Do you set a goal and struggle to stay committed to it? I am going to help you stay committed to your goals and follow through with the plans you set for yourself. It is extremely difficult for most people to work for themselves the same way they would for a boss. To work around that, having an accountability partner or coach can be a huge help.
For purposes of this article I am going to assume you already set a goal, broke it down, and have a plan – NOW how do you meet these expectations for yourself?
Well to begin it depends on how you handle expectations.
There is an awesome book by Gretchen Rubin that goes into great detail on how to identify how you deal with expectations and how to circumvent your hardwiring.
Basically, there are four ways people respond to expectations and she puts them in categories, the upholder, the obliger, the questioner, and the rebel. Depending on your category you either meet or don’t meet internal or external expectations. Most people are ‘Obligers’, which means they meet external expectations but do not meet internal expectations. Here are some quick tips to help you meet either internal or external expectations. I believe if this goal is really important to you then you should shoot for both!
If you need help motivating internally, I recommend knowing your why. Why you even want to achieve that goal. This will help you really attach yourself to this goal. Another strong way to keep yourself personally accountable is to internally change your identity, for example, if you are trying to eat healthier, then you tell yourself you are that person who eats salads. You are that super healthy mom with her shakes and salads. That is the kind of woman you are. You would never order dessert at dinner because you are THAT health nut. You know the one, you are just like her now. Once your mind makes that shift all your decisions are easier to make.
For external accountability make sure the person/people understand your goal. They should know exactly what your goal is and what it would mean to succeed. Also, make sure they will be tough on you. A spouse is not a good option and probably not a best friend, because they value your relationship and will make excuses with you.
Once you know and understand how you respond to expectations you will know what kind of accountability you need.
My guess is that if you are reading this article, you are struggling to stay accountable internally alone and need a little extra push. That is why I am going to go further into the benefits of an accountability partner.
Having something or someone to answer to is an extra layer of motivation. It’s a great way to trick yourself into being accountable to your goals.
The goal of having any accountability is to make PROGRESS on your goal. An accountability partner should be more interested in your commitment to your goal and add an extra layer of motivation.
Before we go deep on accountability partners, I want to say that I personally recommend an accountability coach because they can keep you accountable weekly and you can have time to discuss multiple goals. You also won’t fall into the following comparison traps that can come with an accountability partnership.
1. “I can do that, I think I will change” stick with your goal for 90 days.
2. “Ugh they are achieving so much more than me, I must suck.” Stay in your own lane with blinders on, we all have different amounts of time and demands on our lives
Regardless of the route you decide to go you should know these tips.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
As high achievers we typically like to impress and succeed, so we “cheat” in a sense.
We tend to hedge in our favor and sell ourselves short. I don’t want to come to this next meeting and say “Well I failed. I’m a loser, imposter syndrome validated! I don’t belong here!” So you play small and decide, “Okay, I already have a blog platform set up so it would be really easy for me to say I’ll post a blog or two.”
Challenge yourself, or be prepared to be challenged because again progress is what is important. Honestly, I would rather you dream BIGGER, double your goal and then say “Well I only did 3, it was way more work than I thought.”
Be Proactive not Reactive
We all have different demands on your life so we are going to progress at different rates and that is perfectly okay. But when planning out your month, you should be proactive about what could get in your way and come up with a solution ahead of time. If you are reactive to the situations that arise, you WILL fall behind and become overwhelmed. If this is you, you can read how to beat overwhelm here.
You should look at the month ahead and know what might throw you off. (even if you don’t discuss it with your accountability partner. If you have fallen behind in the past couple of months, I also want you to reflect on what is getting in your way. Then brainstorm how you can fix it next time it comes up because something will always come up. If you are consistently letting things get in the way my bet is that it is a mindset struggle, rather than the obstacles.
Here is an example of being proactive with your goal. ‘I will be traveling for 2 weekends this next month, so I requested a hotel with a gym. When I am home, I will run before the family wakes up and if I don’t make it, I will in the evenings.”
It’s Not Personal
The way your partner responds to your goals and updates is not personal. They need to understand exactly what you goal is and what successfully committing to that goal looks like. Their other job is to push you so you don’t sell yourself short. (See the first tip above.)
Remember: Progress IS the goal. You are not getting scolded! Your partner is there to here to help you. All responses are given with love.
If there is no or little progress, then they might offer advice because it might be fears or limiting beliefs holding you back.
As you learn each other better, you will start to know what that person needs, but don’t be afraid to tell them what you need. If you feel attacked, and different personalities WILL feel that way, you need to remember this is not personal and comes from a place of believing in you, sometimes more than you believe in yourself.
Hey – that sounds like a bunch of excuses, shits going to happen, no matter what, you need to build contingencies into your plan. You need to plan to fail. Your kid will get sick, and then you KNOW you will get sick! Or for those of you without kids, your dog will get sick, you will get sick. Your car transmission will go out, your kitchen will have a leak.
Get Started Right Away
After you meet with your accountability coach or partner you will have a spark of motivation. Use that, if possible, to jump start on your monthly goal. You will be surprised at how much you can get accomplished with that initial fire.
DO NOT wait until the last minute, because things will get in the way, kids will get sick, the car will break down. You are a successful woman. Own it. You will not live or run your business reactively. You are proactive and will start working on your goal right away.
Breaking down your goals so that they build on each other each month definitely helps you stay accountable because if one falls behind, they all slowly slide unless you catch back up.
People who are constantly not meeting deadlines or falling behind-either they are not motivated or they are not effective at time management. If you are struggling with time management you should try tracking your time. I have a FREE template you can download to help you. After tracking your time, you can narrow in on some of your trouble areas.
I hope this helps you stay committed to your goals and helps you build in some accountability to your goal!