How does the word “accountability” make you feel — honestly?
Does the word make you cringe and conjure up images of your manager hovering over your shoulder to make sure you get work done?
Or do you get excited about how accountability can help you make progress, reach new milestones, and accomplish your goals?
In our 10-part goal-setting series, we’re covering how you can get clarity around setting goals and developing a master plan of action to achieve them. We’ve come to the final installment in the series, so we suggest reading the previous article The Start Line: Know Where Your Goals Begin before continuing on here.
Accountability is the last step in our MVP plan for goal-setting, distilled from the 10 Step Arootah Success Formula, and it’s the hardest part when it comes to achieving goals.
Yes, you read that right: Staying accountable to your goals is more difficult than actually working to achieve them.
Here’s why accountability can make all the difference in achieving your goals, plus how you can create it.
What Is Goal Accountability?
In essence, accountability is a commitment or readiness to accept responsibility and account for one’s actions.
The key word in that definition is “actions.” Accountability creates structures that ensure you actually take action when you’re supposed to.
You can plan and strategize for years, but without taking action, you’ll never get any results.
Accountability is necessary and effective in helping you achieve goals due to the human brain’s innate desire to conserve energy and pursue immediate gratification.
Our brains are, to put it simply, wired for laziness, but laziness obviously isn’t helpful if you’re trying to accomplish a goal.
Accountability allows you to disrupt your brain’s natural tendencies so that you can take action on your goals.
Instead of allowing your brain to conserve energy, accountability relies on the brain’s ability to avoid pain (which is often required to endure in order to reach a goal) to inspire you to take action.
Accountability promises a small amount of pain or discomfort for not taking action; therefore, our brains will act on their own accord.
Although we focus a lot on making plans, we know that taking action is equally, if not more, important. Many goal-setting techniques fall short on the accountability aspect, so let’s explore how you can set up structures of accountability.
The 2 Types of Goal Accountability
There are two types of accountability you can use to reach your goals. Although they play different roles, you should understand how each works to create structure when you’re pursuing a goal.
Internal Force Accountability
Internal force accountability means that we rely on the structures within us to take action. This is otherwise known as willpower. Though there’s a time and place to leverage willpower, you’ve probably experienced a failure of willpower at some point in your life.
That’s because internal motivation is limited, therefore it’s best utilized in the moment when you need to get a task done. When you need to stop scrolling on your phone, get up off the couch, or send an email, you’re using willpower.
It’s much easier to rely on willpower when you’ve set up other structures of accountability, however. This leads us to the second type of accountability…
External Force Accountability
External force accountability means outside forces are motivating you to take action. You’re either inspired to:
- Move towards a reward (pleasure)
- Move away from a consequence (pain)
External forces of accountability work well within a company or organizational setting. For example, when you join a company, you immediately begin to work within a managerial structure of accountability. The pain of letting other people within that structure down motivates you to get your tasks done. You get rewarded with a paycheck for taking action.
For personal and some professional goals though, you’ll likely need to set up your own structures of external accountability.
8 Ways to Stay Accountable With Your Goals
Creating external forces of accountability will help you join the mere 8% of people who actually achieve the goals they set.
Here are some external accountability strategies Arootah uses to succeed:
- Public declaration: Many people achieve their goals by declaring them publicly. Social media makes it easy for you to tell your friends and followers about a goal you’re pursuing and the pain of publicly missing your goal will drive you to achieve it.
- Competition: If you have a competitive side, find a way to be in competition with others in order to hit your goal. The will to win can serve as a source of inspiration for success.
- Friends or family: By asking a friend or loved one to be your accountability partner, you can stay accountable to your goals by spurring one another to success.
- Software/apps: Utilizing technology can help you bolster your external accountability. You can use a habit-tracking app, such as Arootah’s Habit Accountability Tracker, which helps you to increase mindfulness of your habits and track progress towards your goals.
- Life coaching: For personal goals, hiring a life coach is one of the best ways to stay accountable. Not only can a coach support you in getting clarity and moving through obstacles, but you’ll be forced to give a report to someone about your progress. This is ideal external accountability.
- Health coaching: If your personal goal revolves around health or wellness, you may want to consider hiring a health coach. Not only will your coach serve as a source of accountability, they can provide you with strategies for breaking bad habits and building positive new ones.
- Executive coaching: If you’re a leader, you’re likely the person your colleagues and team members come to for accountability and guidance. By working with an executive coach, you can improve your own actions and offer better guidance to others.
- Group coaching: Working alongside a group of people trying to accomplish similar goals can give you a lot of external motivation and accountability. You may find yourself inspired and learn to take action from others who are goal-oriented.
For each action item on your goal plan, you’ll need to pick an external accountability strategy. With these structures of accountability in place, finding the willpower to take action becomes much easier.
The Bottom Line
You can’t accomplish any goal if you don’t hold yourself accountable for taking action on it.
Establishing structures of accountability upfront will make it much easier for you to achieve your goal later.
Although we’ve scratched the surface of goal setting in this series, accomplishing your goals is no small task. Make sure you download your free copy of The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula to learn this process in-depth and directly from Arootah’s CEO and founder Rich Bello. Rich provides simple, straightforward guidelines to help you achieve your goals.