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19 Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/11/2015 Elliot Begoun

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When you are working "in" your business, it is very difficult to find time to work "on" it, let alone on yourself. However, failing to do so can be the difference between moving a business forward or not. If you ignore your own personal development, you run the risk of someone passing you by. It is not easy to find the needed time; we have so many things on our plates. Deadlines and meetings consume us. So what do we do? How do we make sure we accomplish the things we need to? Here are 19 things I can offer as potential ways to hold yourself accountable:
2015-11-02-1446490517-5642742-Accountability.png © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-11-02-1446490517-5642742-Accountability.png 1.Tell your team: If you plan to do something, tell your team what you are going to do. Asking them to help hold you accountable for getting it done is not a bad first step.
2.Set a date: Establish a finish line. Commit yourself to a reasonable date sometime in the future. One that does not seem so close that it is overwhelming, but not too far so as to encourage procrastination.
3.Make an Investment: Most action steps need some tools or materials. Buy them before you need them. If you know that you spent money against an objective, you will be more likely to accomplish it.
4.Get a coach: Yes, this may seem like a shameless plug, but it is not. A good coach who can help you determine what action steps need to be taken and then holds you to their accomplishment is invaluable. I will circle back to this at the end of this article.
5.Keep a journal: A journal where you keep your aspirations and goals is a constructive way to have them in front of you. It encourages top of mind awareness which will support keeping your head up rather than down and immersed in the day to day.
6.Set milestones: Break things down into smaller chunks. Things that can be accomplished daily or weekly. The progress will serve to fuel your interest and resolve in keeping it going .
7.Write it down: Writing something down makes it appear more real. It marks the commitment as more sincere. Write down your action step and just stick it in your desk or in your planner.
8.Put it on your calendar: Similar to the above, put it in on your calendar, block out time to work on it at some daily or weekly scheduled interval. Set an appointment with yourself.
9.Get a tattoo: Truly firm up your commitment by making it permanent. Yeah, maybe not the best idea, we will scratch that one off.
10.Plan the party: When you set out an objective, celebrating its accomplishment is important. Plan that celebration in advance, you won't want to miss your own party.
11.Post-it-Notes: This is another way to encourage top-of-mind awareness. Place Post-it-Notes in key places such as on your computer monitor or office door.
12.Establish a ritual: I wrote about this in an article entitled "The Ugly But Honest Truth About Motivation". Rituals help to break old habits and establish new ones. Habit energy is strong and when harnessed can be very powerful.
2015-11-02-1446490410-3787514-buddies.png © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-11-02-1446490410-3787514-buddies.png 13.Find an Accountabilibuddy: Originally coined in an episode of South Park, which, for the record, is not on my must-watch list. But, I did have a client use this term and it is really about finding someone who in a reciprocal form, holds you accountable to an objective you have shared.
14.Put money on it: Having skin in the game is a great motivator. Not only from the financial perspective but, those of us who are competitive in nature will rally around their desire to win.
15.Put it out their on social media: There is no hiding from a Twitter or Facebook post. Simply fill in the bank. "I am going to do _____ by _____" and post it to your favorite account.
16.Share it with your mother: This one might be a bit frightening, but who wants to let down Mom? I offer this somewhat tongue in cheek, but it is effective. If not Mom, tell someone whom you don't want to disappoint.
17.Track your progress: Many of us are number geeks. Create a spreadsheet and track your progress. This would support No. 6 in setting close in milestones.
18.Make a promise: Being a person of your word is important. Promise someone that you are going to do everything in your power to get it done. There is a lot of power in a promise.
19.Choose your reward: What is the reward for yourself or your organization for the accomplishment of the objective? This is a form of dangling the carrot. Identify that reward and it will give you something to chase.
This is a list that stems from experience and a bit or brainstorming. I know it is far from complete. Please use the comment section to add your wisdom, I am certain we would all benefit.
Circling back to No. 4, I want to ask what is really going to hold you accountable? All of the above work to some degree. But, it is hard as a leader today, to extract yourself from those things that need to be done that are right in front of you. You run the risk of looking up six months or a year from now and finding you have been stagnant. If you want to grow, you to need to act. Don't be stubborn. If you feel you could benefit from a professional "accountabilibuddy" go find one that fits you.
Thanks for reading.
Elliot Begoun is a Business Growth Specialist and the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and business leaders. He helps organizations establish strategic guardrails, develop integrative leaders, foster employee enlightenment and practice mindful marketing. Elliot works with businesses internationally serving as a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator.
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