5 Ways to Make Yourself Accountable

by Meg Favreau on 3 September 2012 3 comments
Photo: infomatique

Sometimes motivation likes to play hide-and-go-seek, leaving you lethargically poking around, trying to find it, until you finally give up and flop onto the couch. It can be especially hard to find the motivation when there isn't an external force holding you accountable, like your boss needing work from you. If you're struggling with achieving your personal goals, whether they have to do with money, health, or something else entirely, follow these tips. (See also: But I Don't Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation)

1. Set a Deadline, and Make Changing It Beyond Your Control

I signed up to run a 10 mile race this morning. I'm not telling you this so I can be one of those expansive-ego people who brags about how much they run (also, the next time you're annoyed by one of those healthier-than-thou guys, remember that he probably has weird bruised toes and/or chafing in very delicate areas). Honestly, I'm not a great runner, and while I like to be healthy, running is not my top priority. But I know that if I've spent the money on registering for a race, I'm going to follow my darn training schedule and be able to run 10 miles by early October, because I am not wasting cash on a race fee.

2. Share Your Goals and Plans With Others

There are those who believe that you shouldn't share your goals because the feel-good social acknowledgment will actually make you less likely to achieve them. But in some cases, telling other people that you're going to do something can be a powerful motivator to get it done — even if you're the only person affected by it (hey, you don't want to be a disappointment!). You can even start a blog or twitter account to track your progress.

3. Partner With Someone With Similar Goals

If you have a bicycling buddy, it's going to be a lot harder to cancel a bike ride with a friend than it would be to just tell yourself "I'm not going out today."

4. Sign Up for a Site Like StickK

The website StickK is a more formalized version of number two above — not only does it help you share goals, but you can also put money on the line. You designate the recipient of the money if you don't achieve your goal — it could be a friend, a charity you like, or perhaps most deviously, a charity you hate.

5. Reward Yourself for Reaching Goals

Simply giving yourself a random reward for achieving a goal isn't the same thing as being accountable. But if you designate a reward that you're not allowed to have until you complete your task, that can help. You can also designate things you'll deny yourself if not successful.

How do you keep yourself accountable? Share in the comments.

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Guest's picture

Great tips. I like how you said to sign up for a race, that way you can't change it. I did that with a half marathon the other day. Now I can't back out no matter how crazy training gets!

Guest's picture

I think sharing your goals with friends and family is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Letting outside parties in on what you're aiming to accomplish will not only give you support through their kind words of encouragement, it will also motivate you to get it done because you don't want to look like a failure of what you're goals were.

Guest's picture
Mary

I have been successful with my weight loss program by writing my weight everyday on my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker, for me and everyone else in my family to see. I am lucky enough to have a large "canvas" so I plan to write other goals there when I achieve my goal weight :)

I have decided to live more mindfully, so I will be writing my financial goals there or on my vision board, someplace that I spend time Every Day.