Ahhh…the start of a new year.  The time when more goals and resolutions are set across organizations, families, and individual lives than any other time of the year.  It is a time we take to reflect on the previous year’s work, celebrate some successes, and game plan on how we are going to “get the world by the tail, wrap it around, and put it our pocket”.

Then February rolls around…not as exciting.  We are barely making it to the gym enough to pay for whatever ridiculous monthly amount we committed to, tacos have taken the place of fruit and vegetables, and our goals seem just a bit more out of reach than they did a month ago.

Then April comes, and while the earth is springing forth new life in various forms of flowers, plants, and animals that have been asleep for 3-5 months, we are feeling a little less accomplished.  The gym membership we signed up for is still being drafted automatically from our bank accounts, but we haven’t cancelled it yet because “next week I will get back into it”; the kale salads have lost their appeal; and meal prepping has turned into “which drive-thru we can make it to the quickest?”

But Josh, isn’t this supposed to be a happy blog about how to conquer and achieve our goals?  Why yes, yes it is; however, we need to realize that a lot of us can easily get off track.  A lot of us struggle to uphold the life changing objectives we set forth in January.  And guess what, that is OK because admission is the first step!

Accountability, this is a word that we typically do not like to use unless we are spanking our kids (are we still allowed to do that?) for coloring on mom’s freshly painted wall, or having a conversation with an employee that has been performing horribly for the last 3-months.  When we are the ones on the receiving end of accountability however, well, lets just say it is not as much fun.  We need to understand how self-accountability can help us go from having the best intentions to obtaining profound results.

There are several reasons why self-accountability is important, but the main reason in this context is because it pushes us towards results.  No one is going to stop paying you if you do not go to the gym or steam yourself up some broccoli; no one is going to fire you if you do not save that money instead of purchasing a $5 Frappuccino from Starbucks (Kyle!); and no one is going to put you on suspension if you do not wake up 10 minutes early so you can have some personal time of reflection.

The fact of the matter is, we sometimes give up too easily (hey, there’s a blog about that).  Holding yourself accountable will help make you a better leader of yourself, in turn, making you a better leader of others.

I want to help all of us grow in our self-accountability, so, here are some ways that we can do so:

  1. Own up to your decisions to yourself first–be the first to call yourself out before anyone else can.
  2. Find accountability partners–wait, isn’t this about self-accountability?  Yes, and by finding people who will lovingly help you see your blind spots, you will be holding yourself accountable.
  3. Police yourself–put disciplines (personal laws) into place.  These personal laws can be to-do lists, daily routines, boundaries, scheduling, or any other method that helps you do what you know you need to do.
  4. Acknowledge your limitations–the person that should know your limitations the most should be you.  These can be intellectual limitations, performance limitations, or even resource limitations (I mean, I’d love to save $1,000,000 this year but that is not going to happen!).

I hope that after reading this you are able to apply a few principles to help you accomplish this year’s goals.  Do not let your pride tell you that you do no wrong; do not let entitlement convince you that you “deserve” something; and do not be afraid to work really hard for what you want.  You can “claim” it all day long (I claimed a Lamborghini last year…still waiting on it), but nothing will come without hard work; and hard work will only cultivate results if you can hold yourself accountable to the actions you need to demonstrate.

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