The Gifts of Accountability

The Gifts of Accountability


How many times have you decided to make some positive change in your life, only to “fall off the wagon” before true results materialized? Change, especially major life-altering change, is a struggle; and sometimes, much as we want to achieve our goals, we can’t get there alone. Like a view from a mountain overlook on a clear day, the long-term results look beautiful while all you have to do is visualize them—until the fog rolls in and you have to get moving with the view reduced to a few yards ahead and the drive time suddenly feeling endless. When immediate circumstances prove less than conducive to easy progress, the pleasure of satisfying lesser urges, if not quite as beautiful as the long view, at least is something we can definitely see and achieve.


At such times, we need to outsmart our own ability to procrastinate. One of the best tools is a dedicated accountability system; partnering with someone else for support may be just the motivation you need to achieve a lasting difference.


Let me give you a personal example. The Debbie who goes to bed at night plans to—genuinely wants to—get up at four-thirty the next morning and go to the gym. However, the Debbie who awakens the next morning to the jarring ring of an alarm now wants nothing to do with that crazy plan. So, to ensure the desired outcome of going to the gym, the “whole Debbie” has to be smarter than the “morning Debbie.” The answer was to find a workout partner. Once I was accountable to someone else, the decision of whether to get up in the morning no longer felt optional; someone was waiting for me at the gym.


Similar results can be achieved by joining a mastermind group, a weekly gathering of like-minded individuals. At each meeting, each member shares their plans for the following week, specifically outlining how they will move forward in the pursuit of their goals, and what they want the rest of the group to hold them accountable for achieving before the next meeting. Each member has an opportunity to share personal experiences, celebrate goals achieved, get perspective on goals past and future, and, where needed, ask the group for help with any obstacles they have encountered. The synergy a mastermind group provides is incredibly strong, and the energy generated helps all to advance at improved rates.


Certainly, to get serious about making changes you need to personally take inventory, decide what has kept you from success in the past, and commit to acting differently from then on. But by working with others, you significantly increase your odds of sticking to that commitment and making it through the early struggles to your desired results. The support and camaraderie of a team, all actively pursuing a better life, is unbelievably emboldening. Especially on difficult days, you have the energy of the group to piggyback on, which keeps you positive, focused, and on target.