October 20, 2016
Reason #5: Accountability
It turns out that statistically (and logically) the number one reason that we don’t achieve our goals is because we stop pursuing them when things get rough. It’s common enough. We get burnt out. We forget why we started. We fabricate an excuse. We generate an “out”. We move on to other things. We lose our focus.
In a word, we: quit.
Most of us have done it. Maybe it’s even a pattern. But, what matters here is why we give ourselves permission to quit and what can be done about it.
Chances are, when we abandon something, we’ve chosen to go it alone. We feel like, perhaps, we are the only ones to have a true stake in their achievement. With this mentality it’s easy to give up because we’ve created a scenario where we are unseen, unknown, and, therefore, unsupportable. We don’t give others the chance to root for us and help us stay the course. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
It can make us vulnerable to let others know our plans and dreams, but that is often where the magic happens—as well as the results. It’s pretty simple, if we know that others in our life will check-in now and then on our progress, we are more likely to push through difficult times. We, in a sense, create an environment where we are no longer alone in our work and have someone (anyone) to keep us accountable.
Importantly, in order to involve others in our goals, we must first be clear about what they are. That is, we must be able to articulate our aim.
So, it’s a two-fold blessing. Telling others about what we plan on accomplishing requires us to, first, make a plan—which, in turn, helps them help us advance toward it.
To be sure, it’s easy to be all in on a project when it’s smooth sailing; and, sometimes, things are easy from start to finish. Those are called “freebies” in the personal development community.
The true measure of our grit, however, and probably the true barometer of our human potential, comes when the sky darkens around us and the sea turns. This is when it’s easiest to stop—especially when no one is there to cheer us on.
Left to our own devices, it’s simple—and sometimes understandable—to bail out on a goal when the going gets rough.
If we are the only ones checking-in with ourselves about the pursuit and progress of our actions, we can convince ourselves pretty easily to stop. However, the moment that we allow others in to our dreams, we invite them to support us and hold us accountable. They may even jump in unexpectedly and provide valuable assistance and resources.
Telling others what we plan to do opens up a network of support and thwarts feelings of despair and fatigue when challenges arise.
As they say, a guy who is his own doctor, has a fool for a doctor. Sure, our goals might be specific to our own private lives, but we need not venture toward them privately. We need not be our only source of accountability.
After all, if we see ourselves as alone in our endeavors, we, too, will feel alone in their accomplishment. And who wants to celebrate greatness in solitude?
Action: Practice makes perfect. Try practicing reaching out this week by telling someone in your life about either something that you are struggling with or about something that you are pursuing—a goal. It need not be a big formal affair. You can simply check-in with this person and then, kindly, ask them if they would, from time to time, check in with you about how things are going. In some circles this is called an “accountability buddy”. The more we practice this, the easier it becomes. Plus, we can then show up in this role for others in our lives and help them, too, achieve personal greatness.
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.