- Personal accountability means taking ownership and being responsible for your thoughts, decisions, and actions.
- You can develop accountability in your life by admitting that you are in control, committing to taking responsibility for your choices, and regularly reviewing and reflecting on your actions.
- The process of developing accountability can lead to increased happiness, improved outcomes, and a sense of control over your life.
“Trustworthy and reliable” is how the Oxford Dictionary defines dependable. And it goes to say that if you are a dependable person then you know how to hold yourself personally accountable. You do what you say, you follow through, and you make things happen! You consciously commit to taking certain actions to accomplish your goals in life. And finally, you take ownership (a truly invaluable personal strength) of your decisions and the consequences of your actions.
What is Personal Accountability?
According to Developgoodhabits.com, “There are a lot of definitions of accountability out there but knowing what accountability means doesn’t equate to maintaining it as a value in your life. I have shared a definition from the Oxford Dictionary with you but there are many other definitions as well. And they goes even further to clarify, “Everyone who defines this concept agrees that having accountability involves making a commitment to feel empowered to accept ownership of your tasks”.
Is this you? Are you that person who refuses to be a victim and owns your actions one hundred percent of the time? If so, well done! I am going to assume that your life is well in hand and that you are happy with your life’s outcomes. Why? Because you are in control and you accept responsibility for yourself, your thoughts, and your actions.
But what if this is not true for you? What if you walk around feeling like the world and others are out to get you, that nothing ever goes your way, and that you are failing at life? First, it’s ok to acknowledge your negative feelings; they are your current reality after all. However, if you’d like to change your current situation it is possible to do so.
How do you know if you need to develop more accountability in your life?
The best question to ask yourself here is ‘how do I hold myself accountable’ and ‘what changes in my life might occur if I hold myself accountable’. Because everything that happens in your life is a direct result of your choices and the actions you take based on those decisions. Below are some examples of how people feel who are suffering from a lack of personal responsibility (source for excuses Developgoodhabits.com).
- “You always have an excuse.”
- You believe the world is out to get you.”
- “You blame other people for your shortcomings or mistakes.”
- “You’re waiting for _______________, because once you have it, your life will be ‘better’”.
- “You expect other people to fix your problems.”
Tips for holding yourself accountable.
Taking these simple action steps is a great way to approach creating a Personal Accountability Plan (PAP) for yourself. The PAP is a plan I created for myself when I realized that in order to be happy in this world, I needed to take respomsibility for my own actions and stop blaming everyone and everything else. It has worked well for me for many years, and I am happy to share it with you. I found it gave me a new lease on life in addition to making me feel much more positive about my life circumstances in life!
Admit that you are the only one who can change your reality. This understanding requires a mind shift change and it’s important to understand it won’t happen overnight. But, if you remain consistent with yourself and practice, it will happen for you!
Begin by committing to yourself that you will OWN every single decision and every action you take going forward. This means you can’t blame anyone or anything for your life’s outcomes. Because you and you alone made the conscious decision to act in the manner that you did which produced the results you now experience in life.
Initially, I would recommend doing a debrief daily with yourself at the end of each day. Start by writing down all of the things that you feel are not going your way; these are your roadblocks in life.
Next brainstorm how you might change these situations and create more positive outcomes. To be clear I recommend asking yourself “what can I do differently to ensure you I have a different outcome in life”? For example, if you actually hate the fact that you get stuck in traffic every day and it makes you crazy (swearing at other drivers – tension headaches) then do something about it! Your solution to the traffic roadblock could be that you decide to leave earlier each day for work in order to avoid the traffic and congestion on the roads.
No More Pledge:
Then ask yourself, “What was I thinking when I did that?” or “How do I feel about that?” Make a commitment to yourself to not do it again by pledging “No More”. (source mindbydesign.io)
Ultimately your roadblocks paired with your solutions will become your roadmap to achieving your goals in life and getting what you want. One of the best ways to create any short-term or long-term goal is to create what is called a SMART goal. SMART means the goal must be very specific and narrow in focus, you must be able to measure your success, it must be achievable, relevant, realistic for you and your skillset, and tied to a specific timeframe. A SMART goal is a great tool for helping hold yourself accountable and it will lead to many successes in your life if used appropriately.
If you are consistent with this process, you will be able to change your mindset, take accountability for your actions, and depend on yourself (no other persons or situations) to control your life. This is when you celebrate your successes!
What areas of my life need better accountability?
I would suggest looking at all aspects of your life and asking the “how do you know” questions referred to earlier in this article to get your answer. However, below are some very important aspects of your life to check in with yourself on when thinking about improving accountability. (source for the areas of life list below is but I am not sure where to insert it mindbydesign.io)
- Relationships: you are accountable to the people that you are close with and the quality of your relationship with them (friends and family included).
- Workplace: you are accountable for your actions at work; your co-workers need to know they can count on you to be there for them when they need you most.
- Health: choosing to be healthy or unhealthy affects your daily life and it will affect your future as well.
- Finances: the goal is to ensure your decisions will help you to become financially stable in the future.
- Yourself; taking responsibility for your actions is a huge part of becoming a better person and creating a better life for yourself.
Setbacks are a normal part of the process of gaining personal accountability
Guess what? You will experience setbacks on your journey to creating a more accountable you! Setbacks are part of the learning process and are very important to identify as well as to understand. You’ll turn these setbacks (or roadblocks) into solutions in step #4 of your Personal Accountability Plan. We can gain strength and self-confidence by overcoming setbacks on the road to personal accountability. After all, “Less than 20 percent of people achieve their goal the first time around".
And let’s not forget the celebration for a job well done! So, we’ve addressed that it’s important to be prepared for a setback; many call this your ‘plan B’. And just as important, if not more so is to make the time to acknowledge that you did it! When you finally achieve that goal, find a way to celebrate. You may want to further re-enforce your success with a personal affirmation like, “I am strong enough to complete 20 push-ups every day of the week”. Affirmations can be very powerful in helping to shift your mindset when repeated daily multiple times throughout the day. Or your reward could be taking yourself out for a manicure, reading a favorite book, making time to cook your favorite meal, and or taking a nice long walk with a friend. The type of celebration is completely your call; the only guideline is that the celebration must be something that feels rewarding to you for a job well done.
The bottom line is that learning to hold yourself accountable gives you empowerment over your life. You will live your life knowing you have the power to make your own decisions, you can depend on yourself, and you will feel good about the outcomes. You will feel like you have control over your life, you’ll no longer walk around feeling like everything bad is happening to you, you’ll feel less stressed out, you’ll gain more self-confidence, and you may even find that your life feels more meaningful. If you’d like further guidance to manage your life’s outcomes check and my session program Accountability; Learn How to Hold Yourself Accountable with Misty. It’s not too late to LivURBestLife!
About The Author
Misty Austin is a Well Me Right Wellness Expert and a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach. She is on a mission to help humans learn healthy habits so they can create their own healthy lifestyles; whatever that looks like to you! She does not believe in or coach diets or extreme exercise regimes. She believes that every human being has the birthright to be healthy, happy, and loved (by self & others). Her coaching style is authentic and emphasizes humans' inner strengths. She operates under the assumption that you have everything you need within you to have what you want-desire; you may just need a little guidance getting there! She would love to work with you (all are welcome) and be part of your journey to health and happiness!
Book Wellness Expert sessions offered by Misty on Well Me Right.