Holding Yourself Accountable to Achieving your Goals
Business experts including Forbes and Entrepreneur agree that accountability is the key to achieving your goals. Whether you are building a culture of accountability within your organization or looking to achieve your personal goals, incorporating accountability tools into your goal setting process will improve your performance and overall success. In this article, I review the definition of accountability and identify three practices you can use to hold yourself accountable for achieving your goals.
What is Accountability & Why is it Important?
On a personal level, accountability is defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Within an organization, creating a culture of accountability means setting a common expectation and holding people to it by clearly defining the company’s mission, core values, and goals. Accountability promotes ownership and confidence by teaching individuals to take pride in their work and stand behind their results—whether those results are good or bad. As a result, there is a higher level of trust within a community or organization when you foster a culture of accountability. Individuals will either own up to their mistakes and try to improve or take pride in their achievements and continue to produce strong results.
Accountability also improves overall performance. If someone commits to results and shares this commitment with others, he or she is more likely to follow through on those commitments. A study from The American Society of Training and Development reported that having a specific accountability appointment with another individual increases the chance of completing one’s goal by up to 95%. ASTD made the following conclusions:
· Having an idea or goal: 10% likely to complete the goal
· Consciously deciding that you will do it: 25% completion
· Deciding when you will do it: 40% completion
· Planning how to do it: 50% completion
· Committing to someone that you will do it: 65% completion
· Having a specific accountability appointment with someone you’ve committed to: 95% completion
I refer to this person as an accountabilibuddy. An accountabilibuddy knows what goals you are pursuing and checks in with you regularly to see if you are on or off track. During this accountability check-in, it is important to reflect on areas of strength and weakness and solidify next steps.
How Can I Hold Myself Accountable?
To hold yourself accountable to achieving your goals, it is important to set clear expectations, measure your progress, and review your results.
1. Set Clear Goals with High Expectations
A system of accountability is not developed by setting a low bar (or moving the bar lower when things get tough). Rather, it is created by setting the bar high and developing S.M.A.R.T goals that will help you reach it. To review, the S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound (for more on S.M.A.R.T. goals, refer to my post on Setting Healthy New Year’s Resolutions). To hold yourself accountable, set exciting and challenging goals that are clear and quantifiable. That way, once the time comes to evaluate yourself, there is no gray area or room for excuses.
CVC Tools: To set clear, S.M.A.R.T. goals, download the Cristal Victoria Consulting Goal Setting Vision Bundle or S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting tool set.
2. Measure Progress
Once you have your S.M.A.R.T. goals, it is important to track your progress over time. Set benchmarks for yourself by breaking your goals down into smaller action steps. It would be a shame to get to your deadline and realize you’ve just missed the mark when you could have addressed issues before hand. I recommend daily, weekly, or monthly progress checks, depending on the goal in question. If you have a goal to increase your daily steps, checking your pedometer/fitness app and recording your steps daily may be the best route to take. If you have a weight loss goal, weighing in once a week may make for sense for you. If you have a goal of reading 50 books within the year, checking progress once a month may be most appropriate.
CVC Tools: The Cristal Victoria Goal Setting Traction Bundle includes a tracker for every personality type. Try a variety of habit trackers to see what works best for you or download the Goal Atlas Tool (my personal favorite) that lets you record daily, weekly, and monthly progress all on one page!
3. Review Results
Sit down with an accountabilibuddy regularly to review your results. Celebrate your wins, address your weaknesses, and make a plan to achieve your desired outcome. Depending on the goals you’ve set, accountabilibuddy check-ins can be quarterly, monthly, weekly, or even daily.
CVC Tools: The Cristal Victoria Accountabilibuddy Questionnaire asks questions that will help you and your buddy dig into your goal progress and maintain momentum. The Accountability set includes 10 questions designed to get you back on track when you are not getting the results you desire.
There you have it! Setting clear expectations, measuring your progress, and reviewing your results are the best ways to hold yourself (and your tribe) accountable. For more goal setting tips and tricks, follow @cristalvictoria on Instagram and visit the Cristal Victoria Shop to pick up your tools today!