How to #Finish2020Strong with the Power of Accountability

All my life I wanted to be able to run.

But I never managed it.  Not enough time, not enough energy - just not enough motivation.

Until a friend persuaded me to sign up for a Race for Life 5k for Cancer Research.

And suddenly I HAD to train - I'd made this commitment, I couldn't let her, or the charity down...

And guess what: I did it.

I stuck to my training regime, and I eventually made it all the way around Battersea Park without stopping (although I did get overtaken by someone in a banana suit...  )

Because I'd made that commitment, and I had some very clear accountability - either I would be able to run that 5k, or I wouldn't. 

It was the accountability that made me do it.

So far in this series helping us to #Finish2020Strong, we’ve:

This week, I’m going to help you understand how you can support yourself to take action to achieve that goal.

We've all tried to start that exercise regime, or stick to that diet - but haven't managed it.

Just because we WANT to do something, doesn't mean we'll actually take the right kind of actions to do it.

Unless you have a strong enough motivator

Which is where ACCOUNTABILITY comes in.

Read on to find out to create strong internal and external accountability…

Internal accountability - the dangers of language

As with anything internal, this is a mindset that is strongly influenced by our language.

An indication of weak internal accountability is blaming language:

"I couldn't do it because they didn't give me the information I needed".

They - whether an object (an alarm clock), or a person (your colleague, client or boss) - are responsible, not you.

Another indication of weak accountability is victim language:

"I can't do it because I just don't have time".

YOU are the primary actor in your own life - you make the choices about how to focus your time.

You decided (whether consciously or unconsciously) whether to prioritise your time on that particular task or activity.

So what's the solution?

Change your language!

First, become self-aware.

Notice when you start blaming other people for results, or giving power to things outside yourself. (I always say, self-awareness is the crucial first step to any change!)

Second, change your language. Rather than "I couldn't" or "I can't", replace it with "I didn't" or "I'm not going to".

Then finish with the honest reason why:

"I didn't do it because I didn't make sure I got the information I needed".

"I'm not going to do it because I think doing x is a better use of my time."

You are then taking complete ownership of the decision.

When you hear the words coming out of your mouth (or in your head) in that construction, you may decide you don't like them - you don't like the fact you didn't do what was necessary; or you've decided to prioritise something else.

And that is then the motivator for change: to change your decision or behaviour so you get a different outcome this time, or next time.

This is using internal accountability as a powerful internal driver!

But if you are denying your own responsibility for your actions, you will never be fully accountable, and therefore not able to use it to motivate you.

Internal accountability - the power of positive visualisation

Last week, I looked at 7 steps you can take to turn your dream into a goal.

One of these steps (number 3) was about making that goal come alive: really visualising what it would feel like to achieve that goal, the positive benefits it would bring you.

You can use this powerful visualisation as a form of accountability.

Future You wants the OUTCOME that will result from achieving your goal.

Future You wants to feel what it feels like to have achieved your goals!