling good in your skin, or confident about your life direction? Anticipate any roadblocks that will come up when completing a task, and write them down. Then, anticipate how you will address that roadblock!
  • What’s the risk versus reward for this goal? The reward should be much greater than the risk, or work put in. Tape a picture or sticky note of your reward on the mirror if you have to.
  • How can I set myself up for success to get that reward easier? Make a list of friends to check in with and other resources to consult when you’re finding it hard to stay focused.

Consider this example about personal accountability. Ashley describes the roadblocks she overcame to feel good about her health and fitness. Take inspiration from her journey, and see how you can apply it to your own sense of accountability.

Being accountable means living a life that is true to what you believe. Years before I picked up boxing, I used to casually drink with people from work and friends from school. Once I started living a more deliberate active lifestyle and making health a priority, I realized drinking didn’t fit the life I was trying to create for myself. Feeling bloated, and waking up with a headache made it really hard to go on trail runs in the morning. I had started to really covet my weekend runs at town lake and, for me, I felt the benefits of running were greater than the nights out. I had to put my big girl pants on and just say no to going out for drinks since it would impede on my run the next day. 

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to say no or stop after a few sips because it is what my body preferred. I still hang out with people that drink and I’m usually the designated driver, and I don’t mind that. I have nothing against drinking, or the people that choose to drink, but once I started saying no to drinking and living for my priorities, I became much happier. While it was easy for me to make the switch to being a non-drinker, many people around me were incredulous. However, with consistency I showed I was true to my word on this lifestyle change, and people took me seriously. Had I said I didn’t want to drink because of training the next day and proceeded to drink, I wouldn’t be honest with myself or the boundaries I set, and the people around me would not take my word seriously. 

Now that you’ve considered how and why Ashley stuck to her word, think about your own. Are you taking responsibility for your actions? Do you need to reassess how you can make things easier for yourself? Take some time to reflect on these things, and check out our blog again next week for a personal challenge to improve your accountability.