It is great to chase your dreams and goals, but these aspirations can often dwindle into nothing without practicing accountability.

When we maintain accountability, we take ownership of our obligations. This ownership does not imply a specific result or expectation, but rather it assumes the responsibility of effort towards a goal. It is, in essence, a mindset of choosing to commit to a higher potential. Being accountable to ourselves and others is not as easy as it may seem. It requires organization, discipline, willpower, and effort. It depends on an established foundation of good habits and practices. Luckily, there are proven processes to help us reach success.

Self-Accountability

We are solely responsible for our habits and actions. We are also our most reliable resource. Still, without a sound strategy and a strong foundation of discipline, we will tend to procrastinate on tasks rather than complete them. When we commit to being accountable to complete our goals, we can tackle responsibilities effectively. When we are solely accountable for an action, the challenge we face is that we are the only ones to know if we fail to act; therefore, integrity and dedication to goals are paramount.

Here are some tools and strategies to help you hold yourself accountable to achieve your highest priority goals:

  1. Daily Scorecard

It is not uncommon to dismiss an unpleasant chore. Slipping even one day from an action you had committed to doing daily can turn into many days before you get back on track. Using a daily scorecard helps to inhibit laziness from becoming a habit of its own. It is a way to track the progress and completion of goals, guaranteeing that every task finds fulfillment. We recommend leveraging technology by using Arootah’s Habit Accountability Tracker to score and rate your habits and top prioritized actions throughout the day. This visual representation will help you stay on track. It also allows for healthy competition with past performance – there is no better competitor than your past self. Seeing progress is a wonderful motivational tool.

  1. Checklists

When overwhelmed with an array of things to be completed, lists can help categorize and organize thoughts. To effectively design a plan of action, it is helpful to break down each job into subcategories. Distinguish all related tasks required for the achievement of the goal. Crossing off items as they are finished offers a certain sense of accomplishment and satisfaction too!

  1. Utilize Technology

Devices and apps like Fitbit or iWatch keep track of physical activity. They remind us of lengthy periods of immobility and even prompt us to take a deep breath. Electronic calendars are also great tools to stay organized. Schedule the entire day. Planning is the secret to success. Enable reminders before each new activity to maintain punctuality.

  1. Journal

For highly active minds, journaling can be a beneficial tool. At the end of each day, write down feelings, observed habits, and progress. Having a free space for reflection can highlight areas that we may not have been aware of and point us towards inherent values and goals. If you slip on a goal, examine why and come up with a plan to overcome that obstacle the next time.

Self-Accountability Using Outside Resources

We all need a little help sometimes. Outside sources offer a way for us to maintain self-accountability.

  1. Hire a Life Coach

Life coaches are wonderful sources of accountability. Arootah’s coaches are trained to focus intensely on accountability because they know that a successful coaching relationship depends on the coachee achieving results on their highest prioritized goals. They check in on progress and help to evaluate development. When we quantify our results, we are more driven to succeed. A good coach will instill healthy habits that build us up to be self-accountable and motivated. We are all capable of being stars; sometimes, we just need to be trained to assume the role.

  1. Tell Someone

Delegating accountability to peers is extremely helpful. We are more apt to do something if we tell someone else that we will do it. We never want to let someone down, and we always want to prove ourselves right. The public pressure of living up to our word can help us reach success.

  1. Competition

If you like a little more support, canvas your friends to get on board with the same intentions. Create a healthy competition to hold up a plant-based food challenge or increase physical activity. When others are involved, you are more likely to show up.

Peer Accountability

A community that holds each other accountable grows stronger. The drive for success motivates each member of a team to be their very best. In addition to inviting our peers to hold us responsible, we can also raise them to the same standards. A healthy culture of communication amongst peers starts with establishing basic foundations. Live up to the example, consistently demonstrating the qualities and standards expected from others. By embodying the accountability mindset, colleagues will naturally admire and mimic your behavior.

Subordinate Accountability

It is the responsibility of a team leader to hold each member accountable. It is necessary to be clear with expectations. Each objective should have a specific, measurable outcome. The leader should assign tasks to one individual who assumes responsibility for their completion. This can be done by setting due dates to keep the work on track. Welcome mistakes without harsh ramifications. Recognize everyone’s willingness to grow and adapt by providing them with guidance and acknowledging their effort and dedication. Offer rewards for a job well done and acknowledge when someone has gone above and beyond expectations.

Upward Accountability

This type of accountability is a little more “delicate.” There is an art to expressing concerns and comments to a superior about their performance. Undermining authority and showing up the boss can come across as arrogant and could cost you. Wait for the appropriate opportunity to communicate suggestions. It is best to choose a private moment. Nobody likes to be singled out, and calling a superior out in front of the entire team will only create negative responses. Every great leader will welcome the feedback if communicated with sincerity. Remember, never make it personal. Address specific actions or lack thereof with concrete suggestions for improvement. Any feedback expressed should always be done from a place of respect and kindness.

 

Conclusion

While accountability isn’t always a popular or fun topic, it is crucial to practice. It gives us a leg up from others who do not hold themselves accountable. While it easy to dismiss accountability, doing so only hinders our chances for success. When we learn to practice accountability in all its forms, we set ourselves up to follow through on our goals, establish healthy habits, and remove excuses from the picture. While it isn’t always easy, practicing accountability leads us to achieve greatness and sets us up to be our happiest and healthiest selves.    

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