3 Accountability Skills to Help You Achieve More
By Deanna deBara Posted July 6, 2021
Goal setting is a big part of productivity; if you want to get big things done, you need to set a goal—and then take the actions necessary to hit that goal. And the more goals you hit, the more you achieve.
But staying on track to hitting your goals can be a challenge—and if you want to be successful, you need all the help you can get.
That’s where accountability comes in. Accountability is defined as “the fact or condition of being accountable; or responsibility”—and it can be a complete gamechanger when it comes to performing, producing, and achieving at a high level.
But how, exactly, can you use accountability to hit your goals—and achieve more in the process?
Choose an accountability partner…
If you want to use accountability to up your achievements and hit your goals, the best thing you can do? Create a sense of external accountability by enlisting the help of an accountability partner.
According to a study from the American Society of Training and Development (outlined in a 2018 Entrepreneur article), you are 65 percent more likely to hit a goal if you commit to achieving that goal to another person.
So, if you have a goal in mind—and it’s important to you to hit that goal—loop someone into the process. For example, if your goal is to do more public speaking, you might let your colleague know; that way, when the opportunity to present at an important work event pops up, they can remind you of your goal—and encourage you to step up and volunteer. Or let’s say you want to enroll in a business class next semester. Instead of just making a commitment to yourself to register, you might tell a friend, partner, or co-worker—so if you get cold feet when enrollment rolls around, they can hold you accountable to following through on your education goals.
The point is, being accountable to something outside of yourself can make it significantly more likely that you’ll follow through on your goals—so make sure to enlist an accountability partner to keep you on track and progressing towards your goals.
...but choose wisely
There is an old saying, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” And while there’s no way to calculate an actual average, there is definitely truth to the idea that your behaviors, attitudes, and success are heavily influenced by the people you interact with regularly.
And when you’re working towards an important goal, you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time interacting with your accountability partner—so it’s necessary to choose wisely.
For example, let’s say you’re working towards a goal—and hit a challenging roadblock that leaves you feeling discouraged or unmotivated. If your accountability partner is the kind of person who will say, “well, you tried—but looks like things aren’t working out,” they’re just going to reinforce your discouragement and lack of motivation—and increase the chances that you’ll quit. On the other hand, if your accountability partner has a positive, can-do attitude, who uses your setback as an opportunity to encourage you and let you know that a setback is no reason to quit—their support can help you find the motivation you need to keep moving forward.
Before you ask someone to act as your accountability partner, make sure that they’re the kind of person that’s actually going to hold you accountable towards hitting your goal—and will help keep you motivated along the way.
Schedule accountability check-ups
Choosing an accountability partner is a great way to increase the likelihood that you’ll hit your goals. But if you want to near-guarantee you’ll be successful, you need to take things a step further.
The American Society of Training and Development study found that the likelihood you’ll reach your goal increases to a whopping 95 percent if you commit to achieving your goal to another person and you make “accountability appointments” with that person.
For example, let’s say your goal is to get in a run before work at least three days a week. You’re far more likely to lace up your shoes if you know your accountability partner is waiting for you than if you just planned to text them after you finished your run. Or let’s say you’re trying to close a new client by the end of the quarter—and have asked a colleague to hold you accountable for making the deal. If you schedule regular weekly check-ins with your co-worker to review your progress, you’re much more likely to take steps towards your goal each week than you would be if you didn’t have to give them regular updates.
Scheduling “accountability check-ups” take an accountability partnership to the next level; not only do you have someone holding you accountable to your goals, but they’re also holding you accountable at a specific time and on a regular basis—which can go a long way in ensuring that you make progress towards your goal.
Use accountability to be more productive, hit your goals, and achieve at a higher level
If you want to be successful (both professionally and personally), you need to set goals—and then take the necessary steps to make those goals a reality. But if you struggle to hit goals on your own, leveraging accountability practices can be a great way to gain support, drive follow-through, and increase the likelihood that you’ll accomplish the things you set out to do. So, the next time you have a goal you want to hit? Create a source of external accountability—and watch yourself succeed as a result.
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